Communications Project

Document Type:Dissertation
Name:Laurell Coleman Malone
Title:The Multiple Roles of Women Pursuing Doctoral Studies
Degree:Doctor of Education
Department:Educational Administration and Policy Studies
Committee Chair: David J. Parks
Committee Members:Christina M. Dawson
Robert R. Richards
Stephen R. Parson
Jenean M. Case
Keywords:multiple roles, role conflict, women administrators
Date of defense:March 17, 1998
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.


Increases in the employment of women in administrative and managerial careers have drawn attention to a need for research that examines the interdependency of work and family roles, a need that is particularly crucial in the area of academic administration. This was a qualitative study of the strategies and support systems women educational administrators use to deal with the multiple roles they perform in life and work while pursuing doctoral studies. Forty-four women educational administrators enrolled in Virginia Tech's fall 1996 dissertation seminar were selected to participate in a telephone interview. Each participant's responses were recorded and transcribed. Data were sorted using a variable-oriented format. Matrices were used to categorize and analyze the data, note emerging patterns of strategies and support systems, and compare and contrast roles across personal and situational variables. The women in this study cited time as the common factor in most role conflicts occurring during their years of doctoral study. Strategies that centered around time management (prioritize, delegate, compartmentalize,) were used to deal with their multiple roles. Feelings of guilt, stress, exhaustion, and isolation were common. They depended on positive and affective support systems that included family, friends, co-workers, and cohort members to deal with responsibilities of home, work, and doctoral study. A strong sense of commitment, determination, and spiritual faith was credited most often as the one thing that kept them going as they responded to the problems, issues, concerns, and challenges of performing multiple roles in life and work.

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