Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Sharon Radd

Second Advisor

Rebecca Hawthorne

Third Advisor

Paula Hart


Organizational Leadership


Of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies, women comprise 45% of the labor force, yet occupy only one in four executive leadership roles and 4.4% of Chief Executive Officer positions (Catalyst, 2015). Female executives often face the challenges of being both a woman in the workforce and an executive. Dealing with significant challenges and adversity on a daily basis can affect long-term professional and personal endurance (Kenworthy, Fay, Frame & Petree; Kwoh, 2013; Lian & Tam, 2014; Loh, 2010). For the purpose of this paper, effective endurance is defined as the ability to face long-term challenge and adversity while maintaining physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Contemporary research on female executives focuses heavily on barriers to career advancement, strategies to obtain executive positions, and tactics used to manage work/life roles. Very little research exists to identify the unique perspectives, beliefs, and values these women hold that encourage their professional endurance. This thesis explores the worldviews of nine female executives who positively identified as effectively enduring long-term professional challenge throughout their careers. Five categories of endurance-supporting worldviews emerged from this research: Stay True to Self, View Challenge as Opportunity, Let Go of Perfection, Cultivate Professional Networks, and Express Gratitude. Additionally, all nine women presented Future Time Orientation, Inward Activity Direction, and External Control Location worldview orientations (Koltko-Rivera, 2004) that prove countercultural to the norms of Corporate America.