Career plateau and African American women middle managers in professional organizations

by Thomas, Brenda J., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2009, 109 pages; 3344903


Most people at some point in their career will reach a point where no further advancement will be achieved. For women who aspire to the highest levels in organizations, this plateau is called the glass ceiling. African American women, however, find barriers to career advancement to be even more difficult to transcend and view the ceiling as concrete. This study used a Web based survey instrument to explore similarities and differences of 201 plateaued and nonplateaued African American women middle managers in professional organizations. Women participating in this research were asked to provide data regarding career history, career path potential, career attitudes, and demographic characteristics. Survey results showed no significant difference in the views of plateaued and nonplateaued managers in regard to variables that measured career potential. Both groups indicated that they lacked sufficient upward mobility opportunities, exposure to senior leaders, high visibility assignments and strong mentoring relationships. Differences however, were seen in demographics, career history, and career attitude variables. The study also revealed that on average plateaued managers were older, with longer job tenure and were less optimistic about their marketability.

AdviserMary F. Whitman
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsBlack studies; Women's studies; Management
Publication Number3344903

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