Beyond the Glass Ceiling: Sport Management Students’ Perceptions of the Leadership Labyrinth

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Sport management undergraduate and graduate programs have gained popularity throughout the United States and around the world. Despite this, women are still underrepresented in sport leadership positions. Although women have made it to the highest levels of sport leadership roles, studies suggest that advancement to such roles is more challenging for women than for men. Extant literature examines perceptions of women employed in the sport industry but fails to consider perceptions of prospective employees, specifically women, with career aspirations in sport business. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate sport management students’ perceptions of barriers to women’s success and upward mobility in the sport industry using the Career Pathways Survey. Results suggest that female sport management students perceive barriers to advancement in the sport industry, whereas male students do not perceive that barriers exist for women. Practical implications for the sport management classroom include developing male advocates, gender diversity and inclusion in guest presentations, and intentional internship placement.

Hancock is with the University of Louisville, Louisville, KY. Darvin is with SUNY–Cortland, Cortland, NY. Walker is with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.

Hancock (meg.hancock@louisville.edu) is corresponding author.
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