Graduate School of Business
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Senior Leadership, Bias, Stereotypes, Barriers, Gender Dominance, Gender Inequality
Lee, Marchelle Chemar, "The Underrepresentation of Women in Senior Leadership Positions" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2927.
Women have remained stagnant within lower level to middle management roles, very rarely exceeding to senior level positions. The gender preference for senior level management, such as chief executive officers, vice presidents, senior vice presidents, and directors, has been that of men, with perceptions, biases, and stereotypes hindering advancement. The purpose of this study was to understand the reasons behind the underrepresentation of women as senior level leaders in the financial industry, as well as create or increase awareness for those within financial institutions that are responsible for the hiring and promotion of talent into these senior level positions.This study was conducted using a qualitative case study and a flexible research design. A total of 18 participants were interviewed, with each interview being one-on-one, semi-structured, consisting of 12 questions, and recorded utilizing a 32GB Voice Activated Recorder. These recordings were then transcribed and analyzed by NVivo Pro 12. The themes discovered were perception and its impact on leadership abilities, obstacles and methods to overcome them, the importance of networking and mentorship, and preventing gender inequality in the workplace. The findings revealed that gender impacts how one is perceived as a leader, with negative stereotypes and biases contributing to the barriers that women trying to ascend into senior leadership face. It was also revealed that women do not have access to the same networking and mentoring that men do and that organizations are contributing to workplace gender inequality when they fail to encourage growth opportunities for women. Firms can utilized these findings to create better inclusion standards in their policies, as well as hiring and promoting practices.