Date of Award

Fall 11-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Marilou Ryder

Second Advisor

Dr. Sumer Avila

Third Advisor

Dr. Carol Riley


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative, replication study was to discover what behaviors female administrators exhibit that may prompt male administrators with whom they work in California public education to demonstrate behaviors associated with gender dissonance and also to determine what impact these dissonant behaviors may have on women’s potential eligibility for advancement to the position of high school principal.

Methodology: This qualitative phenomenological study examined the experience of six male and six female high school principals in Riverside County, California. Purposive criterion sampling method was applied to identify participants based on delimiting criteria. The researcher collected and coded data from in-depth interviews.

Findings: Examination of qualitative data from the 12 high school principals were aligned to the four conceptual areas: role confusion, communication differences, cultural differences, and women’s personal power. Findings show that females display specific behaviors associated with gender dissonance that cause men to exhibit dissonant behaviors. The majority of study participants concur that behaviors associated with gender dissonance impact eligibility for advancement to the position of high school principal.

Conclusions: The study supported the conclusions that women should manage their professional brand. Women need to focus on building one another up and supporting each other. Men still view women as imposters in the role of high school principal and women feel the need to prove themselves in their role. Women need to be decisive when making decisions and stand by those tough decisions. The #MeToo movement has had unintended consequences on the educational administration environment. Women need to work on controlling emotions in the workplace and need to be more direct in their communication. Finally, the good ol’ boy culture is prevalent in educational institutions.

Recommendations: Eight areas of further research were recommended to increase the body of literature, including other replication studies with different populations.