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The role identities of women middle management academic leaders in STEM higher education

Qadhi, S., Du, X., Chaaban, Y., Al-Thani, H. and Floyd, A. ORCID: (2023) The role identities of women middle management academic leaders in STEM higher education. European Journal of Engineering Education. ISSN 1469-5898

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2023.2263377


Despite a growing number of women entering STEM-related professions and higher education, they remain underrepresented in taking up the role of middle management leaders. Once in their roles, they face multiple challenges in their attempt to balance numerous demands on their time and efforts. Working in a male-dominated culture increases the pressure on women middle management leaders to perform at a similarly high caliber. This study adopted a life history approach to narrative inquiry to explore the role identities of three female middle management leaders in one university in Qatar. Using the Dynamic Systems Model of Role Identity as a theoretical model, participants took part in a semi-structured interview during which they recounted their stories of past, present, and future. The findings of this study captured the rich, complex, dynamic, and contextualized nature of how the participants negotiated their identity formation in their academic leadership roles through their discursive practices of gender and leadership highlighting the values and beliefs of motherly care, trust and respect. With the self-perception of goal orientation, they engaged themselves in actions that enabled collegial support and encouraged colleagues to act. Despite a lack of structured professional training for leadership preparation, they generally replied on their prior experiences and efforts as strategies for leadership in doing. Family support was also considered a resource for balancing heavy workload for academic leadership and life commitments. The study concludes with ways to better support women academic leaders.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:113441
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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