School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Ellen Ziegler


Black women, Leadership, healthcare, experiences, educated women, leadership positions


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of Black women in leadership positions in the healthcare field. The study used an intersectional lens to illustrate how gender, race, class, and spirituality contributed to the systemic structures of oppression, bias, and discrimination, limiting ascension to positions of power and authority. The theoretical framework guiding this inquiry was the great man leadership theory, which analyzed how socio-cultural identities influenced Black women’s perceptions and experiences of leadership within the organizational context. Adopting a phenomenological study research design conceptualized the experiences of Black women executives working in a predominantly White and male healthcare administrative industry. The study incorporated observations, interviews, and focus groups as effective data collection. The findings indicated that participants perceived their socialization and cultural perspectives as shaped by three relevant factors, the desire to seek opportunities for themselves and others in the healthcare field, a lack of organizational support, and negative healthcare experiences for themselves or their families before their entrance into the healthcare field. The findings showed that participants faced significant challenges in their workplaces, such as race- and gender-based discrimination that impacted hiring and promotion practices to their detriment. This study contributed to the importance of inclusivity and diversity in the workplace to enhance the promotion of Black women to top leadership positions in the healthcare field.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 19, 2023