Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Impact of Race and Gender on African American Women's Leadership Attainment
by Clarke, Marsha Bernadette, Ph.D., Capella University, 2019, 147; 13886881
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this qualitative dissertation was to explore the intersectionality of race and gender for five African American women through lived experiences of their perceived barriers when climbing the ladder towards an executive leadership position in nonprofits. The research was designed to determine how the intersection of race and gender identities contributed to the hindrance of accession to executive level positions in nonprofit organizations. This study sought to understand the perception of the influence that sexism and racism have had on African American women undertaking the challenges as they near levels of authority in nonprofit organizations. A plethora of research highlights the role of men in leadership, yet women, specifically women of color, remain marginalized in the research. To date, little research has systematically investigated how leadership sensitivity differs for individuals with dual-subordinate identities (intersectionality). The research question for this study was what do African American women with dual-subordinate identities (intersectionality) on the East Coast metropolitan area perceive as factors that affected their leadership development and attainment when seeking executive positions in nonprofits. This dissertation employed qualitative, phenomenological methodology with data gathered from audio-recorded semistructured interviews that were transcribed and coded for emergent themes. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was utilized to determine the challenges and the obstacles (dual–subordinate identities) African American women encountered as they attempted to advance into positions equal to their abilities, interest, and a sense of purpose. Five themes emerged from this study: frustration from external/internal barriers and challenges, confident of being predestined for success, perplexed around the uncertainty of double jeopardy of race and gender, conscientious of their leadership styles, and authentically learning how to show up. The findings from this study expand on the limited literature that exists on the upward mobility of African American women executives in nonprofit organizations. The results have implications of positive social change by increasing awareness among nonprofit organizations of racial inequalities in the workplace. Such knowledge may, in turn, decrease workplace discrimination to foster a more conducive environment to support African American women’s trajectory to executive leadership positions in nonprofits. By making the issues of intersectionality for African American women more visible this research opens the door for the opportunity to discuss the topic and seek resolutions across nonprofit organizations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ward, Roger
Commitee:
School: Capella University
Department: School of Counseling and Human Services
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: African American Studies, Public administration
Keywords: Critical race theory, Dual bias, Intersectionality, Leadership, Nonprofit management
Publication Number: 13886881
ISBN: 978-1-392-21561-6
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