Dr. Michelle Ryan of the University of Exeter is appointed on the Jantina Tammes Chair on gender issues in this academic year at the RUG. She spends two periods of six weeks at the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) as a visiting professor with the department of Human resource management and organizational behavior. Her Jantina Tammes Lecture on 1 November is on women at the top and how they often feel that they have been ‘set up to fail’.
Speaker: Michelle Ryan
Title: Balancing on the Edge. Women at the Top face a Glass Cliff
Series: Jantina Tammes Lecture
Date: Thursday 1 November 2007
Time: 8.00 - 9.30 p.m.
Location: Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
‘We are very proud to appoint Michelle Ryan to the Jantina Tammes chair,’ says Prof. Janka Stoker of the department. The Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change praises Ryan as an internationally renowned, excellent researcher in a very relevant field for organizations and society. ‘We have been cooperating very successfully for some time now and I have got to know her as a passionate and ambitious scientist. It is essential for our faculty to recruit this type of international academic and to define projects for cooperation, now and in the future. I am sure we will be hearing a lot of her, and it is quite special for the university to be involved in this development.’
FEB Visiting Professor
Ryan’s visiting professorship at the Faculty will mainly focus on joint research. In addition, she will give three lectures and act as visiting lecturer in the Bachelor’s module Behaviour in Organizations. Together with Prof. Janka Stoker and Dr Floor Rink she will conduct research into the so-called ‘glass cliff’ and how to cope with it. This research project – consisting of both experimental and field research – will result in a number of joint publications. Ryan’s second six-week period at the Faculty will be in summer 2008.
Lecture on ‘Glass Cliff’
What happens when women start to break through the glass ceiling and take on leadership roles? Research at Ryan's group at the University of Exeter suggests that women at the top may experience very different challenges from men. They may face a 'glass cliff', whereby women are more likely to be given precarious or risky leadership roles. While men are given safer and more secure jobs, women at all levels often feel that they have been ‘set up to fail’. They are asked to take on difficult jobs without being given enough information and tools to fulfil their roles. These precarious leadership positions are incredible stressful and may lead to the increasing number of women who are departing senior management positions.
Research into the precariousness of the glass cliff has examined appointments in top UK corporations, experiments in the lab, and interviews with women who have experienced glass cliff positions. The research has focused on documenting the existence of the phenomenon and understanding the psychological processes that contribute to the appointment of women to precarious positions, such as scapegoating, gender stereotyping, organizational strategy, and sexism.
Dr. Michelle Ryan is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at the University of Exeter, UK. She is a leading scholar in the field of gender discrimination in the workplace. She completed her PhD at the Australian National University examining gender differences in the self concept. She moved to the University of Exeter in 2003, where, together with her colleagues she has uncovered the phenomenon of the glass cliff. Her work on the glass cliff is represented in top academic journals (both management and psychology), industry publications, and has been followed in the media including BBC, CNN and all major British Newspapers.
Jantina Tammes and the Jantina Tammes Chair
After admitting Aletta Jacobs as the first female student in 1871, the University of Groningen appointed Dr. Marie Loke in 1907 as the first female lector in the Netherlands. After this, appointing the first female professor was just a matter of time. Indeed, in 1911 Dr. Jantina Tammes (1871-1947) was the first woman in the Netherlands to be nominated for such a position. It took until 1919 before she was appointed as professor. Jantina Tammes was famous for her research in biology, more specifically in genetics and botany.
Dr. Michelle Ryan is the 7th Jantina Tammes Professor at the University of Groningen (Faculty of Economics and Business). The Jantina Tammes Chair has been established in order to enable female visiting professors to do research with colleagues here, in the field of gender studies. Every Jantina Tammes Professor teaches classes for one semester, and gives a public lecture.
prof.dr. Janka Stoker, 050 363 3837 / 4288 (secretariat), email@example.com
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