NPR: Stanford’s Asian-American Leadership Programs Tackle The ‘Bamboo Ceiling’

Video: courtesy of Stanford Graduate School of Business

At 8Asians, we’ve blogged about Where Are the Asian CEOs?, Americans Expect Business Leaders to Be White, as well as Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) and their Advanced Leadership Program for Asian-American Executives, but it’s always nice to get more exposure to the issues of the “bamboo ceiling,” especially in a high profile piece on National Public Radio:

Buck_Gee_Stanford_GSB “”Why aren’t Asians demonstrating those behaviors to be considered to be ‘high potential leadership’ in US companies?” he asks. Specifically, Gee says, they look for assertiveness, initiative, influencing skills, comfort with conflict, customer-facing skills, risk-taking and confidence to disagree. … For any Asian-American leadership program, looking through a cultural lens is crucial, says Linda Akutagawa, CEO at Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. She says America’s corporate culture has been long favored one particular style of leadership over others. That dovetails with assumptions about what Asian-Americans are interested in and capable of, Akutagawa says, assumptions based on stereotypes that are three or four decades too old. There is “a bias that Asian-Americans aren’t leaders — we’re just worker bees and techies,” she says.”

The Stanford program is not cheap – $12,000 for five days – and is of course, intended for sponsored corporate executives and managers. In general, all business schools have executive programs and they are usually profit centers for those schools.

The gap in Asian American leadership is ironically very clear in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley in the tech industry, where Asians and Asian Americans make up over 50% of the workforce, yet not nearly as representative in the areas of upper management. This has been all the clearer with the recent disclosure by tech giants like Google, Facebook and others releasing the demographics of their U.S. workforce composition.

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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