My friend Lisa Williams raises a good point in the comments on my Carol Bartz post. She writes: 
“Susan, do you think this is an example of the “glass cliff”?

The Harvard Business Review
recently revisited this phenomenon, where women are overrepresented in
what they call “precarious leadership positions.” That is, they’re set
up to fail by being given opportunities to lead only after a company is
in so much trouble that it’s too late to do anything except dismantle
it.

So, your determination: golden opportunity, or glass cliff?”

The HBS piece Lisa is referencing, by Sylvia Anne Hewett, summarizes a piece of British research by MIchelle K  Ryan and summarized in a BBC piece, that makes the following points:

  • Women promoted into top corporare positions–CEO, Chairman, etc–are more likely than their male counterparts to have moved into a more risky or precarious role.
  • In a study of 100 companies during a period of overall stock-market decline those  who
    appointed women to their boards were more likely to have experienced
    consistently bad performance in the preceding five months than those
    who appointed men.
  • Appointment of a woman director was not associated
    with a subsequent drop in company performance.
  • Companies that appointed a woman actually
    experienced a marked increase in share price after the appointment.
  • Poor company performance may lead to the appointment of women to positions of leadership, viz, the glass cliff.

The piece also says “Women who take on leadership roles may be more exposed
to criticism than men in the same position. They may also be in greater
danger of being held responsible for negative outcomes that were set in
train well before they assumed their new roles.

So, whaddya think? Did Carol Bartz step onto the glass cliff?
Or are things so bad at Yahoo! she can only make them better?

My friend Lisa Williams raises a good point in the comments on my Carol Bartz post. She writes: 
“Susan, do you think this is an example of the “glass cliff”?

The Harvard Business Review
recently revisited this phenomenon, where women are overrepresented in
what they call “precarious leadership positions.” That is, they’re set
up to fail by being given opportunities to lead only after a company is
in so much trouble that it’s too late to do anything except dismantle
it.

So, your determination: golden opportunity, or glass cliff?”

The HBS piece Lisa is referencing, by Sylvia Anne Hewett, summarizes a piece of British research by MIchelle K  Ryan and summarized in a BBC piece, that makes the following points:

  • Women promoted into top corporare positions–CEO, Chairman, etc–are more likely than their male counterparts to have moved into a more risky or precarious role.
  • In a study of 100 companies during a period of overall stock-market decline those  who
    appointed women to their boards were more likely to have experienced
    consistently bad performance in the preceding five months than those
    who appointed men.
  • Appointment of a woman director was not associated
    with a subsequent drop in company performance.
  • Companies that appointed a woman actually
    experienced a marked increase in share price after the appointment.
  • Poor company performance may lead to the appointment of women to positions of leadership, viz, the glass cliff.

The piece also says “Women who take on leadership roles may be more exposed
to criticism than men in the same position. They may also be in greater
danger of being held responsible for negative outcomes that were set in
train well before they assumed their new roles.

So, whaddya think? Did Carol Bartz step onto the glass cliff?
Or are things so bad at Yahoo! she can only make them better?