Perceptions of Motivation Among Female Government Managers: A Qualitative Case Study

Perceptions of Motivation Among Female Government Managers: A Qualitative Case Study

Author: 
Kenae Boyer Black
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
Federal government leaders are not providing incentives that truly motivate females to serve in federal management positions; thus, fewer females than males are serving in these roles. The purpose of this qualitative, descriptive case study was to explore the perceptions of 15 female federal government managers regarding what motivates them to serve in management positions in the federal government and to explore the participants’ experiences in management positions. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling. Data were collected through telephone and in-person semistructured interviews with open-ended questions. Supporting documents, such as reports regarding the participants’ government agencies (MD-715 reports), which involve the agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity plan, were reviewed and analyzed. Observation notes were analyzed as well. Content and thematic analysis were two methods employed in this study for data analysis. Open coding was used to assist in determining themes. NVivo10 was also used to assist with the data analysis process. The data analysis resulted in 29 themes regarding the participants’ perceptions and experiences pertaining to motivation and federal government management. The six predominant themes, which provide an answer to the overarching research question, were intrinsic motivation, doing more with less, analytical abilities, the glass ceiling, being proactive, and formal mentoring programs: enhancing females’ leadership skills. The research resulted in an in-depth understanding of how important motivation is to females serving in federal government management positions. The study results indicate how the experiences of female federal government managers have shaped their perceptions of motivation and what motivates these individuals to serve. Based on the findings, leaders should create opportunities for females to fulfill the needs of competency, autonomy, and relatedness. Providing such opportunities may influence more females to seek and serve in management positions in the federal government.
Dedication: 
Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better. Maya Angelou, 1928–2014 I dedicate this study to all those who have genuinely supported, encouraged, thought of, prayed for, and believed in me throughout this journey. To my husband, Kevin, you are my constant source of inspiration, and I would never have made it through this journey without your support. Since you came into my life, you have strived to alleviate any stress that could have discouraged me from completing this project. Despite the trials we faced during this time, you never wavered or demonstrated anything less than 1000% support of me completing this endeavor. For that, I am indebted and will forever be grateful. To my Ummi, you are the reason that I always strive—and will continue to strive—to be better. Your encouragement, support, and faith in me have taught me what it truly means to love a child unconditionally; I pray to one day become half the mother you are to me. To my dad, I now have time for you to train me to take over the “Kenekshuns” business, LOL! Thanks for sharing your passion with me. To MIL, since we met, you have supported me and my journey tremendously; thank you. You can tell your folks that I finally graduated, LOL! To Midge, when I began this journey, you bought me a pink mug with “Dr. Boyer” engraved on it. I knew then, that I could not let you down. You believed in me more than I believed in myself! Continue to achieve your goals and allow God to use you. I am super proud of you. To Jai and Tittles, there is nothing you cannot achieve. With God, all things are possible. Do not settle. I am proud of whom you are, and I pray you are also proud of me. To my nieces and nephews, don’t be like me—be better than me! To the rest of my siblings, great friends, and close family, your support, prayers, and confidence in me carried me when I wanted to give up. Listing you all would be a disservice; however, you know exactly who you are. (Smooches!) To Two-Six (insider, LOL), without experiencing you or growing up around you, I would not be who I am today. Thanks for helping to raise and make me! And lastly, I dedicate this to every lady, young or old; do not limit your success to your current or past circumstances. You can achieve more than you could ever imagine. Strive for the impossible! “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). I dedicate this to each and every one of you!
Acknowledgements: 
First and most importantly, I give all glory and honor to God, my Heavenly Father, for leading and guiding my every step in this arduous process. Without His unwavering guidance, this journey would have not been possible. Through Him, all things are possible. I would like to acknowledge my study’s participants—the female federal government managers across the Nation, who volunteered to assist me in making this study possible. Thank you. You have each inspired and motivated me more than you’d ever know. I would like to acknowledge my dissertation team: Dr. Renee Hall, my dissertation mentor and chair, was the best mentor a person could ask for on a project like this! Your nurturing and positive approach during this journey has truly helped me tremendously. There were days when your encouragement was all the empowerment I needed to not give up. Your mentorship style and guidance proved invaluable, and I couldn’t be more grateful! Dr. Beatty, your support, professional guidance, and encouragement cannot be matched. I could not have finished this project without you; thank you! Dr. Enslin, I appreciate and value your professional guidance, support, and fostering perfection when changes were necessary. All of your efforts helped get me to this finish line. Sometimes, you do not see the value in the process until the process is complete. My committee was perfect for me! Thank you all! Special acknowledgement to Katie (Boston-Kate) Delaney, my friend and accountability partner! When we first met at year 1 residency, we vowed to support one another through the end. And that we did! Without wavering! Thanks, Katie for keeping your word! When things got crazy, it was you who encouraged me via text or e-mail saying, “We got this!” Thank you for that. I pray that I was as supportive to you as you were to me. Acknowledgment goes to my dissertation editor, Suzy Bills. Your expertise, talent, and professionalism are second to none. I’d also like to acknowledge my thirdparty reviewer, Dr. Hollie Jones. Your experience and advanced qualitative skills were essential in assisting with my data analysis; thank you! I would also like to especially acknowledge the man who has been there through trying and challenging times, who told me quitting was not an option, who ensured my completion of this project—my love, my friend, and my husband, Kevin. I love our devotion to one another, and I cannot thank you enough for all you have done! I love you! Darn, are you going to tell me to stop (smile)? I would also like to acknowledge my parents, family, and friends. Your contribution to this journey—tall and small—has helped me achieve a lifelong dream. Now the real work begins! I would like to acknowledge my spiritual covering, my Zion Church Small Group Sisters and my Sister Ronnie. Your prayers and encouragement have meant the world to me! Thank you! Prayers really do change things! I pray that my completion is pleasing to God. It is time to fully live my purpose-driven life. Lastly, an extra special acknowledgement to Mom- Mom (RIP), Granny (RIP), and JR (RIP)—each of you believed in me. I pray that I meet you in heaven and that I will exceed your expectations for my life before I am called home. I am truly humbled!