Research Paper: Cmo the Glass Ceiling

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CMO

The glass ceiling is one of the most obnoxious phenomena in business leadership today. Despite the rising ranks of women in lower and middle management, and despite all evidence that suggests the glass ceiling inhibits the growth of organizations and the economy at large, too often talent women are kept from the executive suite. There have even been cases made that women still experience unusual difficulties once they reach the executive suite.

This study attempts to answer a couple of key questions about the issue of the glass ceiling, where the marketing function is concerned. The first question is about the typical profile of a female Chief Marketing Officer. The educational and work experiences of past and present female CMOs is weighed against the education and work experiences of male CMOs either in the same company or from a competitor. The findings suggest that there are some differences in the backgrounds of female CMOs and male CMOs.

The study also seeks to determine of firms perform better with female CMOs or with male CMOs. The study findings are tentative due to the limitations of the link between the CMO office and the firm's overall performance, but the findings do indicate that firms perform better with a female CMO. In general, females CMOs outperform their male counterparts, and in one case where this did not occur the female was nevertheless successful enough to be promoted to the CEO post, which can reasonably be taken as an indicator for success.

This study adds to the body of evidence arguing that the glass ceiling is futile, and firms that fail to address the issue of the glass ceiling are likely to underperform those firms that have taken measures to ensure that talented females do have access to senior executive roles.

Section I: Definition of the Problem

The issue being studied is the struggle of women to become accepted in the Chief Marketing Officer position. There are a number of different dimensions to this problem, and several of those dimensions will be explored through this paper. The first element of the discussion lies with the fundamental problem of the glass ceiling. The glass ceiling is the metaphorical invisible barrier that prevents women from moving into the executive suite. As women become more involved in the workforce, percentages of women in the workforce in general have equalized with the percentage of women in the general population. Females within the lower managerial ranks have been gaining rapidly and are not far from parity. At the executive level, however, gains have been relatively slow. Females are still severely underrepresented in top management teams and the executive suite.

The glass ceiling phenomenon has been the subject of considerable study over the past couple of decades, and a number of different theories have been presented to explain the phenomenon. Some of the theories have included differences in education levels, differences in desire, and lack of qualifications. Bias, the obvious answer, has also been studied. Many of the studies of other factors have failed to ascribe the glass ceiling problem to those factors, leaving bias as one remaining factor yet to be ruled out. More recent literature on the subject of the glass ceiling has sought to explain some of the other factors that have contributed to the ceiling's existence. For example, where it is found that females choose educational options that make it more difficult to enter the executive ranks, academics have sought to study why these choices are made. This does not fully explain the glass ceiling, however, since it is not at all uncommon for an MBA to be obtained late into one's career, and the MBA is probably the most important degree for an executive in a non-technical field.

Another factor that has been examined of late is that mismatch between the structure and function of senior management positions and the ways that female managers would like to work in these positions. In other words, it is not opposition to the role that turns women away from the executive positions, but what those positions entail as they are presently designed. Given a different design of these positions, women would be more interested in pursuing a career all the way up to the executive suite.

There is also evidence to suggest that even those women who have broken through the glass ceiling have found continued resistance, that they attribute to bias and the same factors that lead to the glass ceiling in the first place. Such ongoing difficulties, or even the perception that such difficulties will be faced, can make such career paths more daunting for women.

While much of the literature is focused on understanding the glass ceiling and how it may be overcome, there is room for literature to focus on what the success drivers for women in executive positions are. This is where the subject of the current study lies. Women who are examining their career paths, or even young women considering what professions to enter, lack guidance as to what will make their careers more successful. The literature supports this contention -- while young men model their careers on the successful men that surround them, women often do not. The lack of role models may make it less clear what it will take for a woman to reach the executive suite. Thus, there is benefit in profiling those women who are successfully commanding significant marketing organizations.

Another element in the literature about the glass ceiling is the search for evidence that the ceiling is harmful. The underlying logic is that if a compelling economic case can be made that the glass ceiling hurts firms and hurts the economy as a whole, that more will be done to eliminate it. The glass ceiling is, after all, highly persistent across many cultures including those thought to be the most egalitarian in the world. Admittedly, there is some bias in the search for evidence that the glass ceiling is harmful, but if that evidence can be found, using enough different techniques, eventually such findings will be incontrovertible. There have been a number of studies that support the link between the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and firm performance. While the choice of CMOs for study needs to take into account the various mitigating factors that contribute to the correlation between the CMO and firm performance, that this link exists presents an opportunity to highlight the benefits of hiring women into the role of CMO.

There has, to this point, been very little study of the subject of females in the CMO role. The literature has tended to discuss the performance of females as executives, the contributions that CMOs make to firm value and even the ethical compass of female marketing executives relative to their male counterparts, but there appears to be a gap in the literature regarding the specific performance of female CMOs. It has only recently been established that the CMO influences firm performance, and that the markets recognize this, so the studies about female CMOs have not yet been written. It is hoped that this study will begin to fill that gap.

Thus, there are two objectives of this study. The first is to provide background information about the biographies of female CMOs. It has been established that females are underrepresented in marketing management educational programs. This implies one of two things. The first is that females are going to be underrepresented in marketing management, which is true. The second is that females in marketing management positions may take atypical career paths to reach that position. Whether or not female CMOs have taken convention career paths involving progressively important marketing roles and an MBA, or whether they have taken an unconventional route to that position, is subject worthy of study because it sheds light on the issue of the glass ceiling and the realities of how female executives must make their way to the executive suite.

The other issue in the current study is whether or not there is a difference in performance between female CMOs and male CMOs. If a difference is found, it can add to the body of literature supporting stronger measures to eliminate the glass ceiling. If there is no evidence that female marketing executives outperform, that is fine as well, and such a finding would support other positions in the literature, namely that the differences between male and female leaders are exaggerated. That would also support the elimination of the glass ceiling.

The statement of the problem, therefore, is quite simple: There is evidence to suggest that, although underrepresented, women are well qualified for executive level marketing positions.

The paper will focus on answering that question by developing on a few key themes, as defined in the three questions around which this paper is based. The literature review supports the formulation of the three questions, and it also supports the foundation of the concepts in the current study. There is a link between the CMO and firm performance, and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cmo the Glass Ceiling.  (2012, June 14).  Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/cmo-glass-ceiling-one/56174

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"Cmo the Glass Ceiling."  14 June 2012.  Web.  25 May 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/cmo-glass-ceiling-one/56174>.

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"Cmo the Glass Ceiling."  Essaytown.com.  June 14, 2012.  Accessed May 25, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/cmo-glass-ceiling-one/56174.