Date of Award

Spring 3-28-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Marilou Ryder

Second Advisor

Dr. Sumer Avila

Third Advisor

Dr. Myrna Cote


Purpose: The purpose of this mixed-method study was to identify and describe self-sabotaging behaviors experienced by female judges and to explore the impact these behaviors have on their career development. A secondary purpose of this study was to identify strategies employed by female judges to overcome self-sabotaging behaviors.

Methodology: This mixed-method study explored the lived experiences of eight female State trial court judges in California who self-identified that they have experienced self-sabotaging behaviors throughout their career. Convenience and snowball sampling were utilized to identify women who met the delimiting criteria for participation in the study. An electronic survey instrument and interview questions were developed by a team of four thematic peer researchers with the guidance of faculty. The researcher deployed an electronic survey to participants to identify the most prevalent self-sabotaging behaviors and a follow up face-to-face interview was conducted to gather rich data on the lived experiences of participants. The interviews were transcribed and reviewed for emergent themes to ensure that the data collected were in alignment with answering the research questions.

Findings: The findings were identified in alignment with the Nine Domains of Women’s Personal Power and the corresponding self-sabotaging behaviors within each domain. 20 key findings were identified based on the frequency of references by study participants who have experienced self-sabotaging behaviors in their leadership careers.

Conclusions: The 20 key findings were summarized into nine conclusions that include, women need to recognize their own potential, women must approach fear in productive ways, women must understand themselves and give themselves credit, female leaders need to be authentic, women need to act with confidence, women must engage in daily self-reflection, women need to build a support network, female leaders need to inspire other women, and women should not exploit their sexuality in the workplace.

Recommendations: Future research should include replication studies that examine the research topic within a broader population and sample size of female judges. Further research should also be with women from different careers and ethnicities.