Today’s spotlight is Associate Faculty and Research Fellow Dr. Lynne Devnew. She teaches for the DM program and doctoral residencies and is currently a fellow under Chair Dr. Mark McCaslin for the Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research. Additionally, she is an active dissertation chair. She has been teaching for the School of Advanced Studies for over 10 years and seeing doctoral mentees through to graduation since 2009.
Dr. Devnew’s research focuses on Women and Leadership. Her CLSER fellowship project is an interpretative phenomenological study of women on corporate boards in a STEM industry. “Women are underrepresented on corporate boards. In 2014 17.7% of the people on Fortune 1000 Boards were women. This study should provide some rich, empirical demonstration of the value women add to board decision making processes/effectiveness,” says Devnew.
Read more about “Active Project: Women on boards lived experiences of women’s influential power and decision making on boards”
She and her two research partners – Monigo Saygbay-Hallie, a University of Phoenix PhD student, and Dr. Anne Benning – are studying a small number of women’s lived experiences with board decision making. They are currently conducting interviews and analyzing data. Presentations on this project were accepted this year at the Academy of Management (AOM) conference in Vancouver, Canada and at the International Leadership Association (ILA) conference in Barcelona, Spain. Additionally, an article on the conceptual framework and literature review is under development.
Additionally, Dr. Devnew is working on a team across six universities in the US, Canada, and New Zealand to conduct a collaborative auto-ethnographic study on development of a leader identity. Devnew said the focus of this project, “is on learning about how women develop leader identities, which we hope will influence those seeking to help women develop leader identities.” The team presented their findings so far at both the ILA Women and Leadership Affinity Group (WLAG) Conference in Pacific Grove, CA and the ILA conference in Barcelona, Spain. Presentation attendees have noted an interest in using this research to shape leadership development courses. The team has also had a chapter accepted in an upcoming book, Theorizing women & leadership: New insights & contributions from multiple perspectives.
Finally, she has teamed with Dr. Ann Berghout Austin from Utah State University, senior research partner. Dr. Austin was initially solicited to author a chapter under development on Women’s Leadership Aspirations for a 2017 book, Handbook of research on gender and leadership. Dr. Devnew is honored to author in conjunction with the rest of the research team including Dr. Austin, Dr. Marlene Janzen Le Ber of Brescia University College in Ontario, and Professor Mary Shapiro from Simmons College.
Despite her current, sharp focus on developing women leaders, it took some time for Dr. Devnew to find her research passion. “My doctoral studies focused on strategy development and decision making in high technology industries; I was most interested in decision making at the highest levels in organizations. At some stage, I realized I didn’t really want to focus on high technology strategy and was at a loss for what I did want to focus on. Then it hit me: I’d been an early woman manager at IBM and grown as a leader throughout my career with IBM and in the volunteer world.”
Networking and speaking to her passion brought her even closer to her goals after a serendipitous conversation with our own Dr. Kelley Conrad. Kelley noted he was presenting at the first International Leadership Association (ILA) Women and Leadership Affinity Group (WLAG) conference. Dr. Devnew was sad to have missed the opportunity so Kelley suggested she email the conference organizer. “My email was enthusiastically received and was my introduction to the ILA WLAG group, which started me firmly on my current path. I learned something very important from this experience; when you want to do something, say so! It is amazing how often the answer is yes!”
Dr. Devnew credits the School of Advanced Studies as being the “kick” that got her started on her research pursuits. In addition to the push of meeting chairing requirements, she’s served as a research fellow, received funding assistance for conferences, and been “cheered on by my center chair, Dr. Mark McCaslin, and by the Academic Dean, Dr. Jeremy Moreland.”
Thank you to Dr. Devnew for her contributions to University of Phoenix and the greater research community. We look forward to seeing what she and her research teams accomplish next!