What Keeps High Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions: V. Method and Research Design

What Keeps High Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions: V. Method and Research Design

INTERVIEWS—Six had master’s degrees. Two had bachelor’s degrees. One had an associate’s degree. One never went to college.
SURVEY—All of the women who answered the survey had gone to college, with 56% of them holding or in the process of earning advanced degrees.

In summary, the research respondents included 47 women. Their age spread evenly from age 28 to age 52. A little more than half of the women were married and the majority of the married women were the breadwinners in their households and more than half of these women had children. Most of the women had college degrees with more than half of them holding or earning advanced degrees.


The following steps were taken for completing the interviews and surveys:

Developed a set of questions or topics to guide the interview process.

Conducted and recorded person-to-person interviews in casual, quiet, private and interruption-free settings with the ten women who matched the profile as being “high-achieving.” The interviews were transcribed and the scripts sent to the participants to verify results.

Organized and analyzed the data into structural and textural themes, meaning themes that relate to 1) developmental and organizational issues and to 2) personal preferences, beliefs, assumptions, habits and goals.

Created an on-line survey to validate both the structural and textural themes, focusing on the frequently identified personality traits, behavioral strategies, perceptions and desires found in the interviews.

Compared the narrative themes that emerged against both the hypothesis and the review of the literature for additional insights.

The results of the validated themes, points for discussion and subsequent recommendations are presented in the next set of essays.


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About the Author

Marcia Reynolds

Marcia ReynoldsIn addition to coaching leaders in global companies, Dr. Marcia Reynolds travels the world speaking and teaching classes in advanced coaching skills, leadership and emotional intelligence. She is the author of 3 books and has been quoted in major online and print publications in the US and Europe.

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