Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
Men dominated the Senate and the House of Representatives for the first 128 years of the United States history until Jeannette Rankin became the first female congresswoman in 1917. This phenomenological study included in-depth interviews with 20 women of the 111th United States Congress. The critical mass theory and the token status theory are 2 theories to explore the negative environment and stereotyping that undermine a woman's performance and leadership. The participants were selected through a snowballing technique. A modified Van Kaam method was used to analyze the data by grouping similar ideas, identifying key points, and relating concepts and developing themes and constructs. Four themes emerged from the study: perseverance, mentorship, teamwork, and leadership. Perseverance was a strategy to bill passage. Being labeled as the gender minority encouraged the congresswomen to persevere not only for their success but also for their country and the multitude of women depending on them. Women in leadership positions facilitated and encouraged their political parties to prioritize issues related to women such as childcare, gender equality, and equal pay. Teamwork was quintessential to the passage of legislation. Members of the United States congress were able to form alliances and develop sustainable relationship through bill sponsorship. Social implications include the ability to provide guidance to women who aspire to engage in leadership roles and to provide organizations with information to create leadership development programs that focus on career paths for women seeking leadership positions in industries in which women are underrepresented.