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Vol. 20 (2006 Spring)

Lock in on Coordinates: Mapping the Glass Ceiling with Career Women's Reflections on Power

  • Andrea Hornet
  • Rosemary Finn
June 21, 2017


In an attempt to solicit career advice for young women by interviewing experienced career women, this study discovered the location of the proverbial glass ceiling and revealed distinct types of power operating in organizations. The careers of the women participating in this study were circumscribed by conflicts. If they developed technical expertise as a mode of insulation, they escaped high conflict but remained on a technical career path without access to higher executive opportunities. If they pursued executive opportunities through general management positions, they were surrounded by high conflict and became career casualties in powerful threat systems. A review of the literature revealed that each of these systems is similar to a type in Boulding's (1989) theory of power.