Redefining leadership to include women : a qualitative study
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The purpose of this qualitative study is to advance the understanding of women’s lived experiences and perceptions throughout their careers. The study is based on women’s work life experiences, taking into consideration the cultural factors that impacted their decision to take on or remain in leadership roles. This study is focused on both the perceptions of women when it comes to leadership and understanding their decision-making experience within the engendered cultural context of Canadian organizations. This study considered the experiences of 23 women in traditional and not-for-profit Canadian organizations, employing a qualitative approach study that included semistructured interviews. Eight themes emerged that identify the barriers that women face and the cultural environment that prevents women from advancing and/or staying in leadership positions. The themes also address the conditions that impact women’s career decisions as they relate to leadership and pursuing leadership positions. Additionally, the research presents themes that highlight the cultural environment that empowers women, makes them feel supported in the workplace, and enables them to thrive in leadership positions in their current traditional organizations, new ones, or not-for-profit organizations. I offer recommendations based on the findings of my research. Organizations should focus on mentorship of women by female and male leaders. This creates a learning environment as well as a mentoring environment. Another finding speaks to flexibility in work schedules, empowering women to define their workday and how work is done. Career maps were identified as a recommendation, implementing a process of clear career mapping for women. Finally, women in leadership roles should pair with other women in the organization to support them and raise their voices.
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