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This study aims to undertake an in-depth analysis of glass ceiling literature and suggest some directions for future research.Design/methodology/approachA systematic review of the glass ceiling literature was carried out using academic databases like Scopus, EbscoHost and Proquest.FindingsSocial and cultural stereotypes give rise to individual barriers in the form of lack of selfconfidence and lack of ambition for managerial posts. Social norms also create organizational barriers in the form of “think manager think male” stereotype and discriminatory corporate policies. These organizational barriers further lower the self-confidence of women and exaggerate work-family conflict. Policy barriers in the form of lack of stringent laws and policies also create glass ceiling for women employees. Glass ceiling leads to various consequences which have been further classified as organizational and individual level consequences. The study also highlights that contextual variables like level of education, age, social class, marital and motherhood status influence the perceptions towards the role of different factors in creating glass ceiling.Practical implicationsThis review highlights that though several levels of barriers exist for women aspiring for a managerial position, the main problem lies in conscious and unconscious stereotypes that often find their way in the organizations through gendered culture and gender discriminatory corporate practices. Therefore, organizations should firstly work on reorienting the attitudes of its employees towards women employees by conducting gender sensitization programmes for all the employees at the workplace. These gender sensitization programmes should aim at making people aware about the unconscious stereotypes that somehow find way in their speech and actions. Secondly, the organizations should work on extending the family friendly programmes to every employee irrespective of gender and every one should be encouraged to avail those policies so that female employees do not suffer from bias due to lack of visibility. Thirdly, organizations should work on introducing scientific procedures for performance evaluation to ensure removal of any form of bias during the process of appraisal. By creating a positive and equitable work environment for women employees, firms can combat their feelings of stress and burnout and can significantly improve their bottomline. The positive steps that will be taken by organizations will put forward a positive example for the society as well.Originality/valueEven though more than three decades have passed since the term “glass ceiling” made inroads in the management literature, till date, there has been no study that holistically reviews various dimensions of glass ceiling literature. Hence, this is the first study that systematically reviews the existing literature on glass ceiling. Based on the review, the study also proposes an integrated conceptual framework highlighting interrelationship between various causes and consequences of glass ceiling and sheds light on the directions along which future studies can be carried out.
Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 22, 2022
Keywords: Glass ceiling; Stereotypes; Gender diversity; Women managers; Systematic literature review
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