Follow her lead: understanding the leadership behaviors of women executives

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Leadership


Advisor: James Biddle


Critics of business school education cite a widening gap between scholarship and practice, and suggest both are necessary to both educate and inform the other (Bennis & O'Toole, 2005; Mintzberg, 2004; Pfeffer & Fong, 2002, 2004; Tushman, O'Reilly, Fenollosa, Kleinbaum, & McGrath, 2007). By generating rigorous, relevant research and helping corporations integrate theory into practice, executive education and other business school leaders can lessen the gap, increase the impact, and mend the relationships between corporations and the institution (Tushman et al, 2007). This research on the leadership behaviors of women executives addresses a gap in both research and practice (Helgesen, 1990; Kanter, 1977; Levitt, 2010; Marshall, 1995; Rosener, 1990). The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and a brief demographic questionnaire were completed by 320 executives (director, vice president or above) in a metropolitan Midwestern region of the United States in 2007-2008. The results determined that the frequency with which women executives demonstrated 29 of the 30 leadership behaviors did not differ from their male counterparts. Executive women reported that they used one leadership behavior, find ways to celebrate accomplishments" significantly more frequently than executive men."


Executives Sex differences, Business schools Management, Leadership in women, Adult education; administration; business education; curriculum development; education; educational leadership; gender; gender studies; management; organization theory; organizational behavior; leadership; gender; women; executive; executive education; LPI; leadership practices inventory; organizational behavior; leadership skills; management; business education; c-level leadership; leadership development; succession planning; corporate training

Rights Statement

Copyright 2012, author