From NY Times (thank you Oliver!):
Two British academics took 83 businesspeople — roughly half of them women — and described to them two companies, one that was steadily improving in profitability and an-other that was steadily declining. The subjects were told to pick a new financial director for the firm and were presented with three candidates: a man and a woman who were identical in experience and a lesser-qualified male. The subjects were slightly more likely to pick a man to lead the successful firm but were far more likely to pick the woman to lead the failing one. Two other experiments with similar designs yielded the same result: When presented with men and women to lead a company that’s going down the tubes, people pick the woman…… The theory has some historical evidence to back it up too. When the academics examined the performance of the 100 biggest firms in Britain, they found that women were disproportionately hired as C.E.O.’s only after their firms had been struggling for years. When firms were doing well, they rarely appointed women to lead. Ryan and Haslam say the data also suggest the glass cliff applies to minorities. When you consider this year’s American presidential election, the glass-cliff theory becomes particularly tantalizing — because it might neatly explain the rise of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Perhaps it was only during extremely hard times that America would finally consider a woman and a black man for the highest office.