Date of Award

Winter 1-14-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Marilou Ryder

Second Advisor

Dr. Jalin B. Johnson

Third Advisor

Dr. Carol Riley

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine and describe the career pathways of female art museum directors in the United States

Methodology: This phenomenological study described lived experiences of eight female art museum directors with over five years of directorship experience from museums with operating budgets over $10 million and in states that receive the highest private funding: CA, DC, IL, MA, NY, OH, PA, and TX. Data collection consisted of in-depth interviews using a scripted interview guide in research categories: a) motivation; b) career advancement; c) barriers; and d) support.

Findings: All major findings were evaluated by the theoretical framework and followed a phenomenological research methodology utilizing the four research categories. Eleven major findings effectively answered research questions and two unexpected findings were intrinsically related to all four research categories contributing to a comprehensive examination.

Conclusions: Four conclusions were successfully derived from findings and synthesized with the literature providing evidence of shared lived experiences: a) Female art museum directors are motivated by cultural work because they are genetically prepared to assume positions for public will; b) Female art museum directors advanced their careers as visionary leaders and brought change to societies through art and cultural work; c) Female art museum directors apply different strategies to overcome gender bias, but their main strength is self-reliance; and d) Female art museum directors do not expect support but are willing to support others.

Recommendations: Three future research recommendations were suggested to prominently position this topic within existing literature.

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