School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Dina Samora


administrative, gender bias, higher education, leadership, perception, self-efficacy, women


Higher Education


This qualitative transcendental phenomenological study aimed to explore the real-life experiences of women serving in senior-level higher education leadership positions in higher education institutions. The theory guiding this study was the Self-Efficacy Theory, as presented by theorist Albert Bandura, was used as a theoretical guide, identifying if participant's self-efficacy could be or was affected by whether or not they were successful in the studied environment, along with how others within the environment contributed to that perception as imposed by their experiences. This research employed a qualitative method, with the design being a transcendental phenomenological study. Purposeful and snowball sampling identified participants as senior-level administrative leaders in higher education institutions. It relied upon the belief that discovery, understanding, and obtaining insight from participants would provide the most significant information based on their expertise in the researched area. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, a work self-efficacy inventory, individual interviews, and a focus group. Data collected were analyzed using a thematic approach and identified recurrent themes derived from participants' experiences, and deductive and inductive approaches were implemented. The findings of this research addressed and answered the research questions of the stated purpose and theoretical framework of this study and resulted in three key themes (a) development of interpersonal practices for women in higher education leadership, (b) women in higher education leadership and the role of self-efficacy, and (c) barriers for women in higher education leadership.