Examining the "Glass Cliff" phenomenon

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Title Examining the "Glass Cliff" phenomenon: a study replication using a Canadian context
Author(s) Karen MacDonald
Date 2011
Institution University of Prince Edward Island
Supervisor(s) Wendy Carroll,
Degree earned Master of Business Administration
Place published Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Abstract Researchers have been examining barriers and challenges for women in leadership positions from a variety of perspectives since the 1980's when the "glass ceiling" concept was coined. More recently researchers have been examining whether women are being placed in precarious leadership positions. Ryan and Haslam (2005) dubbed the term the "glass cliff" in 2005 after using a corporate board level analysis to compare the effect of female board appointments to male counterparts in the U.K. The study in this paper is a replication of Ryan and Haslam's glass cliff study in a Canadian context using an event study methodology. In addition to the financial performance outcome of share price used by Ryan and Haslam, this study extends the analysis by also examining excess return data which are less sensitive than share price data. The findings using both financial performance outcomes in the analysis of female board appointees suggest that evidence of the glass cliff phenomenon is not necessarily apparent by examining board level appointments. A review of the relevant literature, a description of the study, the findings, and a discussion about future research directions are presented in this paper.
Use/Reproduction In presenting this signature project report in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Prince Edward Island, the author has agreed that the Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island, may make this signature project freely available for inspection and gives permission to add an electronic version of the signature project to the Digital Repository at the University of Prince Edward Island. Moreover the author further agrees that permission for extensive copying of this signature project report for scholarly purposes may be granted by the professor or professors who supervised the author's project work, or, in their absence, by the Dean of the School of Business. It is understood that any copying or publication or use of this signature project report or parts thereof for financial gain shall not be allowed without the author's written permission. It is also understood that due recognition shall be given to the author and to the University of Prince Edward Island in any scholarly use which may be made of any material in the author's report.

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