MGT/312: WEEK 2: APPLY
LeasePlan Effectively Manages Diversity
The term, glass ceiling, was used to represent an absolute barrier or solid roadblock that prevented women from advancing to higher-
level positions. The ceiling resulted in women finding themselves stuck in lower-level jobs, ones that did not have profit and loss
responsibility, and jobs with less visibility, power, and influence. This scenario is changing. This case illustrates the impact motivated
leadership and changing company policies can have on gender diversity in the workplace. According to the United States Department
of Labor, compared to women comprising 21 percent of the workforce in 1920, women comprised nearly half of the workforce in the
United States in 2013, making gender diversity issues more and more important. This activity asks you to identify and apply your
knowledge of such aspects of diversity.
Read the case below and answer the questions that follow.
In 2003, the representatives of LeasePlan USA's top customers were mostly women, as was the majority of the company's
employees. However, men represented a large majority of top managers at the company, reflecting the old-boys network type culture
that dominated the fleet industry. New leadership decided to change this and provided career counseling to women, revised reward
systems to focus on performance instead of seniority, and replaced some existing managers. Two years ago, only one of seven top
executives was a woman. Now, three of the top eight executives are women.
The company's new chief executive claims that these changes are motivated by strategy rather than political correctness. He says,
"LeasePlan doesn't build anything…Our sustainable competitive advantages are people." LeasePlan now also implements a
development program catered specifically for female employees. The program includes skills assessments, career guidance,
communications, brand building, and panel discussions with female executives from other companies.
LeasePlan's efforts have yielded very positive results in a short period of time. For example, a 2006 survey showed that 35 percent of
women agreed that "management supports my efforts to manage my career," which was improved the following year to 47 percent. A
growing percentage of women also feel that their opportunities are growing—increased to 30 percent from 22 percent.
Gerri Patton, Director of Client Activation, says the program helped her become more confident and outspoken. The 23-year
LeasePlan veteran encourages her female subordinates to apply. "I wish I would have done that program 10 or 15 years ago," she
says. "There's no telling where I would be...The sky would've been the limit."
According to Eagly and Carli, and also supported by subsequent data analysis by the textbook authors, women have broken
through the glass ceiling.
Based on what you have read in the case, which of the following trends in gender diversity appears
to be most supported by the outcomes of LeasePlan’s program changes?