Leadership and Identity In the Context of Ethical Dilemmas: A Study of Women In Higher Education Administration

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Leadership and Identity In the Context of Ethical Dilemmas: A Study of Women In Higher Education Administration

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2020-06

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Leaders in higher education are responsible for navigating a wide range of critical decisions and thorny administrative issues. Women in leadership often find that these decisions and issues are affected by both societal and personal factors. This study examines the extent to which aspects of leadership (leadership style, role, and social expectations) and aspects of identity (gender, race/ethnicity, age, educational attainment, socioeconomic status, work experience, sexual orientation, appearance, geographic background, religious/spiritual beliefs, marital status, caregiving status) play roles in women’s enactment of leadership while navigating ethical dilemmas. This study is based on twenty-four interviews with women in high-level administrative leadership roles at research universities, four-year colleges, and two-year colleges. Findings both support and complicate previous notions about the roles that one’s leadership style and specific aspects of identity play in the enactment of leadership. Findings suggest that there are particular challenges for leaders whose identities are used or weaponized against them, as participants described being subject to expectations that they would make decisions congruent with their visible identities in the context of ethical dilemmas. This study also illustrates ways in which women in administrative leadership roles frame ethical dilemmas.

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University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2020. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Melissa Anderson. 1 computer file (PDF); xiii, 324 pages.

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Himmerick, Jessica. (2020). Leadership and Identity In the Context of Ethical Dilemmas: A Study of Women In Higher Education Administration. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/216144.

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