Factors influencing the career development of community college women administrators

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education

First Committee Member

J. Croghan - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to investigate career paths frequently used by women in community college administration, examine barriers and contributors to women's career progression, and determine whether racial or ethnic differences were related to factors influencing career progression. This study also explored environmental conditions and their role in influencing women's career development. Kanter's (1977) theory of behavior in organizations guided this investigation.The population (n = 224) for this study consisted of women administrators employed at a multi-campus community college in the South Florida area. A total of 186 women participated in the study.A self-administered questionnaire was constructed to gather the data. The instrument consisted of Likert-type scale items and closed and open-ended questions.Analyses of data demonstrated that women in community college administration had risen through the administrative hierarchy through the traditional time-in-line method. Most women occupied staff positions in traditionally female departments.Social-cultural conditions reported by women to exist in their organization included serving as nurturers, working harder than men to succeed, having less access to power, being more likely to assume personal responsibility for failure than males, and contending with assumptions that they do not make decisions. Women also reported experiencing greater barriers as they advanced, being less influential in superiors' decisions than males, being trapped into militant roles, and not being addressed by their titles as often as males.Women identified formal education, prior administrative experience, and willingness to take risks as contributing to their career progression. Women perceived family commitments, college policies, the "old boys network," lack of access to power, and lack of quality opportunities as barriers to their career development.This study demonstrated that the organizational structure and environment have the capacity to influence the behaviors and experiences of women within organizations, affecting women's numbers, positions, and power. The findings, therefore, support Kanter's structural theory of behavior in organizations.


Education, Community College; Women's Studies; Education, Administration; Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations; Education, Higher

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