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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Underrepresentation of Women Executives in the United States Defense Industry: A Phenomenological Study
by Birch, Elizabeth Seton, D.B.A., University of Phoenix, 2013, 207; 3572921
Abstract (Summary)

This phenomenological study provided an exploration of the lived experiences of female executives in the United States defense industry working in the San Diego area to learn how they perceived their roles as senior leadership in a male-dominated profession. Thirteen female executives participated in semi-structured interviews where seven open-ended questions were posed. A modified van Kaam approach to data analysis involved an exploration of the participants’ responses to interview questions. Using NVivo 10, data were analyzed to identify themes. The results of this study indicated seven themes: (a) women in the defense industry attributed career success to experience, hard work, action-orientation, and a strong sense of self; (b), lack of diversity, experience and opportunity were perceived barriers to advancement of women in the defense industry; (c) success of women workers within the defense industry was related to their abilities to adapt to organizational and societal changes; (d) women recognized the entrenched issues related to gender in the defense industry; (e) women perceived an existence of general work opportunities, but less well-understood upwardly mobile leadership opportunities within the defense industry; (f) women in the defense industry described their leadership approach with terms consistent with a transformational leadership style; and (g) same-gender mentoring was reportedly absent, yet desired, by women in the defense industry. The study filled a gap in knowledge about and understanding of female executive leader experiences in the United States defense industry. The study culminated in recommendations for how leaders can apply the results and suggestions for further research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lawlor, Andrew
Commitee: Chambers, Joan, Hakim, Amy
School: University of Phoenix
Department: Business Administration
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Management, Labor relations
Keywords: Defense industry, Gender, Leadership, Social role theory, Women executives
Publication Number: 3572921
ISBN: 978-1-303-41210-3
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