Date of Award

Spring 3-30-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Ryder

Second Advisor

Dr. Cote

Third Advisor

Dr. Scharpenberg


Purpose:The purpose of this phenomenological replication study was to discover what behaviors female administrators exhibit that may prompt male administrators with whom they work with in California public educationto demonstrate behaviors associated with gender dissonanceand to discover any impact these dissonant behaviors may have on women’s potential eligibility for advancement to the position of K-12 school superintendent.

Methodology:This qualitative phenomenological replication study explored the experiences of seven female and seven male K-12 public school superintendents in Orange, San Diego, and Riverside Counties in California. Respondents were selected based on delimiting criteria and a purposive criterion sampling method. Interview questions and protocols were performed based on the original study conducted by Dr. Ryder in 1998. An expert panel was assembled to evaluate the four interview questions and probes and field testing was conducted to further obtain feedback on the instrument and process. Face-to face interviews were conducted to collect data and software coded emergent themes aligned with the conceptual areas.

Findings:Examination of qualitative data was 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 the participants felt that behaviors associated with gender dissonance impact eligibility for advancement to the position of K-12 public school superintendent.

Conclusions: The study concluded that women need to gain confidence in order to move to higher leadership positions. Women need to be aware that their dress can cause dissonance. Women need to mentor/sponsor each other. Women need to display decisive decision-making abilities in leadership. Women are expected to meet all responsibilities both personally and professional. The #MeToo movement has impacted how men and women interact in educational administration. Emotions exhibited by females in the workplace need to be controlled. The good ol’ boys club continues to be prevalent in educational administration. Finally, men and women need to be aware of behaviors that prompt gender dissonance.

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