Factors That Affect The Success Of Women Administrators In Higher Education
Farley, Penelope Gillian
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Since the 1970s women have clearly made great advances toward equality in education and in the resultant employment opportunities afforded by an excellent education. Today women are graduating from universities at a rate unparalleled in history (Mitchell 2012:56; Townsend & Twombly 2007:208), and are also entering management positions at a greater rate than we have ever seen (Cejda 2008:172). While the rate of women university graduates taking up entry level management positions is almost on a par with men (Bosak & Sczesny 2011:254), the rate of women professionals who move into senior management positions decreases as the position becomes more senior until, at the highest level management positions, women hold only between 3% and 5% of the top posts. (Mitchell 2012:56). Through the analysis of in depth interviews of women holding higher level management positions (including President, Chancellor, or Vice Chancellor,) at universities in four different English speaking countries, the study sought to investigate the reasons why there are so few women found in top management positions in universities. The results of the study indicate that the factors having the greatest effect on the success of women managers at university are those of identity; being able to overcome academic bullying in the workplace; having key support at critical times, especially from a spouse or from family; and developing the strategies to overcome career obstacles through the use of metacognition. The study also found that informal, multiple, mixed gender mentoring was the most effective type of mentoring for women. As a result of the study findings, new theory is proposed for advancement of women managers that offers the concept of identity as a lynchpin factor. Identity develops concurrently with sets of personal and management skills that are interwoven into the experiences of women as they work in management.
PhD in Education