Universitat Jaume I (UJI) (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 1087-1093
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1243
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Few women reach top leadership positions so they are concentrated at low and middle levels of management. This phenomenon was labeled as glass ceiling decades ago. The similarity between stereotypes of men and stereotypes of leaders makes women’s advancement into leadership roles difficult (think manager-think male association). Moreover, when women climb to upper management jobs, they still face another form of discrimination, because they are often appointed to positions that are more precarious and associated with a higher risk of failure than those occupied by men. This is called glass cliff (Ryan & Haslam (2005). In this case, it is assumed that women due to their communal attributes may appear to be a better fi to deal with the socioemotional challenges that (potential) crises present. In this context, people are more likely to make the alternative think crisis-think female association.

The aim of this study is to analyze which gender traits are considered more suitable in a leader in an organization which is facing a crisis and also to explore the gender differences in this topic. The sample was composed of 240 Spanish university students (n = 96 men and n = 144 women). Against our expectations, the results show that the masculine characteristics (e.g., strong personality) are considered more suitable for a top managerial job than the feminine traits (e.g., affectionate). In addition, boys and girls differ in this issue: male students prefer to a greater extent masculine traits in comparison to female students, whereas female students prefer to a greater extent feminine traits in comparison to male students. These findings show that traits associated traditionally to men are seen more appropriate among highly-qualified people to organizational management even in troubling times. The implications of the results for education, university teaching-learning process, future research guidelines, and limitations of the study are also discussed.
Gender traits, glass cliff, university students.