This research study was designed to determine how the intersection of race and gender identities contributed to the elements of leadership development as perceived by eight African American female executives in academia and business. The researcher sought to explore strategies future leaders might utilize to address leadership development and career ascendency for African American females who aspire to leadership roles. A phenomenological research method was most appropriate for this research study to capture the lived experiences of individuals from their perspectives and to develop themes that challenged structural or normative assumptions.

This research study examined leadership development of eight African American female leaders in two distinct enterprises: academia and business. In both sectors, changes prompted by economic challenges, competition, globalization, and demographic projections have significantly challenged the ability to develop leadership capabilities among African American women. While women have been entering the workforce in greater numbers and making progress into management and professional positions, access to senior leadership ranks remains limited for African American women. As evidenced by studies recorded in the literature, it is prudent to investigate the leadership development modalities required to identify and develop African American female leaders.



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