Barriers to the C-Suite: The Impact of Perceptions of Gender Bias on Women Leaders’ Senior Leadership Ambitions

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Parvizian, Sepinood




The current research examined whether women leaders' senior leadership ambitions are more strongly negatively affected by perceptions of gender bias (i.e., subtle gender bias, inequity, and mistreatment) in the workplace than leaders who are men and whether this association occurs through cynicism towards work. To test this, 347 leaders completed an online survey. It was found that women leaders had similar senior leadership ambitions as men, and contrary to expectations, gender did not affect the relation between gender bias and senior leadership ambitions. However, for both women and men, perceptions of gender bias were related to cynicism towards work, and ultimately, lower senior leadership ambitions. Further, women leaders who worked in male-dominated workplaces reported more issues of subtle gender bias than others. These findings have meaningful implications and suggest that it is likely systemic barriers, and not women's ambitions, that explain the lack of women in the C-suite.


Psychology - Industrial




Carleton University

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