Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies


According to the interviews with successful women in nationally and internationally renowned companies/organizations in the sports world, there were ten concepts discussed most frequently in reference to how women succeed in this particular male-dominated field. Six of these ten concepts correlated to hindrances that impede women from breaking the glass ceiling in other nontraditional careers, while the remaining four concepts were unique to the sports field. In fact, a study conducted in The New Leaders and supported by a combination of other studies commisssioned by the Executive Leadership Council on driving and restraining forces for black senior executives (Baskerville and Tucker, 1991); a study conducted by Catalyst (1990) on career barriers for women in management; and research by the US Department of Labor (1991) for the "glass ceiling initiative", revealed six barriers considered most important to the advancement of women. These barriers are:

  1. Prejudice: treating differences as weaknesses
  2. Poor career planning
  3. A lonely, hostile, unsupportive working environment for nontraditional managers
  4. Lack of organizational savvy on the part of nontraditional managers
  5. Greater comfort in dealing with one's own kind
  6. Difficulty in balancing career and family (Morrison, 34).
Two of these six barriers correspond to the barriers mentioned by the interviewees regarding advancement of women in the sports field. The first of these parallels includes "Greater comfort in dealing with one's own kind" to "Status as a former athlete". As examined in the analysis section, those women with former athlete status had the credibility necessity to advance to greater leadership positions in the company more so than those having the same experience. In the sports field, there exists a great population of former male athletes. Hence the correlation of sports leadership as a predominantly male field. In actuality, the proposed correlation between athletic ability and cognitive leadership skills is ludicrous and unjustified. Yet this barrier is highly visible in both the sports field as well as other nontraditional fields. The second parallel between barriers in both the former and latter fields is that of "Prejudice: treating differences as weaknesses" to "Societal Changes". Women's leadership styles of abilities should not be treated as weaknesses simply because they differ from mens'. Until society accepts women's sports and thus, women leaders in corporate sport organizations, prejudice will remain in the sports field as an entity. "There is strength in a diversity of leadership styles" (Rosener, 121). Therefore, women will have sharper tools to break the glass ceiling if differences are viewed as strengths versus weaknesses.