Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Learning and Instruction


Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Busk

Second Advisor

Robert Burns

Third Advisor

Gleb Nikitenko


This study was conducted to investigate the effects of a leadership-development training workshop on leadership behaviors among women software engineers in a California Silicon Valley engineering community with a two-phase, mixed-methods research design. The training workshop was developed using a framework for developing leadership-behavioral competencies among women (LBCW), which was congruent with theoretical principles for women’s leadership development.

LBCW was comprised of four competencies: self-advocacy, social networking, psychological capital, and goal orientation. A pretest–posttest comparison-group design was used to assess the effects of the training on LCBW among 70 participants with four instruments: the Leadership Development and Activities Instrument, the State Hope Scale, the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire, and the Leadership Efficacy Questionnaire. Both treatment and comparison groups received the pretest, the treatment group received the training, and the comparison group did not. The treatment group also received a posttest. LBCW was assessed qualitatively through 14 hour-long interviews with women who attended the training.

Quantitative analyses indicated that women who attended 4 hours of leadership training had statistically significant higher scores for leadership efficacy, authentic leadership, and near-term goal orientation efficacy, but lower scores for resilience to gender bias and self-directed leadership-development compared with those who did not attend training.

In interviews, women engineers reported an increase in social-networking activities, self-advocacy behaviors, and enhanced positive psychological states, but reported no increase in likelihood to identify as a potential entrepreneurial leader.

No statistically significant relationships were found between level of education or years of work experience and the measures of LBCW used in this study, which suggested that women software engineers may not be learning leadership competencies at work or in school.

It was concluded that knowledge on social-networking behaviors was readily assimilated into women’s routines but that the training was insufficient to instill self-directed learning behaviors or cultivate interest in entrepreneurism as an alternative career path among the women.

More research is needed to understand why resilience to gender bias decreased in women who were trained and to investigate how to raise women’s ability to address gender biases in the workplace without increasing their vulnerability to its effects.