A qualitative study of the leadership practices of eight women in student affairs administration

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Bales, Vera K.
Murk, Peter J., 1942-
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Educational Leadership
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The purpose of this research was to describe how eight selected women administrators employed in student affairs at Ball State University utilized five leadership practices of challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way, and encouraging the heart. There is an abundance of research on leadership, however very few studies have identified the leadership actions of women in student affairs administration in higher education.A case study methodology was used for this current research. Eight informants were purposively selected from a population of 26 women administrators employed in student affairs at Ball State University. Three interviews were conducted with each of the eight informants. Retrospective, structured, and semi-structured interviews, as described by Fraenkel and Wallen (1996) were utilized. There was not an available interview guide for use in this study, therefore one was constructed.Four conclusions were drawn from the results of this study. These included the following:1. There were a number of themes found that indicated these eight informants are relational leaders.2. The evidence collected suggested that leadership is situational, contextual, and influenced by the people involved.3. Experience was identified most often as a way these eight informants tested their own leadership skills, the skills of others, and helped others learn leadership skills.4. Learning from mentors was an important way these informants developed their leadership skills.Results of this study were not generalized beyond these eight informants. However, this study contributed new information to the field of leadership studies by describing the leadership practices of eight women administrators employed in student affairs. This study provided insights on the actions and behaviors that these informants used when exercising leadership.