What Keeps High Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions: V. Method and Research Design
In the end, common themes and behaviors emerged that both served and detracted from the women’s goals and ambitions. Some of the recurrent responses matched the hypotheses, others revealed some surprises. The results are broken down into five major themes with subthemes that emerged. Quotes and examples from both the interviews and surveys are used to demonstrate how the themes play out in the lives of the women.
It is the intention of the researcher to present the results in a way that provides new insights for the women themselves, for executive coaches to use with their clients, and for organizations to better develop, provide for and retain the vast pool of talent they have in high-achieving women. These insights are included in the later set of essays in this series.
A Phenomenological Approach
Phenomenology is a method that seeks to uncover the meaning that people attribute to a particular experience and to translate that understanding into words. (Speziale & Carpenter, 2003) It is not focused on discerning what is right or good or to predict what will happen in the future. Instead, the intention is to allow core concepts, essences and themes to emerge through interviews that encourage the open and honest dialogue about the experiences of everyday life. A reduction process is then used with the transcripts to pull out these themes and develop a structure that can provide useful information for researchers, for coaching and organizational development professionals, for leaders and most importantly, for the high-achieving women looking for insights and direction.