A Few Good Women: Gender and the Glass Ceiling in the California City Manager Offices

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Purpose. Glass Ceiling barriers have long been thought substantial reasons why women do not achieve senior-management-level positions. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to investigate the perceptions of women leaders on the potential impact of the glass ceiling on their careers. Furthermore, this study investigates the impact of mentoring and networking on women breaking the glass ceiling. Theoretical Framework. The theoretical framework of this research was rooted in representative bureaucracy theory. This theory proposes that the public sector should be a reflection of the community to ensure that policy and programs are enacted with social equity. Methodology. The methodology used for this research study was qualitative descriptive research with the purpose of describing the impact of the glass ceiling, mentoring, and networking of female city managers in the state of California. The researcher used surveys collected from current female California city managers to determine how the women perceived the impact of the glass ceiling, mentoring, and networking had on their careers. The data were put through statistical analysis to determine internal consistency through Cronbach’s alpha. Findings. Examination of the qualitative data yielded some surprising results. Even though the women reported the glass ceiling as a barrier to their careers, there have also been positive changes in the last 30 years. Furthermore, the respondents also feel that mentoring and networking have had a positive impact on the glass ceiling. Conclusions and Recommendations. This study adds to the body of knowledge by using qualitative data to establish perceptions of the glass ceiling from the point of view of female city managers. Furthermore, it observes the changes in the glass ceiling over the past 30 years. It also confirms the impact of mentoring programs and networking on the careers of women seeking senior-level positions.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Government, Leadership, Public Administration