What Keeps High Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions: V. Method and Research Design
Nevertheless, there have been attempts to design leadership instruments that measure exemplary behavior in particular situations based on lists of traits and competencies identified by survey research and previous successes. But it would be difficult to prove these studies valid or reliable in establishing how and when leadership emerges, or even more important, in revealing what it actually means to be a good leader.
On the other hand, people can often identify for themselves what environments they like to work in, the types of managers and employees they like to work for and what work assignments motivate them to give their best efforts. They can talk about how they see and define their world. They can reflect on the emotions and factors that drive their behavior. They can be coached to identify the reasons for their choices. However, there are few benchmarks or criteria to help them judge if their choices will be effective or not until they are given hard evidence in terms of outcomes and effects. Each person has to test the waters and reflect on the results to truly understand what works and what doesn’t work for him or herself. (Ibarra, 2004)
Therefore, in order to discover what high-achieving women need to excel in today’s corporations, a phenomenological research design was chosen. The design was based on in-depth interviews with 10 high-achieving women under the age of 53 (parameters defined in the Interview Participants section, page 45) with at least 10 years of corporate experience. Using transcripts of the interviews, the researcher deduced a number of themes and subthemes and behaviors that could have a negative impact typical of today’s high-achieving women. A questionnaire was then created defining these themes and sent to a group of 65 high-achieving women that fit the profile to verify the themes and self-perceptions.