In U.S. organizations, men take leadership or management ppositions more than women, especially women of ethnicity, because female employees are believed to have less experience and knowledge than men. The problem is that, having limited opportunities for promotion, women of ethnicity face certain obstacles when they try to obtain managerial roles. In this study, the focus is on examining African American women and women of other nationalities who lived through every experience that are associated with facing obstacles and barriers when these women are promoted in organizations and on describing the meaning they ascribe to these experiences.
The study is based on the theoretical framework, which involves the Leader Categorization Theory, the Phenomenological Approach and the concept of the “glass ceiling”. The leader category theory explains why people view some individuals as leaders, and those individuals become leaders because of their followers perceptions of them and demonstrated leadership qualities and attibutes. The phenomonological approach is an applied is applied to the study to aid in examining people’s lived experiences related to their lifeworld. Finally, the concept of “glass ceiling” is applied to assist in the understanding of the phenomenom of women of different ethnicities’ underrrepresentation at senior positions in U.S. organizations.
Focusing on the analysis of interviews cinducted with 20 African American women aged 35-60 years, it was possible to state that they faced real obstacles to the promotion and upward transitions. They tend to view human resource managers pratices and strategies as discriminating and opportunities to be promoted as limited. Women of color can be excluded from upward transitions because their knowledge and education is viewed as imcomplete for a managerial position. They experience pressure and the lack of support in developing skills and careers.