This phenomenological study was an examination of the lived experiences of 14 female military leaders serving in the armed forces. A purposive small sample of 14 Army women, between the ages of 27-64, completed a leadership autobiography about their military leadership lived experience. At least $10-$15 billion is spent annually on leadership development in the United States, and human resource executives claim developing leaders is their number 1 priority over the next 5 years. However, only 1% of the 1.3 million soldiers are female leaders. The problem addressed by this study is that women still face numerous obstacles and must overcome barriers to attain and remain in high ranking military leadership positions Women are still underrepresented in leadership positions and men hold the majority of higher positions. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the gender-specific lived experiences of women in obtaining and retaining military leadership positions, as well as their strategies for overcoming barriers. The service member participants were subsequently interviewed about their leadership skills experiences while serving in the Army. Four primary themes emerged and outlined that to pursue leadership, women needed administrative support, gender-to-gender mentorship, and professional development opportunities. To successfully gain leadership positions they needed specific personal and professional qualities, namely effective leadership style, emotional intelligence, outstanding professional work ethic, and resilience, as well as social capital accumulated through strong interpersonal skills, excellent conflict resolution skills, and diverse alliances; female leaders must take risks, be high achievers, and be persistent, resilient, assertive, self-conscious decision-makers, and have effective people management skills to retain their positions. This study offers development opportunities for the armed forces to integrate revised approaches in their leadership development initiatives. Further research should focus on how feminine traits can contribute to the transformation of leadership practices in the military and other male-dominated workplaces. As evidenced by the literature, it is wise to investigate the progression of female leadership to identify and develop future female leaders in the military.
|Commitee:||Comi, Donald, Jenkins, Chris|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Organization Theory, Womens studies, Military studies|
|Keywords:||Lived experiences, Transformational, Female leaders|
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