Reframing the Glass Ceiling as a Socially Constructed Process: Implications for Understanding and Change

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Traditional definitions of the glass ceiling perpetuate gender‐biased organizational practices and quick‐fix solutions. By creating an illusion of opportunity for women, they prevent critical assessment of contemporary organizational practices and of gendered communication. This article engages in feminist research as praxis first by discussing how current organizational practices fail to alter power imbalances. To create awareness of unjust organizing processes, these ways we ordinarily “do gender” are juxtaposed against contrastive contexts: alternative settings (organizational forms), processes (community‐as‐dialectic), and organization members (women). These alternatives enable us to visualize how language creates and sustains gender divisions that emerge in glass ceiling processes and effects. The second stage in research as praxis calls for action. I discuss implications for research and for change that challenge the gendered motif of organizational life.

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Communication Monographs, v. 62, issue 4, p. 327-354