Personal Connections And Career Reflections: Examining Social Networks And Career Choices Of African American Women Community College Leaders
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentCommunity College Leadership Program
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Community College Education
The purpose of this qualitative multi-case study was to examine the role of social networks in the career decisions and leadership of female African American community college senior leaders. The under-representation of women and people of color in leadership is not a new issue, and higher education has acknowledged this lack of representation as both a challenge and an opportunity. Networking is one of many strategies that successful leaders have identified as contributing to their success. This research explored how networks of African American women community college senior leaders are constructed and how they used the resultant resources for professional growth and career progression. Social capital theory provided the framework to characterize the lived experiences of African American women community college leaders as their careers evolved, with particular focus on network characteristics and networking behaviors, and to examine and draw conclusions about one grand tour question and three sub-questions. While social capital researchers used different models to explain the interaction that builds resources, there is agreement that social networks have value. For study participants, social networks provided access to social capital that influenced their career choices and outcomes.