Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

The Second Glass Ceiling Impedes Women Entrepreneurs

Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

The Second Glass Ceiling Impedes Women Entrepreneurs

Article excerpt

Introduction

Ever since the publication of the seminal book that birthed the term "glass ceiling" (Morrison, White, & Van Velsor, 1992), that memorable metaphor for the invisible barrier that impedes the senior management advancement of talented women professionals inside corporations has seemingly become ubiquitous in management literature, business school curricula, and the global psyche. As evidence, by December 2010 the Amazon.com database had 242 books with "glass ceiling" in the title and 337 books that include the keyword phrase "glass ceiling." Scholarly journals also help to disseminate information about the glass ceiling phenomenon by reporting numerous studies that confirm its existence inside large firms (e.g., Daily, Certo, & Dalton, 1999; Helfat, Harris, & Wolfson, 2006; Jordan, Clark, & Waldron, 2007). Today, multiple business courses including organizational behavior, ethics, and business law might be considered incomplete without highlighted mention and discussion of the glass ceiling phenomenon.

While teaching about the glass ceiling has greatly broadened awareness of this genderbased inequity in the corporate workplace, the disappointing truth is that the phenomenon continues to influence behavior among corporate leaders. Several scholars suggest frustrated women executives often choose to leave the corporate world in order to escape the effects of the glass ceiling by forming their own small firms (e.g., Mattis, 2004; Orhan & Scott, 2001; Winn, 2004). The underlying hypothesis is that the glass ceiling - a phenomenon that by definition is specific to large firms - cannot prevent women business owners from serving as chief executive of their own firm and realizing the rewards they deserve.

However, evidence is growing that the strategy of leaving the corporate world in order to escape gender bias often fails (Patterson & Mavin, 2009). This is because women business owners typically encounter other forms of systemic gender bias that constrain their performance. Specifically, based on gender, women business owners face a disadvantage in raising capital (Aldrich, Elam, & Reese, 1997; Bellucci, Borisov, & Zazzaro, 2010; Brush, 1997; Carter & Rosa, 1998; Carter, Shaw, Lam & Wilson, 2007; Coleman & Robb, 2009; Marlow, 2002; Muravyev, Talavera, & Schäfer, 2009). We refer to this phenomenon as the second glass ceiling. The second glass ceiling sounds like an entrepreneurship corollary to the first glass ceiling concept, but instead of centering on the corporate advancement ladder it centers on the capital markets that serve small firms. The second glass ceiling prevents women-owned small firms from reaching their full entrepreneurial potential. We suggest the cost of this second glass ceiling is born by the entire economy.

The body of scholarly literature on this phenomenon we call the second glass ceiling is growing. In building our evidence for the existence of the second glass ceiling, we cite recent empirical studies (e.g., Bellucci, Borisov, & Zazzaro, 2010; Muravyev, Talavera, & Schafer, 2009) and new descriptive data on the state of women-owned businesses (e.g., American Express, 201 1 ). Clearly, owning and running a small firm is not the same thing as starting an entrepreneurial venture. The current evidence of the second glass ceiling, however, suggests the phenomenon affects both types of business person. Therefore, we switch between use of the terms "entrepreneur", "small business owner", and the more general "woman business owner" to reflect the term(s) used by the studies we cite. Unfortunately, evidence of this phenomenon has not yet made its way into the consciousness of financial capital managers and the female entrepreneurs (nascent and current) who hold the keys to mitigating the deleterious effects of the second glass ceiling. The purpose of this paper is to (1) raise awareness of the second glass ceiling and its costs to society, (2) describe its causes and effects, and (3) propose ways that both women entrepreneurs and financial capital managers can crack this ceiling. …

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