Department

Leadership

Date of Paper/Work

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Dissertation

Advisors

Thomas L. Fish, Ed.D., Kathleen M. Boyle, Ph.D., and Rama Hart, Ph.D.

Abstract

“What are the lived experiences of professional working mothers?” An integrated theoretical model provided an historical context and framework for discovering distinctions between social discourse and individual lifestyles. Professional working mothers participated in phenomenological research with an introductory telephone call and two in-person interviews.

Through language and story, participants depicted what it means to be a professional working mother in contemporary, American society. Demographic characteristics included five female participants, who held a professional or executive level position. All participants earned a college degree and ranged in age from 30-65 with children living at home (ages ranged from 3-20). Additionally, four of the participants were married. Thematically, participants described their world in terms of employer and employee job expectations, an intertwining commitment to work and family, and living in alignment with one’s personal values when it comes to work-life balance. Mirroring the findings of similar studies, social conditioning, work culture, and technology heavily influenced their lived experiences as professional working mothers. Often prolonged work-life imbalances led to personal crises and fatigue; inspired to transcend old work-life paradigms, most women consciously created an integrated lifestyle, blending work and family to complement one another. Aligned with a global trend towards the integration of spiritual, social, and scientific/technological evolution, more research is required to (a) discern how self-identity and society co-create the lived experiences of professional working mothers; (b) research organizational development structures to support integrated lifestyles and, (c) evaluate the impact of ongoing work-life balance issues for future generations.

Keywords

Women, Professional, Professional Working Mothers, Work-life Balance, WLB, Work-family Conflict, WFC, Parents, Lived Experience, Phenomenology, Diversity, Spirituality, Flexibility, Benefits, FMLA

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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