There’s a popular saying that “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did —except backwards, and in high heels.” This sentiment can also be used to describe the leadership journey for many women. When it comes to leadership, women are expected to do everything that men do, except they also face additional challenges and double standards (e.g. the double-bind, the second shift, the glass ceiling, and the glass cliff).

And yet, research shows that when women make it to leadership positions, organizations thrive. The goal of this project is to better understand how women leaders can and do navigate workplaces and the positive impact they have on organizations when they succeed.

Scientific Contribution

  • Research results from “The Bossy Project” have shown that women are twice as likely to be called “bossy” at work, and that being seen as bossy is linked to being un-promotable. However, the study also found that women were no more likely to exhibit so-called bossy behaviors than men were.
  • Research results from the “What Women Want” study has shown that organizations that have more women are also rated as better places to work (including more workplace satisfaction and lower burnout).

Application to Leadership Challenges

  • The results from this project will help women better navigate gendered challenges in organizations, and help leaders better understand the challenges faced by women in organizations.
  • This project will also help leaders and organizations better recruit, support, retain, and promote high potential women.

Connect With Our Team

Please contact Cathleen Clerkin to learn more about this research.