Hierarchical Rank and Women's Organizational Mobility:Glass Ceilings in Corporate Law Firms
Gorman, Elizabeth H.
Kmec, Julie A.
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This article revives the debate over whether women's upward mobility prospects decline as they climb organizational hierarchies. Although this proposition is a core element of the glass ceiling metaphor, it has failed to gain strong support in previous research. The article establishes a firm theoretical foundation for expecting an increasing female disadvantage, with an eye toward defining the scope conditions and extending the model to upper-level external hires. The approach is illustrated in an empirical setting that meets the proposed scope conditions: corporate law firms in the United States. Results confirm that in this setting, the female mobility disadvantage is greater at higher organizational levels in the case of internal promotions, but not in the case of external hires.