Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Marilou Ryder, Ed.D.
Suzette Lovely, Ed.D.
Rebecca Pianta, Ed.D.
Purpose: The purpose of this explanatory mixed methods study was to identify and describe self-sabotaging behaviors experienced by female African American higher education chief executives and to explore the impact these behaviors had on their career development. A secondary purpose of this study was to identify the strategies employed by female African American higher education chief executives to overcome self-sabotaging behaviors.
Methodology: This explanatory mixed method study identified and described the lived experiences of eight female African American higher education chief executives across the United States. This research design encompassed a sequential data collection method using an electronic survey instrument to collect quantitative data, followed by one-one interviews for qualitative data collection. Based on the collection of survey and interview data, the researcher was able to triangulate data using the trends, categories, and patterns of self-sabotaging behaviors and the methods used to overcome them.
Findings: Data examination revealed that female African American higher education chief executives engaged in nine self-sabotaging behaviors during their quest to executive leadership positions. The behaviors adversely impacted their career advancement and mental and physical wellness. Intersectionality was a contributing factor to the development of self-sabotaging behaviors. The top three self-sabotaging behaviors identified were fear and worrying, thinking too small, and not taking time for reflection. The top three strategies identified to counteract self-sabotaging behaviors were building a power web, honest self-expression, and cultivating self-intimacy.
Conclusions: African American women participate in self-sabotaging behaviors throughout their leadership careers. The intersectionality of gender and race, childhood upbringing, and cultural background were influential in the development of self-sabotaging behaviors. The study also found that self-sabotaging behaviors adversely impact career development. African American women utilize a variety of strategies to counteract self-sabotaging behaviors. Building a power web was the number one strategy identified by female African American higher education chief executives to counteract self-sabotaging behaviors.
Recommendations: Further research is recommended to identify the self-sabotaging behaviors, and their impact on female college athletic executives, religious leaders, and other women striving for leadership positions. It is also recommended that research be conducted using different research methods.
Davis, nee Goodrum, La Toya, "Female African American Higher Education Chief Executives: An Explanatory Mixed Methods Study of Their Use of Personal Power to Dismantle Self-Sabotage" (2022). Dissertations. 453.