Publication Date

Fall 2015

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Randall Capps (Director), Anthony Sanders, and Alma Hall

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


The purpose of the phenomenological qualitative study was to determine the way in which 10 African American women leaders in organizations in Western Kentucky made difficult decisions based on their ethical values. African American. The constructs reviewed in the study include ethics, decision making, leadership, and African American women. Empirical Phenomenology was used as the methodological approach for this qualitative study in order to understand the lived experiences that shaped the ethical values in the workplaces among the women. According to the findings, the seven overarching themes that emerged from the participant narratives are: (1) professing Christian, (2) ethical foundation from parents and/or grandparents, (3) mentorship, (4) values have not changed throughout career, (5) must prove myself as an African American, (6) must work harder than White workers, and (7) few or no other minorities in leadership in my agency. Due to the limited research available regarding American women, recommendations are made for further research on various topics regarding African American women, as well as women from other ethnic groups.


Educational Leadership | Social Psychology