Breaking Through the Concrete Ceiling: Lived Experiences of African American Female Executive-Level Leaders with Engineering Degrees

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Authors
Carter, Chelsea
Issue Date
2019-12-11
Type
Dissertation
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en_US
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Abstract
This Dissertation in Practice examined the lived experiences of African American female executive-level leaders with engineering degrees. Though women of all races and ethnicities experience challenges in ascending the male-dominated upper echelons of executive leadership, African American women have a unique experience. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to explore the lived experiences of African American female executive leaders with engineering degrees in Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Fortune 500 companies. Intersectionality, an analytical and interpretative framework was used to examine the problem. Intersectionality, a key precept in Black feminist thought theory, presumes major societal institutions are interconnected and cannot be examined separately. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five African American women who have held various executive-level position in S&P Fortune 500 companies. Three themes emerged from the interviews: Simultaneous Navigation of Complex Constructs, Concurrent Experience of the Past, Present, and Future, and Mental Strength and Inner Drive. Based on the findings from this study, the following evidence-based recommendations are proposed: Mentoring for African American female engineering students, Formal mentoring for early career African American women, Executive coaching for African American women in middle management, and Shared experience support network for African American female executives. The implications of this study are significant as this study addresses a population in which there is dearth of research and secondly, it provides an in-depth examination of how African American women with engineering degrees were able to successfully break through the concrete ceiling.
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Creighton University
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Copyright is retained by the Author. A non-exclusive distribution right is granted to Creighton University and to ProQuest following the publishing model selected above.
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