Date of Award

Summer 4-9-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Marilou Ryder

Second Advisor

Jeffery Lee

Third Advisor

Michael Goold


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine, understand, and describe the challenges women face to advance to middle management (lieutenant and captain) in the California Highway Patrol (CHP). The study focused on the individual lived experiences of female California Highway Patrol captains and lieutenants as they rose through the ranks of the CHP.

Methodology: The phenomenological qualitative methodology was utilized to understand the lived experiences of 7 female lieutenants and 5 female captains. In-depth personal, semistructured interviews were conducted to answer the research questions and subquestions. The researcher analyzed data collected and utilized NVivo to reveal patterns and themes.

Findings: The findings were identified through 28 themes and 681 frequencies among the 6 elements of the lived experiences of female lieutenants and captains on their path to leadership. Eight key findings and one unexpected finding were identified based on the frequency of references by study participants.

Conclusions: The 8 key findings were summarized into conclusions that included having advanced degrees prior to pursuing a career, having field experience prior to advancement to leadership, taking family considerations into account before joining the CHP, having mentors throughout their career, being physically and mentally prepared when entering the academy, making a difference, and building relationships throughout their career. Additional conclusions included the politics of the promotion should apply to women and men equally, and sexual harassment should not occur nor be tolerated.

Recommendations: Future research should include examining the promotional process for both men and women in the CHP, replicating this study using another large law enforcement agency, studying recruitment of women in the CHP, exploring the experiences of women during the academy and their experiences during the break-in period, and researching the experiences of women concerning sexual harassment within the CHP.