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ERIC Number: ED557638
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 185
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3039-9393-0
Examining the Experiences, Perceptions, and Challenges of Women Leaders in Private, Nonprofit Universities
Cox, Barbara Jean
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of La Verne
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to interview women presidents and leaders in private, nonprofit universities regarding commonalities of perceptions and experiences in the leadership role, to examine the meaning of reactive behavior in the perceptions about their role, how they react or behave in their role, and if they perceived gender prejudice. Methodology: Using a phenomenological approach (Groenewald, 2004), this exploratory, qualitative study examined the lived experiences of the seven women leaders, focusing on the commonalities of their perceptions and experiences in the role as leader, if they perceived and experienced gender prejudice and identity issues, and their reactive behaviors. Data were gathered on individual campuses in face-to-face interviews and telephone interviews with the seven women leaders who held the position of president, provost, or vice president. Data provided implications for future female presidents and women leaders, boards of trustees, search firms, future leaders, and other scholars. Findings: The four themes emerging from the data described commonalities in the participants' perceptions of their experiences as women leaders in private, nonprofit higher universities. The themes included (a) gender prejudice and identity issues, (b) the leadership role for women and difficulties in the role, (c) role congruity of prejudice, and (d) work-life balance issues. All four themes were represented in responses from all of the seven participants and provided insight into the women's perception of their experiences as women leaders in private, nonprofit universities. Conclusions: Most critical to this study was the understanding that gender prejudice continues to exist for women in the private, nonprofit higher education environment and influences women leaders in the environment. Boards of trustees hire and influence the choice and gender preference of president and leadership in private, nonprofit higher educational organizations. Their influence is key to creating greater leadership opportunities for women in higher education. Recommendations: This study may create an opportunity for private, nonprofit universities to create greater opportunities for women who aspire to greater leadership positions, to acknowledge gender prejudice prevails and influences women's ascendency to leadership positions. The focus should be on diversity on board of trustees, presidential accessibility and leadership opportunities for women, and relationship-building opportunities for female leaders inside the university and across the private, nonprofit higher education institutions. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A