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The "Glass Ceiling" Issues

Escarra is EVP of Customer Service and Jenny R. Poole is EVP of In Flight services.

The airline industry is "service intensive" and the success of an airline comes from the perception of it being a "nurturing" enterprise. Both Delta and Air France claim to be discrimination-free in their hiring policies (by law in America and by culture in France.)

As organizations experience a huge influx of women into the workforce, researchers have been studying such gender differences. According to Adler and Izraeli (1988), there are essentially two contrasting views --"equity" (which assumes similarity between male and female contributions) and "complementary contribution" (which assumes differences between male and female contributions and strives to recognize the value of these differences)(Adler & Izraeli, 1998).

The debate between proponents of these two views continues and some evidence indicates that the "complementary-contribution" model is gaining ground. Gibson (1995) points out that women, as perceived by male executives interviewed in four countries are supposed to be "cooperative, supportive, gentle, and to provide service to others. They are to derive satisfaction and self-esteem from helping others while men had to appear to be competitive, strong, tough, decisive, and in control, women have been allowed to be cooperative, emotional, supportive, and vulnerable. This may explain why women today are more likely to be interactive leaders" (Gibson, 1995, 258).

A case specific request of Yahoo, Infoseek, Northern Light, and Electric Library of "glass ceiling" + "Air France" and "Glass Ceiling" + "Delta Air Lines" yielded exactly 11 hits, none of them valuable. On the other hand, a search for "glass ceiling" by itself yielded 2,443,812 hits from all of the Search Engines.

One inference that could be drawn is that the problem of "glass ceiling" ha


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