Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Terrence A. Tollefson

Committee Members

Jasmine R. Renner, Kathryn K. Franklin, Yousif A. Elhindi


This qualitative case study was designed to determine the perceptions about female leadership among female faculty and administrators at East Tennessee State University. Participants were asked about the motivating and prohibiting factors (barriers) that affected their leadership capabilities at the institution. They cited motivating factors that led them to optimal performance. These included family support, mentoring practices, affirmative action, collegial working atmosphere, support from the top leadership, and encouragement from their colleagues. The dissertation was also to investigate how female leaders perceived their leadership roles and the factors that enhanced female leadership and the barriers that hindered female leadership at ETSU.

The women in this study talked about the impediments or barriers of their upward movement. These included salaries that were lower than those of their male colleagues, stereotyped thinking within the community with biases against females, family chores vis-à-vis work schedules, sexual discrimination, lack of role models, etc. The findings were: (a) Female leadership was uniquely relationship-oriented; (b) female leaders combined work and family and managed the two fairly well; (c) female leaders were more likely to mentor other women but also were often mentored by men; (d) female leaders worked at a more relaxed pace with details in mind and did not have the target of the big picture as a priority; (e) they worked hard to attain the positions previously held by men and are now at par in higher positions both in faculty and administration; (f) they worked hard to surmount the barriers placed in their way as they moved up the ladder in faculty and administrative positions; (g) they volunteered for positions in the staff and faculty senates without considering financial gains; (h) they were the majority in the lower ranks of the administrative ladder of the university and played crucial supportive roles; and (i) their leadership styles were more humanitarian and on the relationship philosophy than were the leadership styles of their male counterparts.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.