AbstractsWomens Studies

Effective Combat Leadership: How do Individual, Social, andOrganizational Factors in the U.S. Army Reserve Cultivate EffectiveWomen's Leadership in Dangerous Contexts?

by Diana Drita Ellerman

Institution: Antioch University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Women's Studies; Military Studies; combat; leader; military; US Army; women; female; Army Reserve; experience; danger; interviews; narrative; war; barriers; power; culture, dominate; leadership; individual; social; organization; respect; training; dignity; standard; mentor; trust
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2101036
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=antioch1456154602


This research centered on the experiences of a dozen women who served in U.S. Army Reserve leadership positions. Although they served in dangerous contexts the Army had an exclusionary policy at the time that formally excluded the women from direct combat. The impetus for the research was Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's announcement in January 2013 that the U.S. military would be eliminating the exclusionary policy. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into what individual, social, and organizational factors support women's effective leadership in dangerous contexts. The research utilized narrative inquiry in order to bring forth the essence of the lived experience of the women leaders. The research had two phases: phase one interviews, phase two panel discussion. In phase one, an unexpected outcome was that 75 % of interviewees discussed issues of gender bias and toxic leadership. In the second phase a panel of four military leaders (two men and two women who were not part of the first phase) offered validation for the interpretation and findings obtained from the interviews. The analysis of the interviews and panel discussion provided recommendations for individual, social, organizational, and cultural changes needed to correct dysfunctional gender and cultural biases and support women's leadership. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, http://aura.antioch.edu/, and OhioLINK ETD Center, http://etd.ohiolink.edu. Advisors/Committee Members: Guskin, Alan E. (Committee Chair).