Women and Glass Ceilings in the Hospitality Industry

Subject: Industry
Pages: 22
Words: 6549
Reading time:
25 min
Study level: Undergraduate


The preceding chapters expose the existing knowledge on the glass ceiling phenomena and its manifestation in the hospitality industry. The chapters also reveal the existing theories, specifically the Social Roles Theory, which identifies division of labor along gender lines and how that affects the progress of women at the work place. The existing literature does not answer all the questions regarding the glass ceiling and the hospitality industry (Mullins 2001). As such there are knowledge gaps that can only be filled by conducting further researches. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to exhume knowledge with the intention of filling those gaps. As such, this chapter identifies and describes the research methodology for this study that is aimed at exhuming desired knowledge for filling the existing knowledge gaps identified in the preceding chapter. Within this chapter, the research design will also be discussed in details, as well as the study sample population. The data collections tool, the questionnaire, the interview schedule as well as the personality test will be described.

Existing knowledge gaps

The primary purpose of this study is to investigate how do social roles influence the occupation, by women, of middle and senior level management positions in the hotel industry. Within the literature review the existing knowledge on the glass ceiling is explained in details. The existing literature touches on the glass ceiling and the wider hospitality industry. According to The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, there are unseen and sometimes impenetrable barriers that hinder the progress of women in the business world as well as profession develop (1995). This realization has led to extensive research being conducted on this phenomena and what it means for the modern women career. According to Tharenon, Latimar and Conroy (1994) there are a number of influences that bear on the rate of career progress, as well as the level at which women advance to top level management positions. One of the influences that has a bearing is the social roles that women do play in the society (Davidsson and Benson 2003). According to the social roles theory the society has a different expectations of both men and women (Hindin 2007). Women are expected to be child bearer as well as family careers. To effectively play the role of family caretakers, women have to adopt certain behaviors. These behaviors eventually leads to the formation of certain character traits which has again, a bearing on the personalities that women generally develop (Eagly and Karau 2002).

Surveys done in the past have tended to focus on the wider hospitality industry. Slattery (2002) hospitality industry is all encompassing and involves services such as hotel and boarding meals, travel among others. Most of the current literature only focuses on the glass ceiling phenomenon and how it affects the wider hospitality industry. As such this research is aimed at exploring the influences of the social roles and the advancement of women to middles as well as senior level management positions in the hotel industry. This is because no sufficient attention has been given to cover this area. The research methodology is thus developed with this in mind.

Research design

This study adopts an exploratory research design. This design is suitable for this study because the study aims at exhuming qualitative data on the influences of social roles on the occupation of middle and senior level management position by women in the hotel industry. The advantage of an exploratory study in this case is that it will lead to development of theories and concepts (McCotter 2001; Wright and Marsden 2010). regarding the implications of social roles and the glass ceiling in the hotel industry and as such form the foundation for future studies. The exploratory design will allow for the incorporation of both quantitative data and qualitative data (Botoroff n.d.). Quantitative data includes numbers and figures while qualitative data will include descriptions in terms of words, and sentences (Denzin and Lincoln 2005).Therefore, qualitative research is suitable since the main aim of this study is to gather quality information that will help gain a deeper understanding on the bearing of social roles and the advancement of women to middle and senior level management positions in the hotel industry. Moreover, a qualitative research is more open unlike quantitative research (Guba and Lincoln 1994) and as such, it was possible to incorporate unanticipated data and incorporate it in making conclusions and recommendations, as explained by LeCompte and Preissle (1992). Since the target population is too small it can not reveal information that can be conclusively used to make generalizations (Myers 2000) on the glass ceiling phenomenon in the hotel industry. This eliminates the need for a quantitative research. Furthermore this study collects data at a moment in time and then uses the data for analysis thus the study is cross sectional.

Societies have divided roles along gender lines. This means that men and women have special prescribed roles that they play within the family structure and in the entire society (Lippa 2002). Traditionally, these roles have been predetermined by the socioeconomic dynamics whereby fathers are family providers and as such have to earn a livelihood through gainful employment (Newman and Newman 2008). This gives the man economic edge over mothers who have to stay at home and take care of their families. Due to their roles both men and women acquire certain behavioral roles which influences career prospects (LeVine 2007). The purpose of this study is to identify the actual social roles that women in the middle and senior management in hotel industry positions play in their respective families and societies. Furthermore, the study will aim to identify whether the social roles have had a bearing on their advancement to their respective positions in this industry (World Health Organization 2002). Other than this each of the those participants will be asked it identify how if at all their career advancement has been affected by the particular social roles that women play in their respective families (Wright & Marsden 2010). The study will also aim at evaluating career advancement strategies and whether the particular institutions they work have made to help women overcome the social barriers to their career advancement to the middles and senior management positions.

Data collection

The study targeted participants in two hotels namely Westbury Hotel Dublin and Croke Park Hotel are both from Doyle Collection Group. The two hotels are located in Dublin Ireland. The Doyle Collection is group of eleven hotels which serve in six major cities located in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (The Doyle collection 2011). The Westbury Hotel is a five star hotel and the most luxurious hotel in Ireland. Within the hotel, there are world class pubs, theaters as well as award winning restaurants. Due to the nature and the quality The Westbury Hotel services, the hotel attracts the best manpower from all over the world. Most of the employees have previous experience from other major hotel in and outside of Ireland and thus have sufficient knowledge of the luxury hotel industry (The Westbury Hotel 2011). Croke Park Hotel is an international hotel that has a mission to capture international clientele and thus offers service to match. Like The Westbury, Croke Park Hotel is also the recipient of international awards in excellent customer service and the exquisite quality of the hotel. As such it also attracts qualified manpower from many parts of the world that have previous experience in other major hotels (The Doyle collection 2011). The two hotels were identified for two main reasons. The researcher is an employee at Westbury Hotel and thus accessing participants for face to face to interview was easier. Furthermore, employees within the two hotels have prior experience in the hotel industry both within and without the Doyle Collection. As such conducting the research within these hotels would have been cost effective. Furthermore these employees would have provided valuable and reliable data.

Due to the proximity of all the participant face to face interview method was chosen as the most efficient method of data collection. Burton and Edward (1991) define an interview as a focused discussion between two people that is aimed at gathering data for research purposes. A semi structured face to face interview was chosen since it allowed for the use of open ended questions. Open ended questions were opted because they tend to probe deeper than closed ended questions (Wengraf 2001). Furthermore, face to face interview also allow for use of visual aid which can aid perception (Opdenakker 2006; Wholey, Hatry and Newcomer 2004). Through the use of this type of interview, the researcher is in touch with the target audience and as such avoids chances that other people who are not targeted for the research, act as the target audience (Groves 1988). Moreover, face to face interview helps the researcher to gather additional information from non verbal cues such as facial expressions, tone and other gestures (Walther and Kyle 2001; Himmelfarb and Carl 1982). These add to the value of the data collected. Meeting all the participants despite the being within close proximity was a challenge. Organizing 14 interviews needed a lot of planning and replanning and also consumed a lot of time. This delayed completion of research as explained by Hochstim (1962). However, these challenges were overcome by a through prior planning and preparation as explained by Hox and de Leeuw (1994) and Cannell, Peter and Lois (1981).

Two data collection tools were identified for this type of study. The first one was a questionnaire with similar questions for all participants. The decision to have one questionnaire for all was not only to reveal quality information but also helped to avoid inconsistencies. To avoid perceptive differences, the questions were asked in a similar manner for all participants. Furthermore, the questionnaire combined both open ended as well as close ended question. As Brace (2008) explains open ended questions were designed to generate open and additional information, one of the purposes of this study. Closed ended question was designed to only reveal person details. The second survey tool used for this survey was an interview scheduled (Kumar 2005). The importance of an interview schedule was to be used as a guide to ensure proper protocol was followed during the interview. In was also easier to ensure that no repetition on the same question while ensuring that all the main topics were covered during all interviews (Kumar 2005).

Target population

A total of ten (14) managers at the middle as well as top level management positions were identified for survey. 7 males and 7 females were interviewed through face to face method. All the 14 participants either were employees of Westbury Hotel Dublin or Croke Park Hotel. Both hotels are located in Dublin so it was very easy to locate the participants and place face to face interviews. Because this paper is for public consumption, there is need to protect the identity of all the participants. This is done to maintain the information they give since it is volunteered in confidence. This is one of basic research ethics (Kimmel 1988). Confidentiality is maintained by the fact that all the participants were allocated false identities such as Participant 1 to Participant 14 followed by either letter M or F. F represent female while M represents male. As such if Participant 4 is male, he will be referred to as Participant 4 M. All the participants have previous experience in the hospitality industry, with some having experience outside the industry (Participant 1 M has previous experience in the banking industry). Not all participants revealed their actual positions but data from those who revealed show hat they worked in an array of departments ranging from human resource management, general mangers, deputy to general manger, Manager Assistant in Conference and Banqueting, Assistant manager, Wild restaurant, Middle management (Gallery, Lobby) and Middle management (conference & banqueting. As mentioned before, all these participants had previous experience in hotel and other industries and as such might have had an experience with the glass ceiling phenomena. This makes them desirable population for this study.


The literature review reveals that the glass ceiling is real and that it does exists in modern day business world. Research reveals that women in the hospitality industry are also victims of the glass ceiling phenomena. However, there is no data to show the extent at which the glass ceiling affects women advancement to the middle and senior level management positions in the hotel industry (Kvale 1983). To provide answers for the thesis question the qualitative type of research method was chosen due to the nature of the study. Face to face interview in particular was used to overcome a number of challenges as well as other added benefits. The study also targeted fourteen (14) middle level as well as senior level managers for the interviews the results of which are analyzed in the chapter that follows.



The purpose of this chapter is to present a detailed summary of the findings. Later the findings are interpreted in a discussion that follows, which also attempts to interpret the findings. As such the chapter is divided into two main parts: the detailed summary of the findings and the discussion. A brief description of the nature of the hotel industry is presented as a precursor to the findings. This is intended to give a reader a brief insight of the industry in relation to the findings that are to follow. Finally a conclusion to the chapter is offered.

Basic characteristic of the hotel industry

Extensive research reveals that the hotel industry is very demanding (Mullins 2001). This is because the job is dynamic as it is within the larger service industry (Klidas et al. 2007), which is basically offers intangible products thus the emphasis on employees who can make beneficial relationships (Lockyer 2007). This notion of the challenge of working in the hospitality industry was evident in responses of most of the participants in this study some of who said that the challenge is what made the job interesting. As such survival in this industry required certain personality traits.


Notions and attitudes of the participants about the industry

All the participants expressed their thoughts about the nature of the job in the hotel industry. Participants agreed that the nature of the job is very challenging. However, each of them had unique reasons as to why the job was challenging. Participant 1M argued that the hotel industry was more challenging to female than to male employees. He argues that it all depends on a number of factors but generally the reason why the job is challenging for women is due to the fact that women are generally afraid. A good number of participants agreed that the working in the hotel industry was challenging due to the dynamic nature of the job. These participants said that dynamism was brought about by the fact that they dealt with real people daily especially participant 9 F and 10 F who argued that the challenge was as a result of meeting and interacting with new people. Participant 14 F added to the dimension of meeting new people to managing them, the workers, as what made working in the hotel industry to be challenging. Participant 3M said that this made the job to be a constant challenge while participant 11 F said that the job is challenging since it is dynamic and involves making decision on your feet. This also makes it what makes it interesting. The dynamic nature of working in the hotel industry is captured by Participant 4 M who explains that the nature of hotel industry work does not require a hand book. To be successful, one has to think on their own feet and make prompt decisions as there are a lot of an-anticipated situations. This concept is also captured by Participant 13 M who argues that the work has no routine. From the responses of the participants two characteristics off the hotel industry emerge. One, the industry involves a lot of interactions and secondly, the nature of the job is challenging due to its dynamism.

Awareness of the glass ceiling

One of the primary aims of this study was to test the awareness of the glass ceiling as well as the attitude, regarding the same, by middle and senior level managers in the hotel industry. Surprisingly more women than men were unaware of the glass ceiling phenomena. Most of the women had not heard of the glass ceiling phenomena before, while those who knew about it only had heard about it before hand. Only two of the female participants, participant 10 F had read about it before hand, while Participant 2 F had read few articles about it. However, most of the participant who were male had heard about it before hand. However, participant 10 M had not heard about the glass ceiling phenomena while Participant 1 M was not familiar with the phenomena, meaning that he had not heard about it before. So was Participant 8 M who said the he was not familiar with the glass ceiling.

For the purposes of this study the following definition of the glass ceiling was used: “those invisible, culturally embedded assumptions and beliefs about the skills and competencies of women that prevent their advancement into top management positions” (Elacqua et al. 2009). Only one of the participants, Participant 7 M, showed a clear understanding of the phenomena. He defined it as “The invisible barrier for mostly, women”. After asking the participants about their awareness of the phenomenon, the definition above was presented to them to give them an idea of what the glass phenomenon was all about. All the participants whether they were aware of the phenomena or not agreed to the definition. All the participants unanimously agreed that there were a higher number of men who occupied middle level as well as senior level management positions in the hotel industries than women.

Gender and social roles

Glasius, Anheier and Kaldor (2006) define gender as the two sexes, male and female within the context of defining the society. Hesse-Biber, and Carger, (2000) adds that gender is determined by societal roles while World Health Organization (2002) stipulates that each society assigns men and women different roles. These roles are assigned to men and women in line with each of their social behaviors and suitabilities. The definition above means that gender is synonymous with either being male or female and that it is also closely connected to social roles. This view is capture by Participant 2 F who argues that gender affects career progress “especially in some countries where there is a strong culture with gender barriers affecting and neglecting those who are females”. She also “believes as well that because of the usual responsibilities that women have, they are seen as less capable of undertaken general/top management positions within the hotel industry as they require long working hour.” Participant 1 M sees gender and career progress as a complicated matter and the extent to which gender influences career progress depends on many factors. These factors include the job positions, the role of particular gender and responsibilities they hold. He argues that men are “suitable for top management positions and women are more suitable as middle managers.” Participant 4 M feel that gender is not a determinant, (a view that is also shared by Participants 6 F and Participant 7M) but that many employers force it. Participant thus brings in the notion that corporate cultures are gender biased. This notion is shared by many other participants who argue that women are discriminated or not favored due to gender based biases. Participant 13 M who argues that women are victimized, while Participant 12 M and Participant 9 F add that women gender roles play a role in career progress. Participant 14 F agrees to the fact that women are not favored and add that men are favored due to their gender, a view shared by participant 13 M. Participant 12 M add that women are held back by the different family roles and. Most of the participant concur that women are held back due to the family roles they play (as care takers). However, all these views are refuted by Participant 6 F who argues that gender does not play a role and explains that both men and women have equal skills and qualification. Thus, the findings above reveal that hotel industry workers view gender as an influencer, and particularly the social roles that women play.

The influence of Personality

According to participant 13 M, Personality plays a significant role in the development of ones career. He explains that other than personality favouring promotion, most men working in this industry have the right personalities for the job. He attributes his personality (competitive and passionate) for rapid career growth. Participant 4 M takes a different perspective and argues that personality can only affect career growth in this industry depending on the type of employer one is working for. He argues that his previous employer preferred a submissive rather than free willed and independent personality. Hardworking is one of the most consistent personality traits, and so is passion for work as well as goal orientedness. Another of the common career enhancing personality traits is competitiveness, as exhibited by participants 3 M, 4 M and 11 F. Personality is important for career success because some of the participants had to change personality to fit in the industry. Participant 2 F had to “learn o be less spontaneous and sincere with her statements.” Participant 4 M had to learn to be submissive to fit in a certain hotel, while participant 11 F had to “adopt a competitive attitude after college.” Furthermore the certain personality traits such being too emotional and having too much attachment to family does hinder career advancement can affect ones career progress. Impatience was also cited by a majority of the participants as a personality weakness, though none of the participants connected it to career progress. Thus personality bears heavily on career development.

The description of the findings above is just a summary of the main findings. Details of the findings are appended as appendixes. From this summary, there are three major conclusions that can be arrived. Working in the hotel industry is a challenging experience. The challenge is due to a number of reasons: the dynamic nature and having to interact with new people every day being one of the major challenges. It can also be concluded that not all of the participants are aware of the glass ceiling. The most surprising finding is that more women than men are unaware of the glass ceiling yet the study clearly shows that they are the most affected. Gender and social role, as well as Personality play a big part in determining career advancement especially by women. Therefore, from this study the hotel industry is experiencing the glass ceiling.


So far relevant literature on the glass ceiling has been presented in the preceding chapters. Furthermore, the literature review in this paper hypothesizes sufficiently that the social roles that women play in the society influences negatively women’s career growth. The social role theory is discussed in respect to how it bears on personality formation, the career strategies of women and the corporate attitudes and regarding employees in terms of gender. After the research was done the findings are also summarized and presented in the first part of this chapter. The purpose of this discussion is to discuss the findings Vis a Vis the glass ceiling phenomena. This phenomenon will focus on three main areas: personality and career advancement, career growth strategies and the corporate gender biases. All these three will be viewed in light of the social roles theory. To begin the discussion the glass ceiling is viewed in light of the findings of this research.

The glass ceiling phenomena

Elacqua et al. (2009) definition of the glass ceiling as “those invisible, culturally embedded assumptions and beliefs about the skills and competencies of women that prevent their advancement into top management positions” was chosen as the working definition for his study. From the findings, this definition was captured in the following manner. Elacqua et al. (2009) concept of the glass ceiling being culturally embedded beliefs and assumption that hindered advancement of career to top management positions was reflected in some of the responses. Participant 1 M argues that women are generally fearful to advance their career being middle management and as such this obscures their career growth. Participant 2 F says that many societies think that the industry is suitable for male worker and as such the reason for the slow growth and development of career s by women. This is also captured by Participant 9 F who argues that there is a notion that men are better managers than women. Elacqua et al. (2009) continues to argue that these beliefs and assumptions are seen in terms of skills and competences that are gender based a notion that Participant 11 F identifies with and feels that there is notion that women do not have the relevant skills. Participant 1 M says that women lack in confidence skills necessary for top management positions in this industry, while Participant 6 F refutes this assertion by arguing that both men and women have equal skills. From these findings thus, there are existing notions and attitudes about skills and competences about women that slow their advancement to top positions in the hotel industry. Essential skills, which most participants see women as lacking, play part in the career development in the hotel industry. Therefore, the glass ceiling phenomena is felt in this industry.

There is a discrepancy that arises from the awareness of the term glass ceiling and the notion that there are barriers that slow women career growth. Only one of the participants, 7 M, showed awareness to the definition. Many other participants Even though portrayed lack of knowledge of the existence of the glass ceiling however acknowledge that there were barriers that hindered women career growth. Therefore, there is very little awareness of the glass ceiling phenomenon within the hotel industry but a wide awareness of the barriers. This results from the face that participants did not associate the term ‘glass ceiling’ and the barriers that women face, thus the limited awareness.

Gender roles and career progress

There are two types of genders: male and female. Each of these genders has prescribed roles that each plays in the society. Women have more domestic roles such as taking care of their families as mother and wives. These roles have a negative influence on women career growth (Deustch 2007). This assertion is voiced by many of the participants who argue that family roles greatly slow the growth of women career in the hotel industry. All participants unanimously agreed that women have demanding family roles and as such it is very hard to balance family life and the demanding nature of hotel industry jobs. This notions are clearly captured by Participant 2 F who argues that “women where working within the hospitality industry but as a front line staff. Only in the housekeeper department is where you could see a female manager. This is a phenomenon that has happened in every industry, but may be the progress in the hospitality industry is slower due to the unsocial working hours and the impossibility of coordinating it with the female’s family life style (children, creche’s hours,etc)”. Participant 6 F adds that women have to be prepared for motherhood, thus the slow growth for their careers. This means that because socially, women have traditionally played domestic roles which have to do with house work, they are thus relegated to such junior positions as house keeping (Cahill 1986). Suffice to say that it is not gender that affects women progress but the gender based social roles. Therefore, within the hotel industry gender social roles prevent the advancement of women into middle and senior management positions.

Social roles and personality and career strategies

Seymour (1999) explains that societies shape both men and women to adapt different behaviors which invariably help in the formation of their respective personalities. Boys are socialized in a way that they develop competitiveness and competence (Newman and Newman 2008). This view is shared by Participant 13 M, who argues that personality plays a significant role in the development of ones career. He explains that other than personality favouring promotion, most men working in this industry have the right personalities for the job. Participant 13M, 3M, 4M 14 F and 11F attribute competitiveness for rapid career growth. Two out of the five the participants mentioned in this regard to competitiveness is female, a personality attribute that can possibly be attributed to her rise to Human resource manager (Participant 11 F) and general management (participant 14 F). Most of the female participants in this survey see their career related personality traits in terms of hard work, openness, sociability, compassion and passionate. Oakley (2000) argues that these personality traits are suitable for people who are interested in making relationships than taking leadership positions. As such in the hotel industry, it can be seen that women do lack the right personality traits such as competiveness necessary for rise to middle and senior level management positions.

Personality thus becomes important as part of career growth strategy. Existing literature reveal that due to their social roles, women generally develop certain personality traits, such as learning how to be accommodating and as such accommodate family into their careers (Major 1989). How well career fits into family becomes the career strategy family for most women in this industry. This is reflected in the fact that most of the participants argued that women are held back due to their demanding family lives. This implies that women hold family above career. Furthermore, some of the female participants such as Participant 6 F argue that women have to prepare for motherhood at the expense of their careers. She also argues that the industry is more suitable for women since women are more accommodating. However, to advance to top positions women have had to make personality changes. Participant 2 F career strategy involved learning to “be less spontaneous and be sincere with her statements.” This means adopting a more controlling attitude a reason why she possibly rose to Middle management. Furthermore the certain personality traits such being too emotional, which is associated with women due to their social role, and having too much attachment to family does hinder career advancement has affected women’s career progress. As such, women occupation of middle and senior level management in this industry has been slowed down because of their career strategies, which are heavily linked to their personalities. Since women are too accommodating that they sacrifice career for family.

Attitude about gender at the corporate level

Most of the corporate leaders have a subconscious gender bias against women because they see women not to posses the right characteristics. A study by The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission found out that women went through more interviews during the recruitment exercise, an exercise that asserts the notion that most of hiring managers see women as not as fit as men to occupy certain position in their firms (The Federal Glass Commission 1995). Despite Participant 6 F’s assertion that women and men have equal skills and capabilities, this revelation asserts that women are discriminated in the hiring as well promotions exercises. Participant 4 M feels that gender should not play a role in determining career progress but unfortunately many employers still hire and promote along gender lines. Participant 2 F explains that in some countries, women are seen as less capable of undertaken general/top management positions within the hotel industry as they require long working hour, while Participant 14 F agrees to the fact that women are not favored and adds that men are favored due to their gender, a view shared by participant 13 M. this view of gender favoritism is explained in detail by Judge and Locke (1993) who argues that what comes to mind when the phrase ‘ideal career candidate’ is mentioned to most of these managers is a white male.


Within the hotel industry, the glass ceiling phenomena is real. This is seen as the barrier created by the social roles that women play in the society. These roles determine women career progress in a number of ways: social roles influence the development as well as mal-development of certain personality traits that are either useful or detrimental in advancing to middle and senor management positions. Due to personality traits induced by social roles women career progress strategies do not guarantee an easy path to middles and top management positions. Furthermore, most of the corporate leaders have a subconscious gender bias against women because they see women not to posses the right characteristics. All these variables considered, the hotel industry is thus experiencing the glass ceiling phenomena.

Conclusions and recommendations for future studies


The purpose of this study was to evaluate Women and Glass Ceiling in the Hospitality Industry, and whether women have a chance to succeed in top positions, middle and senior management. To supply this broad hypothesis with answers the following thesis question was posed: how do social roles influence the occupation, by women, of middle and senior level management positions in the hotel industry. Further, the thesis question was further broken down into four questions that dealt with awareness of the glass ceiling, the accrual social roles that women play and the bearing of the social roles on women’s career progress and career strategy. Furthermore, the corporate leadership was also found to have gender based biases against women. A literature review is offer in chapters two and three on the nature of the glass ceiling phenomena and the bearing of the social roles theory.

Despite the fact that the study was evaluating the chances of women in middle and top management positions in the hotel industry, the researcher targeted both male and female participants to get views from both genders. A total of fourteen (14) participants were targeted, seven from each of the two genders. The study aimed at gathering first hand information from experienced people and as such targeted employees of two hotels, namely Westbury Hotel Dublin and Croke Park Hotel, both from Doyle Collection Group. The two hotels are luxury hotels and employees from these hotels have vast experience in this industry. Because the researcher was an employee at Westbury, choosing the two hotels was justified because it would facilitate face to face interview, the most preferred method of interviewing for researcher purposes. The fact that the study was qualitative in nature further justified face to face interviews. A working definition of the glass ceiling was offered.

Within the findings it can be concluded that the glass ceiling is felt in the hotel industry. Social roles do have a heavy bearing on the rate as well as the level at which women progress in this industry. It was found out that the occupation of the middle and top management position by women in the hotel industry affected due to notions associated with the social roles they play in the society. The traditional role of women as child bearer, rearers and caretakers has had negatives implications on women’s career progress. This family responsibility is demanding and as such women have been required to spend much of the time taking of their families. As such, they accommodate career in family life, this becomes part of their career strategy. Family roles also lead women to develop certain personality traits as hard work, openness, sociability, compassion and passionate, traits that Oakley (2000) says are not suitable for top management positions. The findings also reveal that most of the women in the hotel industry lack certain personality traits such as competitiveness, a trait that Seymour (1999) argues is vital for success in middle and top management positions.

These findings have implications. Women career prospect are largely influenced by the implications of the gender based social roles. As explained by Birgit (2007) women have to make a choice in regard to their careers. To progress faster rate as men women have choices regarding family to make. This notion is reflected by Participant 2 F who said that she has had to “sacrificing her personal and social life, all this way in order to prosper in her career.” It thus means that women have to make sacrifices where family is concerned and choose career pursuits over family. This however, does not mean that women have to reject family roles in totality. Women have to device ways of balancing career and family, rather than accommodating career into their busy and demanding family lives. This however, may not guarantee total victory over barriers that they face due to the fact that there are other factors that come into play as identified in the literature review. Within the literature review, a number of gaps were identified. While it was impossible to address all the gaps sufficiently these gaps provide opportunities for future studies.

Recommendations for future studies

The literature review identified certain gaps that exist within the existing literature in regard to the glass ceiling. However, the only gap that was addresses sufficiently was the reason why women career progress in the hotel industry is still lagging. These reasons were examined Vis a Vis the social roles that women play in the society. However, there are other perspectives that the glass ceiling that can be examine in the hotel industry. Such perspectives include the awareness and perception of the glass ceiling amongst the women in this industry. This is in regard to the findings which reveal that some women are not aware of thus phenomena. As such future studies should evaluate how the awareness and perception of the glass ceiling phenomena affect the advancement of women career in the industry. Furthermore, this was just an exploratory qualitative data that only utilized qualitative data. A detailed quantitative study should be attempted to come up with statistic regarding the phenomena. This study, even though focusing on women also gathered data from men on the glass ceiling. Taking this consideration along the definition given by the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission that the glass ceiling is the barriers that have blocked the advancement of women as well as the success of minority men, further studies should be conducted on the effects of glass ceiling on minority men in the industry. The study’s target audience constituted men and women from two hotels in Dublin. Despite these being international luxury hotel the findings cannot be taken to totally conclusive, thus a study should be conducted, but with participants from as many hotels in different parts of the world. This will give the study a wider reach. Finally, study targeted women in top and middle management positions and ignored the input of women in junior positions. Their input is equally important and as such studies should be conducted to evaluate the awareness and influence of the glass ceiling on their career growth.


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