Brown glass ceiling career inequalities? Empirical evidence from Samoans in New Zealand

Maulupeivao Betty Ofe-Grant

This study draws on qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted with a cohort comprising 31 Samoan CEOs and senior managers across various New Zealand industries to explore the phenomenon of a ‘brown glass ceiling’. The results reveal that Samoans encounter barriers in their career trajectories, hindering or stalling their progression into senior management roles. Our study indicates that cross-cultural differences in communication led to missed opportunities in addition to issues, such as racism, occupational segregation, and tokenism. Notably, some Samoan women experienced interracial and gender discrimination, particularly as afa-kasi (half-caste). Samoan career facilitators included mentorship from ‘white’ New Zealand Europeans, establishing future legacies, and a commitment to embracing their Samoan cultural identity. Our results have significant implications regarding how barriers to the glass ceiling shape and impact the careers of Samoans within New Zealand organisations. Consequently, our study contributes to the existing glass ceiling literature by incorporating insights from indigenous Samoans, who have received limited attention in glass ceiling and management research.

Research Type(s)
Journal Article
June 6, 2024
Published in

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