Challenge

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How Does Risk Tax for Women and Minority Leaders Determine Promotions?

Do women and racial/ethnic minority leaders pay a risk tax on their way to the top? Theories of the glass cliff have focused on the penalties imposed upon women and minority leaders due to bias and discrimination at the time of appointment to top leadership positions. Much less attention has focused on the strategic agency these leaders exercise in response to bias across the career.
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Nature and Context

By analyzing the choices, decisions, and priorities of white women and people of color that, across the career, result in their appointment to glass cliff positions, we can discover what kind of risk tax women face on their way to the top. Findings suggest that rather than isolated instances of high-risk promotions, glass cliff appointments represent the culmination of a long-term career strategy centered on risk and risk-taking. Evidence shows that these leaders pay a significant risk tax in order to achieve upward mobility in their organizations.

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