Merlin Mythili Shanmugam



The marginalization of women due to vertical and horizontal segregation has been a matter of great concern, and there is extensive and exhaustive literature that outlines the various barriers that women face while climbing up the organisational hierarchies. This paper reviews the literature on one such barrier, organisational culture and how it poses systemic impediments to women’s advancement in organisations. The paper also examines whether gender proportion and senior women managers would help break the organisational cultural resilience against women moving up the career ladder.

Keywords: Organisational culture, women, equal opportunities


Ahmansson, G and Ohlund, L.S (2008), “Male Hierarchies and Gender-balanced Boards”, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Vol.15, No.3, pp. 485–505

Alvesson, B. M. and Billing, Y.D. (2009), Understanding Gender and Organizations, Sage, London.

Belle.F (2002), “Women managers and organisational power”, Women in Management Review, Vol.17 No.3/4 pp.151-156

Burke, R.J. (2003), “Do Gender Proportions matter?”, Women in Management Review, Vol 18, No. 5, pp 267-275

Burke, R.J. and Fiksenbaum, L ( 2008), “Are managerial women in “extreme jobs” disadvantaged?”, Gender in Management, Vol. 24 No. 1, 2009 pp. 5-13

Carli, L.L. and Eagly, A.H. (2001), “Gender, hierarchy, and leadership: an introduction”, Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 57 No. 4, pp. 629-36.

Charles, N. and C. A. Davies (2000). ‘Cultural stereotypes and the gendering of senior management’, Sociological Review, Vol 12, pp. 544–567.

Coughlan, A. (2002), Women in Management in Irish Business, Irish Business and Employers Confederation, Dublin.

Cross, C and Linehan, M. (2006), “Barriers to advancing female careers in the high-tech sector: empirical evidence from Ireland”, Women in Management Review, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 28-39

Curran, C.R. (2001), “Getting on ‘Board’”, Nursing Economics, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 2-5.

Ely,R (1990), “The role of men in relationships among professional women” Academy of management Best paper proceedings pp364-8

EOC (2002), Women and Men in Britain: Management, Equal Opportunities Commission, Manchester.

Fletcher, J.K. (2004), “The paradox of post heroic leadership: an essay on gender, power, and transformational change”, The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 15 No. 5, pp. 647-61.

Gherardi, S. (1995), Gender, Symbolism and Organizational Cultures, Sage, London.

Grant, J (1988), “Women as Managers: What they can offer to organisations” Organisational Dynamics, Winter, pp 56-63

Hakim, C. (1979), Occupational Segregation: A Comparative Study of the Degree and Pattern of the Differentiation Between Men and Women’s Work in Britain, The United States and Other Countries, Research Paper No. 9, Department of Employment, London, November.

Hammond, V. ( 1992), “Opportunity 2000: A Cultural Change Approach to Equal Opportunity”, Women in Management Review, Vol. 7 No. 7, pp. 3-10.

Handley, J (1994) “Women, Decision Making and Academia: An Unholy Alliance” Women in Management Review, Vol. 9 No. 3, 1994, pp. 11-16

Hughes, W. (2004), Getting on the Right Track at Work, Times Edition, Shah Alam.

ILO (2004), Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling: Women in Management, Update 2004, International Labour Office, Geneva.

Ismail, M. and Ahmad, A. (1999), Women and work: Challenges in Industrializing Nations, Asean Academic Press, London.

Ismail, M and Ibrahim, I (2008), “Barriers to career progression faced by women: Evidence from a Malaysian multinational oil company”, Gender in Management, Vol. 23 No. 1, 2008 pp. 51-66

Ismail, M. and Roziah, M.R. (2006), High-Flying Women Academics: A Question of Career Mobility, Pelanduk Publications, Subang Jaya.

Kanter, R.M. (1977), Men and Women of the Corporation, Basic Books, New York, NY.

Kawatra, S and Krishnan, V.R (2004), “Impact of Gender and ransformational Leadership on Organizational Culture”, NMIMS Management Review, Vol 16 No 1 & 2, pp. 1-6.

Liff, S. and I. Cameron. 1997. ‘Changing Equality Cultures to Move Beyond “Women’s Problems”’, Gender, Work and Organization, Vol. 4(1): 35–46.

Linehan, M. Scullion, H and Walsh, J.S (2001) “Barriers to women's participation in international management”, European Business Review Vol.13, No.1, pp. 10-18

Lyles, M.A. (1985), “Strategies for Helping Women or Anyone”, in Stead, B.A. (Ed.), Women in Management, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ,

Lyness, K. and Heilman, M. (2006), “When fit is fundamental: performance evaluations and promotions of upper-level female and male managers”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 91 No. 4, pp. 777-85.

Marshall, J (1984), “Women Managers: Travellers in a male world” John Wiley London

Marshall, J. (1991), “Senior women managers who leave employment”, Women in Management Review & Abstracts, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 4-10.

Mavin, S (2008), “Queen Bees, Wannabees and Afraid to Bees: No More ‘Best Enemies’ for Women in Management?” British Journal of Management, Vol. 19, S75–S84

McDonald, I (2004), “Women in management: an historical perspective”, Employee Relations, Vol. 26 No. 3, 2004

Miles, R. (1988), The Women’s History of the World, HarperCollins, London.

Murray, J.H. (1984), Strong-minded Women and Other Lost Voices from 19th Century England, Penguin Books, London.

Oakley, J.G. (2000), “Gender-based barriers to senior management positions: understanding the scarcity of female CEOs”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 321-35.

O’Leary, V.E (1998), “Women’s relationships with women in the workplace”, in Gutek, B.A, Stromberg,A,H, and Larwood.L (Eds) Women and work: an Annual review, Vol. 3 sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CA

Pesonen, S. Tienari, J. And Vanhala, S ( 2009), “The boardroom gender paradox”, Gender in Management, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 327-345

Powell, G.N. (1988), Women and Men in Management, Sage, Newbury Park, CA,

Powell, G. N. and Butterfield, D. A. (2003). ‘Gender, gender identity and aspirations to top management’, Women in Management Review, 18, pp. 88–96.

Rindfleish, J and Sheridan, A (2003), “No change from within: Senior women managers’ response to gendered organisational structures”, Women in Management Review, Vol. 18, No. 6, pp.299-310

Rosener, J.,(1990), “Ways women lead”, Harvard Business Review, November-December 1990, pp. 119-25.

Rutherford, S. (2001), “Organisational Cultures, Women Managers and Exclusion”, Women in Management Review, Vol.16, No. , pp. 371-382

Scase, R. and Goffee, R. (1989), Reluctant Managers: Their Work and Lifestyles, Unwin Hyman, London, 1989.

Schien, V.E. (2001), “A global look at psychological barriers to women’s progress in management”, Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 57 No. 4, pp. 675-88.

Simpson, R (2000), “Gender mix and Organisational fit: how gender imbalance at different levels of the organisation impacts women managers”, Women in Management Review, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 5-19

Sinclair, A. and Ewing, J. (1993), “What women managers want: customising human resource management practices”', Human Resource Management Journal, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 14-28.

Still, L.V (1994), “Where to from Here? Women in Management: The Cultural Dilemma” Women in Management Review, Vol. 9 No. 4, 1994, pp. 3-10

Travers, C. and Pemberton, C. (2000), “Think career global, but act local: understanding networking as a culturally differentiated career skill”, in Davidson, M. and Burke, R. (Eds), Women in Management: Current Research Issues, Vol. II, Sage, London.

Wilson, D. C. and Rosenfeld, R.H., Managing Organizations: Text, Readings and Cases, McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead, 1990.

Wood, G.J, (2009), “Revisiting women managers and organisational acceptance”, Gender in Management, Vol. 24 No. 8, pp. 615-631

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

ISSN : 2251-1547