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An exploration of leadership experiences among white women and women of color

Susan Key (Department of Management, Information Systems, and Quantitative Methods, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)
Samuel Popkin (Department of Management, Information Systems, and Quantitative Methods, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)
George Munchus (Department of Management, Information Systems, and Quantitative Methods, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)
Barbara Wech (Department of Management, Information Systems, and Quantitative Methods, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)
Vanessa Hill (Department of Management, Information Systems, Quantitative Methods, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA)
John Tanner (Department of Business Systems Analysis, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 18 May 2012

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Abstract

Purpose

The specific aims for this paper are to deal with the conflicting research findings associated with the factors that influence the success of female leaders while using race (African American) as the core variable in this paper.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review was done. An empirical survey was designed and pre‐tested for face validity, relevance, clarity of items, and ease of administration and response. Two versions of the survey were pilot tested with two focus groups.

Findings

The analysis centered on racial differences between Caucasian and African American female leaders. Chi‐square test was used for the primary original data, and t‐test for the mean subgroup scores obtained in Likert‐type items. The primary finding is that while Caucasian women and African American women face similar gender obstacles, the factors that determine their paths to success differ significantly.

Research limitations/implications

The present study provides an excellent starting point to infuse race into the gender equation model regarding female leaders in organizational enterprises. As the world of work becomes more gender and racially diverse, the implications are very important given the status of female leadership in a civil society.

Originality/value

The newness and novelty of this paper is the comparison between Caucasian and African American women leaders in the southern part of the USA. The value of this paper is the focus on the demographics of change given the history of gender and racial hostility in organizational life for this segment of the population.

Keywords

Citation

Key, S., Popkin, S., Munchus, G., Wech, B., Hill, V. and Tanner, J. (2012), "An exploration of leadership experiences among white women and women of color", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 392-404. https://doi.org/10.1108/09534811211228111

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited