Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Joseph Barbeau

Abstract

American businesses are working with educational institutions to attract women into technical and scientific professions. However, less than one quarter of the people working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are women. The educational system as-a-pipeline model is not supplying business with skilled workers, specifically female STEM employees. Organizational change must occur and this process begins with the organization's leadership. Guided by the the conceptual frameworks of Kotter & Rathgeber and Kouzes & Posner, this Delphi study asked 54 female professionals, in various locations across the United States, about what influenced them in their education and career choices. Responses were collected from an internet survey and the emergent themes were deduced by graphical means using word clouds and word counts. The evaluation indicated that early interests in science were generated through networking experiences that occurred both in and out of the educational environment. Pro-male bias and lack of encouragement 'influenced the women's decision making while studying and working. To obtain the female professionals they need for the future, business leaders need to fund research, and provide internships, networking, and shadowing opportunities with current professionals. Leaders and managers also need to provide unbiased and supportive educational and workplace environments where women study and work. These social and organizational changes will allow women to become the needed workers for American businesses to maintain a technological presence in the world marketplace.