Generational differences in the attitudes of women in leadership roles

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Karen L. Robinson, Ph.D.

Karen L. Robinson
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Karen L. Robinson


Member for
5 years 4 months
Current and Ongoing Research Interests: 

Generational differences in the attitudes of women in leadership roles

Degrees Completed: 
Doctoral Degree
Industrial - Organizational Psychology
Alliant International University
Masters Degree
Organizational & Clinical Psychology
Alliant International University
Bachelors Degree
Psychology; minors in Philosophy & Theater
Wagner College
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With a re-invigorated focus on women in leadership roles, spurred in part by popular publications like the book Lean In (Sandberg, 2013), a more granular focus is needed to truly understand the representation gaps of women in leadership roles; this includes understanding the attitudes of women about work and leadership, and the conditions that encourage (or inhibit) movement into leadership roles. Recent articles have highlighted that much of the work conducted to-date on women in leadership has taken a fairly narrow look at women and has generally failed to account for generational differences within the demographic (Taylor & Stein, 2014), despite other emerging bodies of research that demonstrate significant, though often mixed, differences in the viewpoints and attitudes of women from different generations (i.e., Parry & Urwin, 2011; Stark, Kirk & Bruhn, 2012). This initial exploratory study will attempt to identify potential areas of difference using a cross-sectional survey of women in leadership roles in order to identify areas of future study.

  • Problem: U.S. workforce is increasingly diverse; generational differences can be pronounced, particularly for women.  
  • Focus: Exploratory study aimed at identifying differences in leadership styles and attitudes among a cross-sectional sample of women. 
  • Factors:  Generational differences, leadership style and attitudes, work preferences and commitment
  • Participants: Cross-sectional sample of women in leadership positions across the U.S. 
  • Outcome: Better understand of the impact generational differences have on the attitudes and approach to work.
Boyer's Domain: 


Darcel Gibson's picture Darcel Gibson | August 26, 2015 8:33 pm MST

Hello Dr. Anderson,

My name is Darcel Gibson, MBA. I read your proposed study about gaps of women in leadership roles. It's amazing because there are differences between the generations.. The attitudes are different in different settings. I notice that everyday.  I find your proposed study interesting; and if I had an opportunity to help you with your study, it would be a great experience to find put what others think.

Thank you for your time.

Lynne Devnew's picture Lynne Devnew | September 10, 2015 8:01 am MST

Hi Karen, 

It sounds as if our research interests are very similar.  I'm over in the Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research.  I'd love to talk sometime!  One of my research teams is studying women's development of our leader identities (not my CLSER project).

Out of curiosity are you going to study generational difference's in women's attitudes towards leadership or generational differences in the attitudes of women leaders towards leadership?  Either would be fascinating, as would generational differences in attitudes among men and women regarding women and leadership.

Lynne Devnew

Research Fellow, CLSER

Meryl Epstein's picture Meryl Epstein | July 11, 2016 11:52 am MST


I am very interested in this topic and have practitioner experience in this area. I would welcome to provide my support for this project, if you are open to accepting assistance :)

Please feel free to contact me via email: or via phone: 602-387-2769

Thank you,