Expatriate Glass Ceiling : The Perception of Malaysian Female Employees
Ghosh, Chandrika (2013) Expatriate Glass Ceiling : The Perception of Malaysian Female Employees. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)
Evidence from research has repeatedly pointed to the small number of women managers sent on expatriation. The percentage of female expatriates during the 1990’s was as low as 14% of all expatriate managers (Windham/NFTC, 1997). Researchers found that, similar to the glass ceiling that prevents women from reaching top management levels, there seems to be another glass barrier that stops them from taking up international assignments. This subtle, invisible barrier has been referred to as the expatriate glass ceiling.The main purpose of this research is to identify expatriate glass ceiling barriers and also to investigate the perception of Malaysian female employees towards the same. This research will also examine the female employees’ attitude towards international assignments. The focus of this study is on female employees without past experience of expatriation, since they form the group of potential candidates for expatriation in an organisation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with female employees from 4 MNCs for data collection. The results showed that, family and marital status, women’s willingness to accept expatriation, country of assignment, supervisor’s attitude, mentoring facilities and selection procedure, were perceived as barriers for female employees. It was also found that women managers hold a positive attitude towards international assignments, thus ruling out the possibility of their personal attitude working as a barrier to expatriation. These findings point to the need for strategies to break such barriers by putting in place more inclusive human resource policies and cultivating a general attitude to encourage women’s progress in the organisation. This research was only a small endeavour to uncover the female employees’ perception towards the expatriate glass ceiling. Therefore, further research is required, possibly with a wider and better sample, for an improved understanding of the finer details of this issue.
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