Date of Award

Spring 3-14-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Julia Hadden

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Mueller


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to discover and describe the political styles of successful women classified managers within California’s central coast region who advanced from middle management to top-level management level positions within an educational agency. In addition, it was the purpose of this study to explore and understand the political strategies that they perceived enhanced or hindered their ability to be promoted.

Methodology: This phenomenological study captured the stories of classified women managers’ lived experiences as they successfully advance in their careers to high-level management positions within an educational agency. A sample size of 15 participants was selected from amongst ACSA award-winning successful women classified managers working for educational agencies in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. The researcher used the political styles and strategies framework from The Politically Intelligent Leader (White, Harvey, & Fox, 2016) to collect rich, descriptive data on the experiences of the participants.

Findings: Examination of the data from interviews, observations, and artifacts from 15 participants revealed that successful women classified managers within educational agencies identify most closely with the Strategist political style. The research showed that the political strategy of “building trust” to be the one that the successful women found to be most effective.

Conclusions: This study concluded that successful classified women managers use the political style of Strategist to navigate their way to top-level positions within educational agencies. In addition, this study concluded that the most used political strategy of successful women classified managers to be “building trust”.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended to replicate this study of political styles and strategies from the perspective of other populations within educational agencies, such as: men who are successful classified managers in educational agencies, and staff level employees who work in educational agencies, as well as expanding the study to include other states beyond California. It is also recommended that a single long-term case study be considered that follows a woman classified employee as she moves from an entry-level position to a top-level management position to determine if political styles and strategies changes as position levels change.