Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Marcia Sweedler

Second Advisor

Judith McKay

Third Advisor

Alexia Georgakopoulos


alternative dispute resolution, conflict resolution, feminist theory, gendered organizations theory, hostage negotiations, law enforcement, socialization theory


In its fifth annual study, the National Center for Women and Policing reported that women continue to face widespread bias in police hiring and are under-represented because of biased selection practices and recruitment policies that keep their number artificially low. Once hired, women face discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and are maliciously thwarted as they move up the ranks. With respect to gender and organizational culture, the NCWP study failed to capture and describe the perceptions and socialization experiences of those who moved up into the specialized units, particularly female hostage negotiators. For this reason, the current study was designed to examine the lived experiences of 24 female hostage negotiators located in south Florida’s tri-county area. Through Moustakas’ transcendental phenomenological methodology, this investigation reveals and explains how women are socialized in hostage negotiations. The principal investigator used comprehensive descriptions and interpretation of the women’s experiences to highlight their socialization process. This investigation provides valuable insight about who these women really are, while providing a channel for their voices, their perceptions, and the feelings they experience as hostage negotiators, thereby proving valuable insight for selecting, training, and retaining future female hostage negotiators. Directions for future research as well as implications of the findings are offered.