Businesses of all sizes have the same natural biases. Everyone has heard of the glass ceiling before, but what about the glass cliff? Frequently, when a company is going through a period of turmoil, women are appointed to leadership positions, when the risk of failure is highest. In a 2005 study by Ryan and Haslam, it was revealed that high-level women employees are often promoted during a time of crisis.
The women placed in these positions are set up to fail, as they are likely to be fired if the company doesn’t recover quickly. This phenomenon became known as “The Glass Cliff”. This problem isn’t exclusive to Fortune 500 companies. Businesses of any size are susceptible to these biases. Like any form of bias, the best way to move past it is to acknowledge and educate people about it.
A 2013 study by Alison Cook and Christy Glass found that the appointment of women CEOs traditionally followed poor company performance. In these situations, the company will use this appointment to signal a change in direction following a period of lower than expected sales or growth. To make matters worse, women CEOs are 45% more likely to be fired than their male counterparts.
infographic by: www.fundera.com