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Higher Education Administration | Leadership Studies


This qualitative study engaged women senior administrators at liberal arts colleges in the Upper Midwestern USA to better understand how their intersecting identities mediate their enacted leadership. Data were collected from eight participants via a questionnaire, document review, one-on-one interviews and observations. Positionality theory informed the study design and inquiry. Data analysis using the constant comparative method revealed that women leaders' positionality is intentionally monitored and constantly negotiated in the liberal arts college context. Participants described that they had to be more intentional about revealing or displaying traits associated with those identities that did not fit their institutional environment. This study was an important step in broadening understandings of the complex ways in which leaders' multiple identities interact to shape women's leadership.