Signaling change during a crisis: Refining conditions for the glass cliff
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Reason for embargo
Research into the glass cliff indicates that adverse company circumstances, compared to favorable ones, increase the likelihood of women to be appointed in leadership positions. Study 1 refined the conditions under which a glass cliff occurs by demonstrating a preference for a female leader when a company's performance was attributed to past leadership (an internal, controllable cause) but not when it was attributed to global economic circumstances (an external, uncontrollable cause). Study 2 replicated the glass cliff for a controllable context and revealed that the female candidate's potential to signal change, rather than her quality and suitability as a leader, accounted for the preference of the female candidate. We conclude that women, as non-traditional leaders, are strategic choices of companies with the aim to signal change to the outside world (e.g., investors) when past leadership is held responsible for a crisis. However, they are not expected to actually impact on the company's performance through their leadership quality.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2015.07.002
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2015, Vol. 61, pp. 96 - 103