Tied Migrants and Career Women: A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Lived Experiences of Military Spouses

Tied Migrants and Career Women: A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Lived Experiences of Military Spouses

Author: 
Denise Robertson-Lambert
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
The purpose of the qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions and lived experiences of military spouses of active duty service members to make meaning of their experiences as tied migrant spouses and aspiring career women. Tied migration occurs when one spouse relocates for the employment and career progression of the other spouse. Military spouses move with their active duty service members every two to four years which results in short tenures on military spouses’ résumés and a lack of cohesiveness in their employment history. Identifying the influence of tied migration to a spouse’s career and job search self-efficacy (JSSE) could enable hiring organizations to improve human resources (HR) practices and encourage Department of Defense (DOD) employment programs to increase the recruitment and hiring rates of professional military spouses. A combination of purposive and snowball sampling was used to identify participants for this study. Data was collected through the use of semi-structured, telephone interviews. The participants were interviewed using an open-ended question format. Data was collected and analyzed using NVivo 10.0 software. Through the findings, the research study was able to identify three emergent themes aimed at understanding the lived experiences of military spouses at it pertained to military spouse employment and JSSE. The themes were (a) working outside of the home provided a sense of personal independence, (b) military lifestyle affected career decisions, and (c) mixed feelings were generated from job search experiences. The research study was not without limitations and further research on the topic was recommended.
Dedication: 
I would like to dedicate this dissertation to my family. Without their overwhelming support and encouragement, I would not have been able to complete this dissertation. First, I would like to thank my husband for the endless motivation and for being my number one cheerleader. Even with an ocean separating us, you still managed to be right by my side during my dissertation journey. I love you. Second, I would like to thank my oldest daughter for being my shoulder to cry on, for keeping me focused, for encouraging me when I felt defeated, and for assisting me with the care of her younger sister so I could dedicate time to writing and researching. I love you. Third, I would like to thank my youngest daughter for reminding me that there is life away from my laptop. Thank you for the hugs and kisses and for keeping me laughing. I love you. I know it was difficult not having me available for family activities for extended periods of time, but you two were my inspiration. Fourth, I would also like to thank my mother for the foundation she laid as my mother and for the sense of pride, purpose, and the drive to succeed. Thank you for the late night phone calls, inspirational texts, and for always reminding me that you were there for me. Fifth, I would like to thank the study participants for entrusting me with your stories. You are amazing women and I thank you for your service. Last, but not least, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the strength, clarity, and patience required to complete this enormous task. Without your grace, I never could have made it.
Acknowledgements: 
To my committee, I would like to thank each of you for being a part of my dissertation. The committee held me to high standards and provided constant support throughout the dissertation process. I would like to thank my committee chair, Dr. Christina Anastasia, for her leadership, wisdom, knowledge, and overall belief in me and my dissertation topic. I would like to especially thank you for your continuous guidance to keep me progressing in the right direction and for the encouraging conversations that has led me to the finish line. You have been a phenomenal dissertation chair and I appreciate everything you have done to assist me throughout my dissertation journey. I would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Thompson for her dedication throughout the dissertation process. She always offered valuable insight and constructive criticism that aided in the development and improvement of this study. I would also like to thank Dr. Lilia Santiague for agreeing to be a part of my committee. From the beginning you offered me guidance, words of encouragement, and I express my appreciation for the time I spent under your tutelage during my on campus residency. Because of your words, I knew how to prepare myself and handle the obstacles I faced during the completion of this dissertation.