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Is managing academics "women's work"?: Exploring the glass cliff in higher education management
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Univ Gothenburg, Dept Sociol & Work Sci, S-40530 Gothenburg, Sweden..
2016 (English)In: Educational Management Administration & Leadership, ISSN 1741-1432, E-ISSN 1741-1440, Vol. 44, no 1, 112-127 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Sweden is among the countries with the highest per cent of women university Vice Chancellors in Europe. In She Figures 2012 the average proportion of female Vice Chancellors in the 27 European Union countries is estimated to be 10 per cent. In Sweden the number is much higher: 43 per cent. Swedish higher education management has witnessed a demographic feminization during the last 20 years. Which factors can explain that women have been so successful in gaining access to these senior management positions in Swedish academia? This paper discusses the demographic feminization, drawing on qualitative interviews with women in senior academic positions in Swedish higher education. The paper suggests that women's position in higher education management can be analysed using the concept glass cliff. This metaphor describes a phenomenon when women are more likely to be appointed to precarious leadership roles in situations of turbulence and problematic organizational circumstances. The findings illustrate that women have been allowed to enter into senior academic management at the same time as these positions decline in status, merit and prestige and become more time-consuming and harder to combine with a successful scholarly career.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 44, no 1, 112-127 p.
Keyword [en]
Higher education, gender, glass cliff, leadership, administration, management, women
National Category
Sociology Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-275564DOI: 10.1177/1741143214563897ISI: 000367808200008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-275564DiVA: diva2:900475
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Available from: 2016-02-04 Created: 2016-02-04 Last updated: 2016-02-04Bibliographically approved

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