Process of Constructing a Leader Identity for Women in Technology

Pham Pham Phuong Huynh, Fordham University


Findings show that many women professionals have exited the information technology (IT) workplace after some years given gendered barriers that have impeded their career advancement. However, a small group of women have successfully navigated the path to IT leadership and have emerged as effective leaders. To address the dearth of literature concerning their experiences, the present study examined the leader identity construction process of women professionals in IT. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a group of senior women IT leaders (N = 11). A constructivist grounded theory approach was applied to examine how women leaders experienced the process of attaining leadership in the information technology field and the resources and strategies they utilized to construct a leadership identity. Data analysis generated fourteen themes that formed the basis for a theoretical model positing that four processes informed the women's leader identity formation task: opportunities, challenges, salient life events, and resources and strategies. The findings suggest that future theorizing on women’s leadership apply a lens of strengths, resilience, and life experiences, while the practice of leadership include resilience and diversity trainings, self-empowerment, and self-care. Recommendations for future research are provided.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Information Technology|Womens studies|Occupational psychology

Recommended Citation

Huynh, Pham Pham Phuong, "Process of Constructing a Leader Identity for Women in Technology" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28093310.