Mayra Alayon Hough, Glenda Holland

The purpose of this research was to identify the contextual, societal and cultural factors that influenced the styles of leadership of female executives in higher education. The study profiled the leadership styles of 183 female administrators at senior level positions, such as: president, chancellor, vice president, and dean, at accredited institutions of higher education in the United States, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The research assessed the leadership styles with the purpose of identifying the factors that positively influenced the success of female administrators. A descriptive and qualitative approach was the research method for the study. This approach was used because it allowed the researcher to study, explore and understand the experiences of successful female administrators in higher education. The descriptive approach allowed the researcher to analyze attitudes, demographics, opinions and personal experiences of the participants and its relevance to the study. A self-report survey was developed with an inquiry content derived from the literature review. Demographic data included age, age at first administrative position, marital status, institution, rank, years in current position, number of years teaching prior to administration, number of administrative positions before achieving a higher administrative position, and highest academic degree obtained. The self-report survey consisted of five questions exploring the participants’ beliefs with regard to barriers, leadership styles, personal characteristics, and factors affecting women in higher education administration as well as demographic and institutional information. Findings from the study revealed the factors that determined the success of female administrators in higher education administration.

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