A Phenomenological Investigation of Career Success Influences Among Female IT Professionals

A Phenomenological Investigation of Career Success Influences Among Female IT Professionals

Author: 
Felecia L. Mootry
Program of study: 
D.M./IST
Abstract: 
Women remain an untapped pool of potential talent for the information technology (IT) workforce. Despite the growing number of women attending college and efforts to increase female representation in the male-dominated field of IT, female representation is minimal. Among women who work in IT, few obtain senior-level leadership positions. As a result, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to report the lived experiences of women in senior-level IT leadership positions, and to identify the barriers and support that impacted their advancement into senior-level leadership positions. Through purposeful sampling, 10 women in senior-level leadership positions in the IT industry were selected to participate in open-ended, semi-structured interviews. NVivo10 was employed to classify the data which was analyzed, and yielded two main emergent themes, Support and Barriers. Under Support, sub-themes identified included mentors, social strategies, education/self-improvement, spirituality, and family. Within Barriers, the following five sub-themes emerged: excessive emotional behavior, gender bias, lack of assistance to female colleagues, compensation, and organizational factors. Results from this research study may provide organizational leaders with a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the career development of women and catalyze effective organizational constructs that increase the number of women in senior-level leadership positions in IT.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this dissertation to God Almighty, my creator, my soul and my strength who is the source of my inspiration, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, for without God, I am nothing. I also dedicate this work to my amazing son, Ronald D. McKinney Jr. Thank you for holding my hand as we both journeyed through our programs, you with your masters and me with my doctorate! What a pair of schoolmates we made; I love you bigger than Walmart! To my parents, Loretta and Richard Mootry Sr., who stood by me through tears and frustration, instilled in me perseverance and the importance of dedication. To my cousin, Sherice James, and my two wonderfully great friends, Henrietta Gilmore and Danielle Lewis, who prayed me through and never allowed me to give up, and who gave me support and encouragement. Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge all of those angels stationed around me who never missed a call for help and have encouraged me with support, I will never forget you. After five years of hard work and dedication to my studies, I can finally move on to the next phase of my life. This is truly a lifetime dream come true!
Acknowledgements: 
It is with profound appreciation that I acknowledge all those individuals who were involved in this journey of a lifetime. Your time, contribution, patience, and support made it possible for me to create a path of achievement that has and will continue to forever change my life. I would like to thank my dissertation Chair, Dr. Auslyn Nieto, for her guidance, support, motivation and tolerance with me, and without whom this dissertation would not have been possible. I would also like to convey my sincere gratitude to Dr. Sarah Everts and Dr. Patricia Talbert who provided insight and diligence that kept me mindful of the “big picture” at every stage of my research. To “Dr. Rich” (Dr. Richard Schuttler) who steadfastly worked with me, and whose phenomenal mentorship offered extensive knowledge and encouragement, and who provided an attentive ear and strong shoulder when I thought all was lost. I would also like to express my appreciation to all of the women who volunteered for the study and generously shared their lived experiences. Last but not least, to my doctoral program cohorts (Dr. Robert Mullennix, Dr. Christie Murray, Dr. Sherry Walker, Joedda Pessima, Eugene Petrie, Scott Phillpott and Nancy Severe) who believe in me, held me up, kept me going, and reminded me that this is a journey, not a race (thank you Sherry, I will never forget).