Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Loretta Quigley, Ed.D.


The purpose of this qualitative study, using an interpretative phenomenological analysis methodology, was to identify if six women CEOs in New York State, who worked in the for-profit, not-for-profit, ambulatory and hospital, and nursing home healthcare subsectors of the healthcare industry encountered psychological barriers, such as low self-efficacy, low self-confidence, and low self-esteem, in their ascension to the CEO role, and if so, what strategies did they use to overcome those barriers. The semistructured interviews of the CEOs were analyzed and the findings revealed four concepts reflected in Bandura’s four sources of influence: performance, vicarious learning, verbal persuasion, and psychological state. Four superordinate themes emerged: natural ability, relationships, confidence building, and devalued unconscious bias, and four subordinate themes emerged: self-advocation, mentorship, self-expressed confidence, and performance anxiety barriers. The results revealed that the participants had more influence with institutional barriers than psychological barriers in their ascension. The implications, limitations, and recommendations for further studies are discussed based on themes, analyses, and conclusions drawn from this study.

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