Date of Conferral







Rachel Piferi


This qualitative study investigated the experiences of executive women and their choices in balancing work with marriage and children. Research on women in the workplace tends to conflate categories of hourly workers, part-time employees, and middle- and upper-management careers. Yet, the literature on balancing career and family life does not adequately portray the experiences of executive women. The purpose of the study was to discover executive women's perceptions about their career, how they chose their path, and how their career choices affected their decisions about marriage and children. The research questions for this study examined: (a) The effect of executive women's career choices on their balance of marriage and children, (b) reflection on career choices as an opportunity (enhancement) or loss (conflict) regarding marriage and children, and (c) the sacrifices made or regrets felt, if any, by executive women in pursuing a career. The research questions reflect the study's grounding in role theory, role conflict theory, and spillover theory. Data were collected via personal interviews with 10 participants, which were recorded, transcribed, and coded for themes. Results showed that although participants were conscious of making some sacrifices, such as feeling guilt missing their children's events and not making time for self or women friends and feeling some guilt about those sacrifices, they expressed no regrets for the decisions they made. The study has the potential to effect social change by providing insight about how an important subset of the professional work force attempts to balance career and family life. The study may also help women pursuing business careers make more informed choices about their personal and professional goals.