Emerging leadership styles: Women's success strategy in engineering organizations and the new management paradigm

by Marques, Vanda C., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2011, 154 pages; 3454093


This dissertation is a phenomenological qualitative study which explored and analyzed the experiences of 10 women engineers holding management positions in male-dominated engineering organizations. The data analysis revealed insightful information on the obstacles faced by the participants, their success strategies and predominant leadership styles. The themes that emerged from this study highlighted the obstacles, and organizational cultural factors affecting women's ability to become leaders in engineering organizations and the strategies used to overcome those obstacles. The analysis of the data revealed that in spite of their academic achievements, high performance, transformational leadership style and technical acumen, gender stereotypes and organizational culture continue to contribute to the under representation of qualified women engineers in management positions. The participants noted various strategies that helped them succeed: (a) overachieve and deliver on time, (b) expand experience base and knowledge by welcoming challenges and assignments outside of comfort zone, (c) team player and respectful of others, (d) build a reputation for being competent and assertive, (e) mentoring, and (f) develop a career plan and communicate it with others that can help you get there. This phenomenological study contributed to the existing body of existing knowledge, from which other women, organizational leaders and researchers can draw from. Organizational leaders have much to gain from this study on designing and implementing strategies that will foster the advancement of women in engineering. This study will also provide women engineers some guidelines on success factors to thrive in a male-dominated engineering environment.

AdviserJohnny Morris
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Engineering; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3454093

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