Despite a substantial disparity between the levels of professional success achieved by women as compared to men, many women achieve professional success in their fields. This study utilizes thematic analysis of in-depth interviews to explore the life experiences of a sample of eight professional women. The questions that guided this research were (1) How are early relationships related to women’s capacity to envision a professional future and to utilize mentoring relationships? and (2) What are the factors that contribute to women’s success? The interviews were conducted and analyzed using a narrative approach. Eight consistent themes were identified in the lives of these women that contributed to their career success. These themes are the experience of attunement, esteem-building messages, sources of inspiration, challenges that were overcome and that promoted increased-self-esteem, notable personal qualities, a clear career path, and success defined in terms of contribution to others. Furthermore, mentoring and early relationships played an important role in these women’s success, and the quality of early relationships was found to have shaped the kind of mentoring experienced as helpful. In particular, attunement and empathy in a mentor were essential. Interestingly, good mentors were not found to be gender specific.
|Advisor:||Osherson, Samuel D.|
|Commitee:||Josselson, Ruthellen, Nelson, Annabelle, Orange, Donna|
|School:||Fielding Graduate University|
|Department:||The School of Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Womens studies, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Attunement, Career success, Intersubjectivity, Mentoring, Narrative approach, Women|
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