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Robin Martin

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Robin Martin-Jones


Robin a graduate with a degree in business started her career by working for a Fortune 500 company. Although she wanted to work for a mid-level company she was very impressed with the large organization and took up the job as a "fast tracker". After completing her MBA program she was promoted to a mid-level management position. Trouble started after Robin returned from her maternity leave. Although she excelled at her work she realized that she has been passed over for promotion and out of frustration she chose to start up her own company with a college friend.


Robin was one of the brightest newcomers chosen by the company to sponsor her MBA program. After graduating near top of her class she steadily climbed up the organization ladder along with her male counterparts to a mid-level management. She returned to work after her maternity leave with an 80 percent flexible work arrangement and performed on par with managers who worked a full-time schedule. Although she was a perfect choice for several of the advanced positions in the company she was passed over as her male colleagues rose steadily in the organization. She realized she hit the glass ceiling and quit her job to start her own company.


This case is a classic example of hitting the "Glass Ceiling" effect. The expression is meant to indicate a symbolic transparent barrier that blocked women from reaching the top most positions in corporate America. Only 15.4 percent of women occupy upper management position in Fortune 500 companies. In fact only 6 percent of women will be CEO's in the Fortune 1000 by year 2016. One of the reasons for the barrier is the difference in the leadership styles between men and women. It is perceived that men tend to be more assertive and direct in approach, a necessary quality for a leader, than women who are more compassionate and emotional. Also women play multiple roles as a mother and a career woman and although Robin never gave anyone a chance to complain fact remains she did return to work only 80 percent of the time. Her inter role conflict could prevent her from taking long trips abroad or changing plans at short notice. Another notion is that women willingly accept lower wages and do not want promotions because they are committed to their families.


Short Term Fix: The company should talk to Robin and offer her a position her worth. Negotiate with Robin on what additional skills she can develop.

Long Term Fix: Clearly it's not Robin's motherhood or lack of qualifications or lack of aspiration that did not get her the deserved promotion. The Company first needs to acknowledge the problem and accept it. It should adopt practices



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