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Why the Glass Cliff Persists

Why the Glass Cliff Persists

It has been nearly two decades since the term “glass cliff” was coined; it refers to the tendency for women to break through the glass ceiling to top management roles only when there is a big crisis to overcome, which makes it more difficult for them to succeed. In short, senior female leaders are often set up to fail – and this continues to happen today, as recent examples from business, politics, and academia show. Sophie Williams, a former C-suite advertising executive and global leader at Netflix, has researched why the glass cliff remains a problem and offers advice for women facing them – as well as lessons for the broader corporate world.

About the Podcast

HBR IdeaCast is a weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management, hosted by Alison Beard and Curt Nickisch.

Alison Beard is an executive editor at Harvard Business Review. A mom of two, she tries – and sometimes succeeds – to apply management best practices to her household. She is the co-host of two of HBR’s podcasts, the HBR IdeaCast, a Q&A with a management expert, and Dear HBR:, which offers advice on listeners’ workplace dilemmas. Beard was previously a reporter and editor for the Financial Times in both New York and London. She was recently named to Folio’s 2019 Class of Top Women in Media, and earned a B.A. in journalism and politics from Washington and Lee University.

Curt Nickisch is a senior editor at Harvard Business Review. He earned an MBA from Boston University and has reported for NPR, Marketplace, and Fast Company. He speaks ausgezeichnet German and binges history podcasts.


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