Women are significantly underrepresented as administrators in higher education leadership. This qualitative study examined the leadership of department chairs at public research universities to better understand how their gender and other identities affected their leadership. The following research questions shaped the study: (1) How do department chairs perceive that their gender and other identities affect their leadership? (2) What do department chairs believe faculty members, students, and administration expect of their leadership? (3) How do department chairs believe others' expectations are related to the chairs' gender or other identities? (4) How do department chairs' perceptions of others' expectations affect their leadership performances? and (5) How do discursive framings of power affect department chairs' leadership? Data for this study were gathered from four women and four men department chairs at public research universities in the Midwestern United States. The data collection methods used included one day of observation with each department chair, focused interviews, follow-up interviews, and document review. The data analysis was conducted utilizing top down and bottom up coding which generated research findings in six areas: (1) perceptions of the effects of gender and other identities on leadership; (2) perceptions of leadership expectations; (3) effects of expectations on leadership performances; (4) definitions and expressions of power; (5) findings by gender composition of discipline/department; and (6) findings by institution. The theories of performativity and feminist poststructuralism were used as theoretical lenses to analyze and make meaning of the data. Discussion of the findings and implications for research, theory, and practice are provided.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. April 2014. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Rebecca Ropers-Huilman. 1 computer file (PDF); iii, 222 pages.
Gender, Performativity, and Leadership: Department Chairs in Research Universities.
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