Presentation Details of the International Symposium(Dec 23, 2022)




Ryan Michelle, Professor Director of Global Institute for Women's Leadership, Australian National University

“Uncovering the Glass Cliff: Women’s leadership roles in times of crisis”

Research into the glass cliff examines what happens when women begin to take on leadership roles in increasing numbers. Extending the metaphor of the glass ceiling, 'the glass cliff' describes a leadership phenomenon whereby women are more likely to be found in leadership positions that are associated with a greater risk of failure and criticism. This talk will describe a decades worth of research which has uncovered the phenomenon of the glass cliff looking at archival research into company performance, experimental laboratory studies, and interviews with female leaders. We will also examine some of the underlying psychological processes: stereotypes, support networks, and organisational strategy. Implications for gender equality initiatives and for women who are aiming for leadership roles will be discussed.

17:25-17:55 Midori Kokubo, Professor, Ritsumeikan University (Japan)


“The choice of leader in crisis ? glass cliff and agentic leader”


This study examines whether agentic leaders are preferred to communal leaders in crisis in Japan, regardless of the gender of leaders. In other words, this study intends to show that the glass cliff effect will not occur if leaders’ agentic traits are presented. This study also investigates the relationship of leaders’ gendered traits, leadership styles, change potential and the choice of leader in crisis. Those were examined by Kulich, Iacoviello & Lorenzi-Cioldi (2018). I attempted to examine how those findings would apply to Japan, where women are considered to have relatively low social status. A total of 200 men and 200 women in Japan participated in the online experiment. The procedure was based on Kulich et al. (2018).The results show that, regardless of the leaders’ gender, agentic leaders are preferred to communal leaders in crisis, because the participants think that agentic leaders are task-oriented and that task-oriented leaders can change the situation. This lends support to Kulich et al. (2018). The results of this study also show that the participants’ perception of leaders’ high task-orientation directly leads to the choice of the agentic leader in crisis. It means that the agentic leaders may not be necessarily selected because of their high change potential. Those conflict with Kulich et al. (2018) and suggest that different mechanism of selecting leaders in crisis may work in countries, where women have relatively low social status.
Then I conducted another online experiment. And I found that the participants assessed male leader and female one in different way after selecting leader.

18:00-18:30 Helen Peterson, Professor, Örebro University (Sweden)

“Beyond the Glass Cliff? Women leaders in Swedish Higher Education”

A decade ago, women’s position in Swedish Higher Education management and leadership was described using the glass cliff concept. Women had increased dramatically in positions as Vice Chancellor due to political goals and policies regarding gender equality and quantitative target agreements concerning women’s representation in academia. Interviews with the women themselves however highlighted that the feminization of academic leadership positions also should be understood against the backdrop of a restructuring of higher education and reforms in line with new public management, increased financial pressure and administrative burden. A shift in leadership ideals has thus followed the logic of the glass cliff phenomenon: explaining that women increasingly had been appointed to precarious leadership roles with declining status, merit, and prestige. The heroic leadership ideal had been replaced by a serving leadership ideal, reflecting women’s greater responsibilities for the so-called academic housekeeping, i.e., the service work in academia undertaken in addition to teaching and researching. This presentation elaborates on the development of these leadership ideals in Swedish higher education and explores the development during the last couple of years: has the trend towards feminization of academic leadership positions continued and increased during and after the Covid-19 crisis, which put extraordinarily pressure on leadership positions?

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