Major Papers


gender, ceo, glass ceiling, glass cliff, media, newspaper


Previous business research indicates that there is a glass ceiling and other obstacles that females face to get to top management positions, specifically a CEO position. The Glass Cliff Phenomenon is a theory coined by Ryan and Haslam (2007) that indicates females are more likely to be appointed to a CEO position in a firm that is in a precarious situation with a high probability of organizational failure. Female CEO representation in public firms, therefore, is incredibly small relative to male CEO representation. This lack of visible representation of women in positions of power, as compared to their male counterparts, is due to the fact that female CEO’s face an earlier exit circumstance because the companies in which they lead have a high probability of failure.

The glass ceiling theory, in essence, is that women are more likely to be selected for more precarious situations. In other words, when companies are in times of crisis, they tend to select females for top management positions. How the media perceives these women, in contrast to men, determines the narratives written about women in positions of power.

Primary Advisor

Martha Reaveley

Program Reader

Peter Miller

Degree Name

Master of Business Administration


Business Administration

Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year