A Qualitative Study of College Cadet Women's Leadership Identity Development in a Military Training Environment
Knies, Jeananne Marie
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In December 2015, the United States' Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, issued a directive that each branch of military avail every position to women (Pellerin, 2015). Given this and the dearth of literature on women's leader development in military environments, it was imperative to research if and how these environments shape and influence leadership development among college aged women. Specifically, this study sought to reveal women's view of self as leader in the context of a military training environment at a senior military college. The Leadership Identity Development (LID) model developed by Komives, Owen, Longerbeam, Mainella, and Osteen (2005) served as a framework for this study that utilized constructivist grounded theory methods for data collection and analysis as described by Charmaz (2014). The participants in this study were 21 college students who identified as women participating in a 24-hour military training program between the ages of 19 to 23 and agreed to participate in individual face-to-face interviews. Through interviews and analysis of the data, eight themes emerged from the women's experiences that revealed how they developed as leaders in the environment, and conditions that both promoted and inhibited their leader development. These themes are leadership defined, internal dialogue, strategies for managing influences, practicing leadership, context for learning leadership, external influences, internal influences, and experiences. These findings have implications for future research and practice.
General Audience Abstract
It is important to understand how college aged women develop a leadership identity in a military training environment that has historically been male-dominated. This study sought to better understand the experiences of 21 women who learned leadership in a military training environment that was a 24-hour live in experience on a campus of higher education. The women agreed to meet for a face-to-face interview that lasted approximately one hour to share their experiences. Constructivist grounded theory methods for data collection and analysis (Charmaz, 2014) were utilized in this study, and the Leadership Identity Development (LID) model developed by Komives, Owen, Longerbeam, Mainella, and Osteen (2005) served as a framework. I share the findings of this study and implications for future research and practice.
- Doctoral Dissertations