The purpose of this study was to examine the existence and implications of relational aggression toward female educational administrators. This qualitative study examined the impacts of relational aggression toward ten female superintendents, their observations of relational aggression in the workplace, strategies to overcome relational aggression, and strategies to stop relational aggression. Interviews were conducted with ten female Superintendents. Questions were grouped in categories that included each Superintendent's personal experience with relational aggression, observations of relational aggression in the workplace, strategies implemented to overcome relational aggression, and strategies aimed at stopping relational aggression.
Results from this study found female superintendents have experienced relational aggression as well as observed it between their female staff. Relational aggressive acts were identified as social isolation, "junior high behavior," ignoring, yelling, lying, negative comments, verbal and non-verbal dismissals, rude behavior, excessive questioning of skills individually and in group settings, and mean spirited actions. These acts of relational aggression resulted in lower self confidence and esteem, isolation, questioning of self and skills, anger, sadness, depression, frustration, withdrawal, lowered self-worth, and self-doubt. Several strategies were described by the participants to address relational aggression including addressing the issues as they occurred, processing the issue before making quick decisions, addressing the issues face to face, being assertive and confrontational, telling others that you are not being treated fairly, ignoring it, avoiding it, and not getting involved in it. Perceived effectiveness of these strategies was difficult to determine. The impact of relational aggression toward women in education and educational administration is that relational aggression is a hindrance to women in education and educational administration. Relational aggression results in social isolation, feelings of self-doubt, a lowered self-esteem and confidence, depression, frustration, feelings of devastation, and questions of self worth. Relational aggression results in negative impacts on job performance.