Can women outdo the men? Book Review: ‘Through the Labyrinth: the truth about how women become leaders’ by Linda Carli and Alice Eagly

Posted on April 27, 2009. Filed under: Books, Human Rights | Tags: , , |


The days of ‘mens club’ leadership has dissipated somewhat, albeit still present. As this new paradigm is moving to the fore, so too is a whole new collateral industry developed with those willing to study, explain and profit from it. Not all of those that involve themselves with female leadership can be considered sucker fish at the gills of a large shark however. The present authors must be exluded from the latter and are to be commended for their work in the field and with this treatise.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that women in leadership was a concept that was chuckled at in the male dominated boardrooms across the world. But the most recent generational changes have seen a definite shift in the concept and reality of female leaders in positions of power and importance. It is now commonplace and accepted. It is, rightfully, more and more the norm.

Alice Eagley and Linda Carli are two psychologists and respected academics who have given much of their lives to the teaching of the psychology of gender and organisational psychology – especially sex differences in similarities in leadership. They apply their years of wisdom and experience here in this, their book, ‘Through the Labyrinth : The truth about how women become leaders’.
Their mooted metaphor change of a labyrinth (from the ‘glass ceiling’ methaphor) fits nicely with their arguments, summations and fascinating reccomendations that women must find their own individualistic style with a ‘twice as good’ as men approach to overcome the many natural obstacles, unfair stereotypes and discriminatory stigmas still attached to female advancement on the corporate ladder today.
The book acts as a tangible, comprehensive one stop shop on this important topic. It provides a commanding overview in compliment to the sometimes confusing plethora of materials inside the academia and outside that already exist in large number. Carli and Eagley quickly cut to the core of what leadership truly means and how different styles, context and settings can determine how female leadership rates in success when compared to their male counterparts under similar and dissimilar influencing properties.
While this work has a very academic and professional feel to it, it is still couched in terms and language that most of us can relate to. ‘Through the Labyrinth : The truth about how women become leaders’ should be read by everyone from policy makers, leadership coaches, students to lay people alike. This book would make a priceless addition to any local/municipal library, large public library or highly specialised library collection. It has our thumbs up for acquisition.

Table of Contents:

*Is there still a glass ceiling? *Where are the women leaders? *Are men natural leaders? *Do family responsibilities hold women back? *Is discrimination still a problem? *What is the psychology of prejudice toward female leaders? *Do people resist women’s leadership? *Do women lead differently from men? *Do organizations compromise women’s leadership? *How do some women find their way through the labyrinth? *How good are women leaders and what does their future hold? p>

Accolades: 2007 McKinsey Award winner

Linda Carli, speaks of the glass ceiling here in this podcast link

Amazon links:



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