The 'glass-ceiling' phenomenon in the career development of successful academic women.

HORNER, Susan. (2004). The 'glass-ceiling' phenomenon in the career development of successful academic women. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

The research makes an original contribution to social psychology theory related to the success of academic women in higher education. The literature review reveals that there are differing views on the reasons for women failing to break through the glass ceiling in the higher education setting. Some authors concentrate on the environmental factors that are having an effect on women. Others concentrate on the effects of patriarchal organisational structures. Fewer commentators make reference to the notion of the female psyche. The existence of the glass ceiling phenomenon in the higher education setting is attributed to psychological, cultural, and technical factors. Little primary research has been conducted on the perceptions of female academics at the middle management level in the higher education setting, and much of the published work is anecdotal in nature. It is the aim of this research to give new insights into the perceptions of women at middle management level. The research makes no prior assumptions about the nature or categorisation of the mental constructions that emerge, but produces a more informed and sophisticated perceptual map. It investigates the respondents' perceptions of the glass ceiling phenomenon in relation to the features of their lifeworld. The research uses the essences of the lifeworld approach to analyse the views and feelings of the women participants. The perceptions that emerge from the research include the issue of a long term juggling act that the respondents have to achieve to be successful (Temporality). The women also demonstrate a ruthless pursuit for a voice in an increasingly difficult environment (Selfhood). The relationship of the women to other people in their lives is one of the most important findings in the research. The women always find that they have a series of bitter-sweet relationships with others and often feel guilt about missed opportunities (Sociality). The respondents also demonstrate that they feel that it is better to have suffered hardship to enable them and others to progress (Embodiment). One of the respondents graphically illustrates the development of academic women with reference to the metaphor - the relay race in time which emphasises the importance of influence and mentoring that the respondents think is important but often find difficult to achieve (Spatiality). The women often appear to have conflicting projects and address this issue with passion which often leads to conflict (Project). The language that the women use often portrays their disappointment with the emerging emphasis on management and administration rather than research and discovery (Discourse). The accounts do have some flashes of joy and celebration but overall they tend to epitomise feelings of sadness and regret. The thesis ends by suggesting that there are certain typologies for successful academic women based on their relationship to others or their inner psychological state. These are used to make some suggestions in relation to practical steps that could be taken to help women to achieve greater academic success. The new insights in the thesis will hopefully enable organisations to take positive steps to encourage more women into senior academic posts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ed.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2004.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:20
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2018 17:20
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19830

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