Getting to “the room where it happens" : a transformative qualitative collective case study of Black women holding and pursuing senior and executive leadership roles.

Date

Access rights

No access – contact librarywebmaster@baylor.edu

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Abstract

Workplace leadership teams underrepresent Black women in senior and executive leadership roles. They commonly occupy supervisor, manager, and director leadership roles, but only occupy 1.6% of senior and executive leadership roles. The significance of this problem is that senior and executive leadership positions come with power and privileges that impact the entirety of organizations. Executive leaders have the authority to make companywide decisions about mergers and acquisitions, health plans, hiring of other senior and executive leaders, salaries, and employee engagement efforts. White men have traditionally dominated top leadership positions, like senior and executive roles. This qualitative collective case study elucidated the successes, challenges, and aspirations of Black women holding and pursing senior and executive leadership roles. I studied two cases; one case included six Black women with experience in senior or executive leadership positions, and the other case included 11 Black women in mid-level leadership positions. One focus of this study was to learn what Black women in senior and executive leadership roles experienced in their career journeys and to get their thoughts on how more Black women can be in top leadership positions. The other focus of this study was the aspirations and challenges Black women in mid-level leadership roles believed they faced. The key findings from this study indicated that Black women fully understood the impact senior and executive leaders have in an organization, Black women passionately desired to lead at the highest level, and Black women were resilient despite various racial and gender barriers. Other key findings included the lack of career mentors for Black women and Black women’s desires to build meaningful relationships with White men and women within their organization and community. There were implications for human resource leaders and executives to review their organization’s senior and executive leadership demographics and to strategize meaningful ways to have more Black women in high impact leadership positions.

Description

Keywords

Citation