Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Place of Publication

Perth, Western Australia


Smith, C., & Still, L. (1997). Breaking the glass border: barriers to global careers for women managers. Perth, Australia: Edith Cowan University.


The identification and placement of managers who can meet the business challenges at both local and international level is critical to the success of a company's overseas operations. North American and British research shows that, while organisations may be prepared to promote women into their domestic managerial hierarchy, few women currently have access to international careers through expatriate management appointments. This report describes an investigation of the selection, placement and management development by Australian organisations of women for international managerial assignments. Interest in this topic arose from the outcomes of the Industry Task Force on Leadership and Management Skills (1995), known as the Karpin Report. This suggested, amongst other things, that Australian organisations should develop international managers. The study aimed to identify barriers to women managers' global placements, which constitute a "glass border". It sought to provide information for human resource managers on processes and actions necessary for utilising the total workforce efficiently and effectively. The research was conducted by questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews.