Date of Conferral







John Schmidt


The study showed factors that influenced senior female U.S. Marine Corps' (USMC) officer retention decisions. The qualitative study was based on the interpretivism research philosophy and Mobley's model of turnover and employed a phenomenological research design to identify themes regarding participants' perceptions of their lived experiences involving their professions and factors that affected their mandates to remain on active duty. The study included 11 women volunteers who had either earned membership in General Officer (GO) ranks or were competitive for within the USMC as a colonel (CV); they were recruited through purposive sampling, and data were collected through interviews. Data was analyzed using NVivo and based on Moustakas's phenomenological data-analyzing procedures, with emphasis on identifying overriding themes from the gathered data. Triangulation, peer-debriefing, and member checking strategies were employed. Both groups encountered the same barriers involving sexual harassment, discrimination, and isolation, but GOs perceived these barriers as manifestations of institutionalized gender inequities, and CVs did not. GOs experienced mentoring as a valuable source of practical career advice, and CVs did not. Finally, CVs perceived their careers as strongly conflicting with their families' interests, while GOs experienced no such conflict. The value of female marines and women requires more efforts in improving this field to ensure equity and allow these women to flourish, increasing the presence of senior female officers within the USMC, thus improving overall combat effectiveness.