Influence in times of crisis: how social and financial resources affect men's and women's evaluations of glass-cliff positions

Psychol Sci. 2012;23(11):1306-13. doi: 10.1177/0956797612453115. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


In two scenario-based studies, we found that women and men evaluate glass-cliff positions (i.e., precarious leadership positions at organizations in crisis) differently depending on the social and financial resources available. Female and male participants evaluated a hypothetical leadership position in which they would have both social and financial resources, financial resources but no social resources, or social resources but no financial resources. Women evaluated the position without social resources most negatively, whereas men evaluated the position without financial resources most negatively. In study 2, we found that women and men considered different issues when evaluating these leadership positions. Women's evaluations and expected levels of influence as leaders depended on the degree to which they expected to be accepted by subordinates. In contrast, men's evaluations and expected levels of acceptance by subordinates depended on the degree to which they expected to be influential in the position. Our findings have implications for the understanding of the glass-cliff phenomenon and gendered leadership stereotypes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Decision Making*
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Female
  • Financial Support*
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Organizations
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support*
  • Stereotyping
  • Young Adult