Leadership and Organizational Culture Influence on African American Women in Law Enforcement

Leadership and Organizational Culture Influence on African American Women in Law Enforcement

Author: 
Katina Gomez
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
This qualitative phenomenological study explored and described the perceptions and lived experiences of African American women police officers in leadership positions working in the state of Maryland. The purpose of this research was to explore the phenomena of leadership and organizational culture that African American women police officers view as influencing their ability to attain and retain leadership positions within law enforcement organizations. The study included interviewing 10 African American women police officers who have held sworn leadership positions the rank of sergeant and above for at least 3 years in a police department in the state of Maryland. A hermeneutic phenomenological methodology was used to explore the lived experiences of these women. The literature included topics about inequality, diversity, leadership journeys, leadership practices, and racial perceptions. Four themes were identified through analyzing the data: (a) internal and self-imposed limitations to leadership, (b) improving organizational culture and relationships, (c) mentoring and networking relationships, and (d) self-management and regulation strategies. The theoretical and leadership implications, limitations, and recommendations were also discussed.
Dedication: 
First giving honor to God and the Holy Spirit that pushed me to be better and help me to complete any life journey I set out to achieve! This dissertation is dedicated to my family, Esteban, my husband, who picked up the slack and encouraged me when I did not believe I could go on. Thank your babe! My Mom, Cynthia McFarlin, who has always believed in me and is my biggest advocate, who sacrificed her dreams and aspirations for me. Thank you! To my children, Xiomore’, Xoey, and Nevaeh, who inspire me to be a better person and are always my cheerleaders. We had many of days we sat at the table completing our homework together and for that, I am grateful and blessed. To all my family, friends, and co-workers, (you know who you are)! I am truly grateful for your grace, love, and patience you had with me during this process. I also appreciate your understanding and willingness to support my family and me through this journey.
Acknowledgements: 
First, I must thank Dr. Deeb Kitchen, my dissertation chair, who stepped in to help me and through his guidance and support, I am able to make my dream a reality. Thank you for the long conversations and sharing of your wisdom and providing me with your invaluable time and resources. Thank you for believing in me when I did not believe in myself. Thank you to Dr. Rochelle Holland, my committee member, you have been with me since the beginning of my process and I am truly grateful. You chose to stick by me, guide me, and see me through my journey and for that, I am thankful. To Dr. Joy Taylor, my committee member, who has also stuck by me through this journey, I thank you for your gratitude and patience and for being an ‘exemplary’ component in this process. A very special thank you is extended to Dr. Janice Johnson, who is not only an amazing friend, but also a mentor who provided me with daily doses of encouragement and reality when I felt defeated. Thank you to Holly Monteith, whose wisdom and guidance in the final edits were much needed. I appreciate your immense kindness. To the amazing African American women in law enforcement, thank you! Thank you for opening your hearts and minds, and entrusting me with your thoughts, feelings, and inspirational stories. Listening to your lived experiences left me honored and humbled. My words of gratitude will never amount to the role you played in this journey. To all the women in law enforcement throughout the world – never stop believing and doing what you do. Your words and presence provide immeasurable comfort to those who need it most. Please be safe and take care of yourselves. vi Thank you to my sister, Danielle Royal Hill, you have believed in me since I can remember. Thank you for all the encouragement along the way. Thank you for allowing me to cry on your shoulder when the road was tough. I love you! To my dear friend Daisy Hicks, I truly thank you for your elegant demeanor, professionalism and your words of wisdom that you have poured into me over the years. Thank you for your love, support and your friendship. God has blessed my family and I throughout this entire process.