Phenomenological Study of Lived Experiences of Leaders in a Women’s Fitness Program
The problem was women lag behind men in filling management leadership roles in the United States business world as women have fewer opportunities to learn leadership skills through athletic activities than men. Women are identified as leaders less often than men due to gender biases in society. The gap which exists in the literature is an exploration of how leadership development combined with physical fitness could address self-efficacy and leadership skills among women. The purpose of the phenomenological study was to identify the perceptions of participants in a women-focused, fitness-based, leadership development program. Understanding the impact of such a program on leadership skills and self-efficacy, which women could apply in professional and personal lives, was the goal of the study. Transformational Leadership Theory and Social Cognitive Theory were used to investigate how transformational leadership helped women learn leadership skills and self-efficacy from other women. The research questions guided the exploration of participants’ lived experiences, changed leadership capabilities and self-efficacy, and leadership impacts outside the program. Sixteen adult program participants located in the United States volunteered to participate in the study. Data collection was triangulated using questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and a focus group. Data analysis was conducted by coding and analysis of questionnaires and transcripts to identify common themes. Study results revealed the program participants gained or improved leadership skills and self-efficacy, which participants leveraged in personal and professional environments outside the organization. Other organizations could adopt similar leadership development programs to benefit women who seek leadership positions.
women’s leadership development, youth sports development