Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


Despite recently reported increases in the number of female administrators in higher education, the fact remains that men significantly outnumber women in senior level administrative positions in America’s community/ junior colleges. Employment pattern similar to those at Phillips County Community College (Arkansas), where no female has ever held a senior level administrative position, are common in higher education. Criteria used to select individuals for administrative positions have led to an underutilization of females at the top levels of college management. Often central to these selection criteria are the assumptions that men and women manage differently, that men are better suited to make administrators. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if differences in leader effectiveness and leadership styles existed among senior level administrators in two-year colleges as a result of biographical and situational variables, including gender. Sampling techniques were utilized to select three hundred male and female administrators from 2340 leader at the 1219 two-year college affiliated with the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges. One hundred fifty senior level women were selected based upon total availability. One hundred fifty men were selected by random sampling. Those selected were mailed two data collection instruments to complete and return. A LEAD-Self management style and effectiveness instrument designed by Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard (1973) was utilized to collect participant responses to management decision-making alternatives. A second instrument decision-making alternatives. A second instrument designed by Sandra Keough (1982) was used to collect data pertaining to participant job responsibilities and job status, as well as pertinent biographical information. This instrument was color coded to denote male and female responses without direct inquiry. Both instruments had been validated in previous administrations. A 78.3 percent response rate was realized on the first mailing of the survey instruments. The adjusted, usable response rate was 75.7 percent, and responses from 106 women and 121 men comprised the data base for the survey analyses. T-tests for sample mean were employed at a significant level of .05 with critical t-values established at 21.16 for all statistical tests. No significant differences were found to exist in the overall leader effectiveness of male and female senior level administrators. No significant differences were found to exist in the overall leadership styles of male and female senior level administrators. An increased propensity among women to attain higher level educational credentials in recent years was noted. This occurrence has lessened the disparity between the number of males and females holding the doctorate. It was also found that female administrators were much more likely than their male counterparts to be unmarried, having made distinct choices between families and careers. Although no overall differences in leadership effectiveness or style existed between men and women, several significant differences in the styles of younger females and older females were identified. Female administrators over forty years of age tended to be more collaborative and emphasized more decentralized decision making approaches than their younger female counterparts. Since no significant differences were found in the overall leadership styles or effectiveness of male and female senior level administrators, and since there has been an increased movement on the part of women to increase their educational credentials, it was concluded that employment discrimination, in the form of traditional sex-role stereotyping, still exists in America higher education. Evidence further suggests that discrimination is currently less blatant than in previous years and that continued progress to further reduce sex-role stereotyping is likely in the future. General recommendations for community/junior colleges, and specific recommendations for Phillips County Community College, have been cited that, if implemented, will increase opportunities for women in college administration. Questions that need to be addressed through further research have also been advanced.

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