Women in Management a Case of a ‘Glass Ceiling’? An Investigation into the Relative Under-Representation of Women in Senior Management Positions in UK Travel and Tourism

By Paul E. Smith and Brandon Crimes.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Data such as that recently published by the Equal Opportunities Commision (EOC 2007)show a relatively small proportion of women in senior management positions in UK organisations. The purpose of this research paper was to outline the position in the travel and tourism industry specifically. It was based on the results of a survey of managers in the sector outlining their perceptions of diversity issues, the reasons for this under-representation and suggestions/recommendations for future action. Results showed a generally positive perception of their own organisations with regard to diversity and did not provide evidence for the existence of an overt 'glass ceiling' (Davidson and Cooper 1992)in the majority of organisations surveyed. The majority of respondents cited career breaks for child birth and child care and the pressures of combining work with family and personal commitments as the key issues. A substantial number however also pointed to male culture and the existence of an 'old boys network' as well as the attitudes and behaviours of male managers as being significant explanatory factors. There were significant gender differences in responses in these areas. In terms of suggested future strategies, the achievement of equal pay in the sector was cited by the highest number of respondents and this is an area to be researched further. Other suggestions highlighted were: greater provision of flexible working opportunities, improved access to creche and child-care facilities, training and development opportunities for women managers, opportunities for peer networking and the provision of mentoring and coaching for women managers.

Keywords: Glass Ceiling, Women in Management, Gender, Flexible Working, Travel and Tourism, Equal Opportunities, Diversity

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.323-332. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 742.051KB).

Paul E. Smith

Head of Human Resources Group, Business School, Department of HR and Strategy, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Paul Smith is Principal Lecturer and Head of the HR Group at the University of Hertfordshire's Business School, Hatfield, UK. He has substantial experience of teaching in the areas of human resource management, organizatonal behaviour and industrial relations. Prior to this he worked in the oil industry. Paul is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a CIPD accredited examiner. He has contributed to text books in people management and leadership. Current research interests include diversity and flexible working.

Brandon Crimes

Head of Tourism Group, Business School, Department of Marketing, Travel and Tourism, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Brandon is Senior Lecturer and Head of the Travel and Tourism group at the University of Herforshire's Business School. He has wide experience of teaching travel and tourism subjects. Interests include university-business links. Currently researching in aspects of diversity in the travel and tourism sector.

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