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