Female officers who achieved general officer status in the u.s. army: A multiple-case study of motivation and success strategies

by Dougherty, Judy S., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2014, 168 pages; 3617138


The problem of declining female general officer numbers adds to the lack of female role models and female mentors at the senior levels of the Army. Several scholarly articles have been written about the motivation and success strategies of women in various professions, but few have focused on female officers who achieved general officer status in the U.S. Army. The purpose of this study was to contribute to the knowledge base of scholars to better understand motivation and success strategies from the perspective of female U.S. Army general officers by filling that gap in the scholarly literature. The research question for this qualitative multiple-case study was What can be learned from a study of the motivation and success strategies used by female officers who achieved general officer status in the U.S. Army? The researcher purposefully selected participants who were identified as female, general officer, in the U.S. Army, and retired. The findings revealed that most of the female generals motivated by adventure and travel were the first to command or serve in operational assignments and were proficient at their craft despite isolation and sexual harassment. Few women preceded these women in the military who took the hard, aggressive leadership positions that made them competitive with their male peers as a success strategy. For second lieutenant up to colonel, promotion board members must vote based only on the officer's promotion file and cannot discuss the files or the officers being considered for promotion. For officer promotions to brigadier general and major general, promotion board members vote based on the promotion file and discussion about the officers being considered for promotion. Board members may be advocates, or speak on behalf of advocates, for officers being considered for promotion by the board in order to sway board votes. Further study into strategies of acquiring and then succeeding in high-risk assignments and making those feats known to senior leaders would benefit Army officers.

AdviserRubye Braye
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Gender studies; Military studies
Publication Number3617138

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