Title

Conceptions of power among senior women administrators at liberal arts colleges in the Upper Midwestern United States

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Women are underrepresented in senior-level leadership positions in higher education institutions, and their experiences are underrepresented in research about leadership and power in higher education. This qualitative study engaged women senior administrators at liberal arts colleges in the Upper Midwestern United States to better understand how their intersecting identities mediate their enacted leadership. Data were collected from eight women senior administrators at liberal arts colleges in the Upper Midwestern United States via a preliminary questionnaire, document review, in-depth one-on-one interviews, and a day of observation with each participant. For this paper, I investigated how the participants perceived their own power within the campus community. Data analysis using the constant comparative method revealed participants’ conceptions of power, their discomfort with the word power, and the ways they saw their power as mediated by their identities.