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The "glasshouse effect": women in marketing management.

Explores the "glasshouse effect" that women marketing managers may experience as they carry out their marketing roles. Addresses, specifically, the invisible organizational environments which constrict and stifle values which are traditionally perceived as "feminine" in the workplace. Research with women in marketing management indicates that these barriers are net only vertical, as implied by the phrase "the glass ceiling", but also horizontal, and are consequently more appropriately encapsulated in the image of a "glasshouse", a colloquial term for a prison.


There has been an increasing amount of research over the last decade on gender issues and their implications, both in the general management literature (Adler and Izraeli, 1988; Marshall, 1984; Morrison, 1992) and in other management-related disciplines such as, for example, accountancy (Kirkham, 1992; Lehman, 1992; Loft, 1992; Roberts and Coutts, 1992), organizational behaviour (Bigoness, 1988; Schneer and Reitman, 1994) and human resources (Dorgan and Grieco, 1993; Lewis and Morgan, 1994). These studies confirm that women may face more difficulties in business than their male counterparts as a result of stereotyped assumptions about their role, and these assumptions have a negative effect on women's management opportunities in the workplace.

While there has been a growing emphasis on the significance of gender in management, however, there has been little research carried out which specifically investigates gender issues in marketing management, and the implications for women marketing managers. This is despite the fact that, according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing figures (1995), there are now equal numbers of female and male marketing students. There are, of course, many studies which examine the gender issues and assumptions inherent in the marketing discipline itself, and in particular its relationship with the consumer. The marketing academy has traditionally regarded itself as "male" with the consumer being perceived as "female" (Bond, 1988; Fischer and Bristor, 1994; Hirschman, 1993) and those outside the marketing discipline have often accused marketing practices of contributing to and maintaining the lower status of women in society (Cott, 1989; Friedan, 1963). The perspective of women as practising marketers themselves, however, has never been sought and it is this imbalance that we now seek to redress.

In this article we address the difficulties that women marketing managers may face in their working environment because of their gender, and explore how women marketing managers adapt and adjust to organizational environments which have largely been defined and shaped by men. We refer, in particular, to the problems they face in carrying out their marketing roles. The experiences of women marketing managers can be likened to the "glasshouse effect", in the sense that women often feel themselves to be imprisoned within organizations. This may result in the particular strengths and resources women bring to their managerial roles being wasted, as women are compelled to conform to behavioural patterns within organizations, in particular "male" organizational cultures. The invisible barriers within the organization may manifest themselves as a hostility to values traditionally perceived as "feminine", and create many unquestioned and intangible barriers to women's advancement. Consequently, in this article we question the assumptions that marketers make about organizational life being free from gender bias and argue that the issue of gender is one that needs to be addressed when considering the marketing role.

In order to examine women's perspectives and experiences, we felt it was first useful to examine the main gender differences highlighted in the management literature and then consider the implications of these for women working as marketing managers. During these discussions, we make reference to findings we collected from a series of focus groups with women marketing managers. We then go on to highlight the growing body of evidence to support the view that, as more women enter the workplace in managerial roles, women's particular strengths and abilities are increasingly recognized as having a valuable place in the organization of the future, and the organizations which choose to ignore the benefits of this so-called "feminization" of the workplace are ill-equipped to compete in the marketplace.

An overview of women in management

It is a startling and salutory statistic that, when paid and unpaid work is taken into consideration, women do two-thirds of the world's work, receive 10 per cent of the world's income and own 1 per cent of the world's resources (Scott, 1985; Spender, 1985). In recent years there has been, of course, much activity to correct this imbalance, and indeed women now represent over 40 per cent of the workforce in the Western world (Davidson and Burke, 1994). In particular, as Davidson and Cooper (1993) demonstrate, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women who are pursuing managerial and professional careers in the past two decades.

Despite managerial and professional women being at least as well educated and trained as their male counterparts, however, and being hired by organizations in approximately equal numbers, they are not entering senior management at comparable rates (Brett and Stroh, 1994). There are many studies to show that women have made their greatest gains in attaining lower-level managerial positions but have much greater difficulty in attaining middle to upper-level management positions (Burke and McKeen, 1994). In her study of organizational behaviour and gender Fiona Wilson discusses the various "myths" which surround the explanations for the fact that women are absent from boardroom tables. The primary myth is that women's commitment is less than that of men because of, having children, for example, with the related assumption that women are consequently perceived as being less reliable than their male counterparts. Yet it has been shown that, although many women from their mid-20s to their mid-30s leave to start families after five to seven years, a majority of these women can be expected to return on completion of their maternity leave, whereas men often switch employers after five to seven years to go to a competitor's company (Wilson, 1995). Other myths, such as those which question women's motivation, need for achievement or risk-taking propensity, are still perpetuated, despite research which demonstrates women's strengths in management roles. For example, there are studies which indicate that female managers are more concerned with opportunities for growth, autonomy and challenge than their male counterparts, and are less concerned with their working environments and salary considerations (Bigoness, 1988; Donnell and Hall, 1980).

These misplaced assumptions and preconceptions constitute the intangible barriers which women face, barriers which prevent their advancement in organizations and which are aptly described as "the glass ceiling". We in fact prefer the phrase "the glasshouse effect" because it seems to us to describe more accurately the actual experiences of women marketing managers -- the restricted, contained and controlled lives many of them describe in their working environments. It also suggests the risks they face if they challenge the status quo of the male cultures within which they work (women in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones...), and it illustrates that the barriers to women's advancement are of both a vertical (glass ceiling) and a horizontal ("glasshouse effect") nature. There is also a further link with the glasshouse effect of our title which reminds us of the greenhouse effect that has been caused by wasting many of the earth's resources. So, too, the glasshouse effect has come about through many of the valuable resources that women can bring to organizational life being overlooked and wasted; in effect potential is destroyed instead of being realized. Indeed, one of the best known commentators on current trends in management, Charles Handy (1994), expresses concern about this myopia on the part of many organizations, warning that companies wishing to remain competitive in the future ignore the valuable resources that women bring to organizations at their peril. Handy argues that the qualities that many women managers excel in ideally qualify them for meaningful managerial roles within organizations, and that these qualities should be nurtured, not ignored.

Morrison (1992) describes several organizational barriers which constitute the glass ceiling in organizations. These include nonsupportive working environments, differences being treated as weaknesses, exclusion from group activities, and a lack of organizational insider knowledge. Our research demonstrates that these issues are indeed important in relation to women's experience as marketing managers, and they provide a framework for the discussion that follows.

Research methodology

The primary research consisted of four focus groups conducted with female marketing managers from a broad range of sectors. Our choice of a qualitative methodology was twofold. In the first instance the nature of our research was exploratory and thus lent itself to a qualitative research approach. Second, and in our view most significantly, a major criticism of many past studies in gender in management research has been their quantitative nature. This has often led to surveys which have been developed out of male experiences and which have consequently yielded few insights into the experience of females (Stevenson, 1986). Indeed, in cases where the literature has shown no gender differences it has often been because research issues have been treated from an entirely male perspective with the implicit assumption in this that women live the same lives as men (Ferrario, 1994). Another of the difficulties of studying women in management is that many women who are in management consciously or unconsciously adapt to the "malestream" culture which they face, in preference to the more difficult road of developing alternative ways of working and thereby opening up possibilities of change for other women (Gummer, 1990; Newman, 1995). The objective of our research was to get behind these "malestream" opinions and gather data which reflected more deeply the actual experiences and perceptions of marketing women in their workplaces, and a qualitative methodology allowed us more flexibility in this respect.

Non-supportive working environments

Many women in business are becoming increasing aware and indeed disillusioned with what they perceive as a lack of support in their work environments (Shapiro and Stern, 1975; Varca et al., 1983). The rise in women entrepreneurs testifies to this growing dissatisfaction, as many women come to believe that the only way to realize their potential is to "go it alone" (Rosen and Korabik, 1991; Taylor, 1986). There is evidence from a study by Morgan et al. (1995) that women in marketing positions are equally disillusioned. Morgan et al.'s research into the job satisfaction of marketing managers reveals that women marketing managers are less satisfied with their jobs than their male colleagues.

The working environment is determined by the culture within a particular organization, namely the systems of shared values which create the behavioural norms. Maddock and Parkin (1994) have identified seven types of gender-related organizational culture, each of which in its own way contributes to a non-supportive work environment. The "gentleman's club" reinforces the notion that the woman's role as mother and homemaker and the man's role as breadwinner are natural and preordained; the "barrack yard" is an authoritarian culture where power delivers respect and as women rarely have senior status their interests are ignored; the "locker room" is an exclusion culture, where men build relationships on the basis of common agreements and common assumptions and may frequently talk about sport and make sexual references to confirm their heterosexuality; the "gender blind" pretends that women live the same lives as men; the "smart macho" is driven by extreme competitiveness and is very much geared to the young and childless; the "paying lip-service" type of culture espouses equal opportunities policies but does little to assist practically in the development of women employees; and the "women as gate-keepers" type of culture means that often the main resistance to women managers comes from other women who are less career-oriented or are wives of senior staff.

During our discussions with women marketing managers, several instances of organizational culture and its effect on the marketing role were evident. A marketing manager in the construction industry was having great difficulty liaising satisfactorily with the all-male sales team which exemplified the "locker room" culture. This primarily manifested itself in the managing director of the company taking the sales team out for drinks but not inviting her:

I work in the building trade, and in our

company there's the managing director who

owns the company and then there's the sales

reps who are all men, and what you find is

that the managing director will go out

drinking with the reps and this creates a

kind of "them and us" culture, which I feel I

am totally outside ... so it does then create

repercussions within the workplace. For

instance I feel they have a better relationship

with him than I do, and I feel they can

approach him more often than I can because

they're so often together, and I'm not part of

that exclusive little circle. There is that

feeling, you know, that they receive more

sympathy than I do.

This exclusion made her feel at a disadvantage; she perceived herself to be "on the outside", and because of that had a more distant relationship with them. The sales team were currently resisting all her attempts to enlist their help in setting up a customer feedback system and she believed they were also withholding valuable customer information from her. Inevitably this resulted in her feeling curtailed in terms of how well she could perform her marketing role. Other women marketing managers related how they had to adapt to male culture in its various forms, sometimes remaining aloof to emphasize their professionalism when they felt this was being questioned, sometimes accepting a patronizing tone as going with the territory. Many of them felt they were under enormous pressure to prove themselves, to conquer what they perceived to be male resistance. This often manifested itself in a refusal to include women in discussions by avoiding eye contact with them and thereby "chilling them out". One woman rationalized it thus: "It's like a pack thing", she said. Friendliness could be, and often was, misinterpreted, particularly in the case of visits to exhibitions or conferences, and especially whenever they initiated a conversation with a new contact or potential customer. They were very conscious of the need not to send the wrong signals. Tolerating the "male gaze" at exhibitions was a fact of life for one marketing manager who travelled frequently to trade fairs and who confessed that she would put on spectacles when she wanted to ensure that she would be taken seriously! Self-consciousness and a feeling of being conspicuous and vulnerable are understandable reactions for women, given that they are often in what may be described as predominantly male environments.

The above examples serve to remind us that the external environment is an area of particular importance to the marketing role, and that there are many cultures that the woman marketing manager must comprehend, accommodate and come to terms with. It is not sufficient for her simply to seek to understand the culture of her own organization and work to improve her internal communications; she continually faces the challenge of being a woman in a predominantly male world. Learning to adapt to the gender-related culture of customers' organizations also becomes a critical function for her to be able to manage the company/ customer interface more successfully. Of course we are not suggesting here that men and women cannot work well together; indeed many men and women work together very successfully, with the gender interplay between them enlivening their working environment (Burrell, 1992). Nevertheless, not all organizations have cultures which enhance gender interaction; many organizations have a very strong masculine culture which serves to isolate and alienate women. Being a woman may, therefore, be perceived as a negative attribute and there may be many ongoing gender-related obstacles that a woman marketing manager has to overcome for her to be acceptable in her marketing role, both within her organization and externally too.

Differences treated as weaknesses

The Institute of Management has identified the dominance of male culture in its many manifestations as the crucial barrier for women in business to overcome (Goodsir, 1992). It is the prevalence and power of this culture, perceived as the norm, that leads directly to differences being regarded as weaknesses and hence to women being perceived as having less value to the organization. The traditional view is that managers are male and it is only in relatively recent times that women have been acknowledged as capable managers. These assumptions of a male norm still exist in many organizations today. It has been shown that males perceive successful managers to possess characteristics, attitudes and temperaments more commonly ascribed to men (Schein and Mueller, 1992) and, although female managers and management students no longer sex-type the managerial job (Schein et al., 1989), the concept of a scientific, rational and detached male manager still persists, as being the ideal to which one should aspire. This obviously presents problems for women in managerial roles because they will frequently be considered by male colleagues and subordinates as not fitting the mould, of being an outsider because of their gender, and they will constantly be measured against the male managerial stereotype as shown in Table I. When judged by the above standards, set by men, women will frequently be perceived as failing to measure up as proper management material. Forrest (1989) points out that women are frequently evaluated as less acceptable candidates for stimulating, challenging jobs or for high status positions within their organizations. This was certainly the case for one woman marketing manager who related how, in a previous job, she had built up the marketing function within the organization but did not receive recognition for her efforts. It was not until she left the organization that there was tangible recognition of her work: a male subordinate, recruited and trained by her, was promoted to her position and was given the title of "marketing manager", a title which had eluded her. Another manager described how she and a male colleague had travelled to America with their boss for a series of export promotions. She related how her male colleague was given all the "juicy jobs". When she queried this her boss agreed but justified his decision because he believed she was better at "holding the fort", answering telephone queries and generally looking after things while they were out and about at meetings, exhibitions, etc.
Table I
Masculine and feminine stereotypes

Masculine stereotype        Feminine stereotype

Competence                  Incompetence
Very aggressive             Not at all aggressive
Very independent            Not at all independent
Almost always hides         Does not hide emotions
  emotions                    at all
Very objective              Very subjective
Not at all easily           Very easily influenced
Very dominant               Very submissive
Distance/inexpressiveness   Warmth/expressiveness
Uses harsh language         Does not use harsh
                              language at all
Not at all talkative        Very talkative
Very rough                  Very gentle
Not at all aware of         Very aware of feelings of
  feelings of others          others

Source: Extract from Broverman et al. (1972) cited by Wilson (1995)

Morrison et al. (1990) believe that there is much evidence to show that the key to success for the woman executive is to demonstrate that she can negotiate and continually draw on sex stereotypical behaviour patterns, adopting male behaviours when appropriate (being careful not to be too macho and thus arousing hostility) and retaining female behaviours (without being too feminine) when the occasion requires it. One manager clearly demonstrated the adoption of male behaviour patterns, as she described her tendency in meetings to ask hard-hitting questions so that her male colleagues would think "that woman's got balls!" This was a recurrent theme throughout our discussions. Many women constantly performed a juggling act between these behaviour patterns in response to the men they were dealing with, whether they were colleagues or customers; indeed they were continually conscious of the need to fit in, to read situations and behave in a way they deemed to be acceptable to their male colleagues. There seemed to be a continual underlying worry that they might be "exposed", as the following quote demonstrates:

I wouldn't confide in male colleagues

because I don't want them to think we're

weak. I wouldn't want them to feel that they

have somehow got somebody second best

because I'm a woman. I wouldn't want to

give them any excuse whatsoever to say that

there's anything not right -- so I would confide

in a female...we don't want them to

think we're weaker; somehow we don't want

to show them our vulnerability because

they'll just turn round and say "Oh well, I

told you so"; you know, "here we go, another


It seems not unreasonable to surmise that male colleagues may not be subject to the same gender-related anxieties and dilemmas as their female colleagues; certainly one would not expect men to perceive their masculinity as a problem to be overcome, as indeed many of the women we spoke to did with regard to their femininity. It seems to be the case that women marketing managers rarely forget, nor are they allowed to forget, that they are women, and in real terms that often means perceiving themselves to be at a distinct disadvantage. One woman marketing manager expressed it thus: "It's whether they have respect for you as a person, or whether you've got to prove yourself to them or whatever". To put it another way, as a woman she felt herself to be at a disadvantage; only by proving herself as a "person" could she envisage herself being treated as an equal by her male colleagues. This quest for what several described as "professionalism" meant the suppression of anything to do with home life and resulted in what Thompson (1996) has described as "juggling lifestyles"; the juxtaposition of competing life goals, responsibilities and emotional orientations:

I have a baby, and when I leave him off, and

he's bawling and screaming. I feel oh, this is

awful. I get into the car, shut the door, and I

make myself totally switch off. Then I find I

haven't thought of him for quite a considerable

time, and that makes me feel awful too,

but I know I can't do everything... but if you

have male colleagues you wouldn't discuss

these things really.

The above discussion touches on an important issue in terms of women's behaviours (and their suppression) in the workplace, specifically the role of intuition. The women marketing managers frequently spoke of their continual "reading" of situations both within the organization and outside it. Often they were self-deprecating and almost apologetic as they described their "hunches" and their "gut feelings". Several believed that they were merely interpreting non-verbal clues and male signs, continually reading, assessing and judging situations. A number of women perceived their sensitivity to mood and atmosphere as perhaps being related to their gender and one of the benefits of this "tuning in" to others was that they were more comfortable dealing with emotional issues than most of the men with whom they worked. One of the interviewees described how men had a tendency to bully or pressurize others. Another mentioned the difference she perceived between male and female sales representatives: men, she said, had a tendency to go for a hard sell and tried to push her into a corner. This point was reiterated by another woman marketing manager who said that in her organization many men ordered people about whereas women asked and usually got better results. While intuition may be derided by some, women marketing managers' abilities to "tune in" to others are surely a valuable asset for any organization, implying as it does strong communication and inter-personal skills.

Exclusion from group activities

One of the problems resulting from the assumptions made about women's role in the workplace is that women are frequently excluded from group activities within those organizations where a strong male culture predominates. These activities may be business-related, for example, considering a female colleague too irrational to be involved in the development of a strategic plan, or too emotional to make a worthwhile contribution to the question of severing relationships with a long-term supplier. At other times these activities are of a social Nature and may manifest themselves as "boys" weekends or sporting networks, social activities which strengthen men's bonds with one another. In the face of all this male bonding, one woman marketing manager we spoke to took up golfing for the sole purpose of penetrating this important network. She at least was "privileged" enough to be accepted by her golfing male colleagues, but another woman marketing manager described how she had tried to join her organization's golf club and had met with resistance:

In the company I worked with previously...

they had their golf club weekends, staying

over, but nothing for females. I used to say,

just to stir it and annoy them, you know, I

play golf, so how do you get membership? Oh

panic, panic, panic! And there was one person

who actually said to me "oh, you couldn't

join", and the worrying thing was the

guy was serious; it came out before he realized.

And I said why not? And he said you

just couldn't; and I actually had a good relationship

with him. But I mean that was very

much the case, you know, that you couldn't

possibly join, because it went through the

whole company, very much, it was a men's


Sporting weekends offer men the opportunity to socialize with male colleagues from all levels within the organization, and it is not hard, therefore, to see the significance of these social activities and to appreciate how a woman's exclusion from them boxes her in both horizontally and vertically.

Given women's considerable networking skills it is particularly ironic that many are denied the informal networking with colleagues which is so essential for their marketing role. For example, research clearly indicates that women can make a major contribution to organization life through their considerable teambuilding skills (Newman, 1995). Women managers tend towards more cooperative behaviour, using consultation and more democratic decision-making processes, with an emphasis on affiliation and communication, as opposed to the common practice among male managers of asserting status through maintaining a distance (Wilson, 1995). With the increasing shift in UK industry from a manufacturing to a service base, these qualities are in considerable demand in our highly competitive marketplace and management gurus such as Peter Drucker and Charles Handy recognize that women may have a particular role to play, based on their competences, in transforming organizations (Parkin and Maddock, 1995). Handy (1994) believes that male conditioning over the generations, in both home and workplace, has emphasized singularity of purpose, one thing at a time, rank and formal authority, toughness rather than tenderness, rationality rather than intuition. He observes that women throughout the generations have had to make things happen with or without formal authority. Their greater flexibility and preparedness to negotiate with others ideally equips them for the growing challenges of the global marketplace.

The marketing concept with its emphasis on understanding customers and internal coordination, is quintessentially about teamwork and communicating with others, both within and outside the organization. It is hardly coincidental that the relationship marketing literature has originated in what has been described by Hofstede (1994) as the feminine countries of Scandinavia, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Yet the marketing managers in our group discussions were often excluded from activities that would have enabled them to network more effectively and which would have made their jobs so much easier. For example, the female marketing manager with an all-male sales team found that they would meet most frequently in the pub and she was never invited along to these meetings. She believed this was for two reasons. The first was that they might perceive her as cramping their style or spoiling

their fun in some way, and also that their wives might object to them mixing socially with female colleagues. The unease many men feel with women colleagues in a social situation, their difficulty in seeing beyond women's sexuality, may serve as a justification for their ostracizing women in these more informal social situations.

The women marketing managers that we spoke to were simply not getting the same opportunities as their male colleagues for mixing throughout the organization, either horizontally with different departments or, more significantly, vertically with various hierarchical levels.

Lack of organizational insider knowledge

To be part of daily discussions and informal chats is to be privy to titbits of useful information, and exclusion from these activities, whether social or business, means women are denied valuable "inner sanctum" chats. While discussing current events with the boss does not of course guarantee instant promotion, nevertheless there is sufficient evidence to show that it can certainly help (Vinnicombe and Colwill, 1995). Inevitably, this lack of insider knowledge ultimately resulted, for some women, in a growing sense of not being valued or fulfilled in their jobs. When they felt marginalized a sense of alienation and discontent with their work grew. Aside from a decrease in job satisfaction this lack of insider knowledge inhibited their ability to do their jobs well.

Mintzberg and other management researchers have demonstrated that informal networking plays a central role in a manager's job and that informal information gathering is a key feature of managerial decision making. "Insider knowledge", therefore, has a particular significance for those in marketing positions, not least since it contributes significantly to a realistic assessment of a company's strengths and weaknesses and hence enables marketing managers to develop more feasible marketing plans. In short, without insider knowledge it is considerably more difficult for a marketing manager to do his or her job, as the following quote illustrates:

Men very much stick together. I see the way

they support one another and work together

... we have to do it on our own ... and it

crosses the hierarchical levels. I was very

conscious in my own organisation that

when a new guy came into our team he was

automatically in with the boss. Suddenly

they had this relationship with him that I'd

been struggling to try to develop; they had

this great camaraderie.

Many of the women we spoke to felt excluded from strategic decision making, and usually found themselves in less valued support roles in marketing, such as customer care, market research, advertising or promotional activities. Significantly, then, there may be a male/ female divide within marketing in terms of the roles assigned to men and women. Is this because marketing strategy reverberates with what Gherardi (1995, p. 11) describes as "the great male saga of conquest (of new markets) and of campaigns (to launch new products)"? In contrast the service side of marketing "echoes to the language of care, of concern for needs and of relationality" (Gherardi, 1995, p. 12). One woman described the prevailing attitude in her firm as being that "girls are all right for the advertising jobs, etc., but when it gets to the commercial stuff, that's for the boys". Another woman marketing manager actually had to wear a uniform along with all the other female members of staff. Male employees were under no such restrictions in dress. In this way women in marketing are segregated into areas defined as more suitable "women's work", repeating patterns found in other disciplines such as accountancy where women are mainly in auditing (Lehman, 1992). These areas also inevitably have lower status, lower material rewards, less autonomy and fewer opportunities for advancement (Roberts and Coutts, 1992).


Our research shows an unease on the part of women marketing managers with their roles within organizations and a sense of being marginalized within their organizations. Many women are frustrated at being pigeon-holed as the smiling faces of marketing, decorative if necessary additions to the marketing "team's" portfolio, and describe their difficulties in gaining access to work which they know to be more highly valued within organizations, such as strategic decision making and long-term planning. They feel that they do not currently have the strength in terms of numbers to attack or "beat" men by challenging the organizational "norm"; and those who try to "join" them may find that an equally difficult road. Sadly, we think, most women in our discussion groups believed that their gender worked against them and ultimately prevented them from doing their jobs to the best of their abilities and advancing within the organization. They believed themselves to be defined as women first and as marketing managers second, and in the current climate attitudes to women as marketing managers still have some way to go before their gender and indeed their strengths as women are perceived in a positive light.

While there is no doubt that gender influences the marketing role to a considerable extent, it was not our intention in this research project to quantify this. Factors such as age, education and cultural background need to be considered. Many of the women we interviewed, for instance, were young and educated to a higher standard than older male colleagues. We should perhaps also point out that all the women who took part in the discussion groups worked in Northern Ireland, a region of the UK, we confess, not renowned for its enlightened attitude to women! There was also a feeling, from the discussion groups, that marketing itself was in its infancy compared with, for example, sales and finance, and that it has yet to be taken seriously at a strategic level. This opens up many interesting areas for further research and comparative studies between male and female marketing practitioners. A significant aspect to emerge from our research is the impact of horizontal barriers. Most management research focuses on the vertical barriers for women and this of course is what the "glass ceiling" is. What we have tried to illustrate with our "glasshouse effect" metaphor is that women marketing managers may find themselves contained on all sides within their organization.

There is growing evidence, however, particularly emanating from the USA, that a change is under way, and that this change will manifest itself as greater co-operation in the workplace, greater flexibility, adaptability and more willingness to accommodate different values, both inside and outside the organization, although there is no doubt that this so-called "feminization" of the workplace may encounter some resistance from those wishing to preserve the status quo. These changing trends in business offer many positive opportunities for both women and men.

To conclude, we are not suggesting that women should be given power in place of men; rather we are suggesting that there needs to be a greater focus on the ways in which men and women may work together to bring different but complementary skills to the marketing role. While we are not underestimating the difficulties of challenging the status quo, nor how deeply entrenched "male" organizational norms and values may be, there are growing indications that the climate is now right for women marketing managers to emerge from the organizational glasshouses within which they have been contained so that they may flourish and develop their considerable skills alongside their male colleagues. The onus is surely on marketers, men and women, traditionally the innovators and communicators within the organization, to work together to welcome the challenges that lie ahead.


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Pauline Maclaran The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Lorna Stevens University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, UK

Miriam Catterall University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, UK

We would like to thank our colleague Professor Stephen Brown for his invaluable comments and suggestions on this article.
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Author:Maclaran, Pauline; Stevens, Lorna; Catterall, Miriam
Publication:Marketing Intelligence & Planning
Date:Jun 1, 1997
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