Women in high places: When and why promoting women into top positions can harm them individually or as a group (and how to prevent this)

Naomi Ellemers*, Floor Rink, Belle Derks, Michelle K. Ryan

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

Onderzoeksoutput: ArticleAcademicpeer review

105 Citaten (Scopus)


This contribution focuses on women in leadership positions. We propose that two convictions are relevant to the effects of having women in high places. On the one hand, women as a group are expected to employ different leadership styles than men, in this way adding diversity to management teams. On the other hand, individual women are expected to ascend to leadership positions by showing their ability to display the competitiveness and toughness typically required from those at the top. We posit that both convictions stem from gendered leadership beliefs, and that these interact with women's self-views to determine the effectiveness of female leaders. We develop an integrative model that explains the interplay between organizational beliefs and individual-self definitions and its implications for female leadership. We then present initial evidence in support of this model from two recent programs of research. The model allows us to connect "glass cliff" effects to "queen bee" effects showing that both relate to the perceived salience of gender in the organization, as well as individual gender identities. Each of these phenomena may harm future career opportunities of women, be it as individuals or as a group. We outline how future research may build on our proposed model and examine its further implications. We also indicate how the model may offer a concrete starting point for developing strategies to enhance the effectiveness of women in leadership positions. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)163-187
Aantal pagina's25
TijdschriftResearch in Organizational Behavior
StatusPublished - 2012

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