African American women public school superintendents: The relationship of self-efficacy and career performance

Noreen Alberta Hosier, Fordham University


The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate African American women public school superintendents in order to gain insight about the relationship of self-efficacy to career performance. Five African American women, who are presently superintendents of public school districts, were interviewed to determine the relationship of their life and career experiences to the development of their self-efficacy and career performance. By applying the performance segment of a social cognitive career model postulated to be applicable to racial and ethnic minorities, unique life and career experiences were uncovered that facilitated the attainment of the superintendency by the 5 African American women. The social cognitive approach uncovered information about the personal and professional lives of African American women superintendents, which had not been reported in previous literature on them. The analysis of the collected data revealed the following similarities about the participants: (1) They had exceptional mothers, who served as their first role models and greatly influenced their lives. (2) During their formative years, they encountered racial and ethnic discrimination and/or inequity in a school setting. (3) They experienced extraordinary successes in their careers, which served as a catalyst to their pursuing and/or accepting a superintendency. (4) They possessed a strong self-efficacy, which helped them to cope with gender, racial, and ethnic discrimination and to achieve their career goals. Even though the analysis of the collected data confirmed that African American women superintendents shared many similarities, they also had some unique differences in their lives and career experiences that have influenced the development of their self-efficacy and careers. The uniqueness of their experiences dispelled the notion that there is a monolithic model of African American women superintendents. The collected data presented supporting evidence that the participants' uniqueness was created by the distinctiveness of their sources of information which affected their self-efficacy and outcome expectations, and an ongoing, reciprocal interaction between three bi-directional influences: (a) person and behavior, (b) environment and personal characteristics, and (c) behavior and environment.

Subject Area

Educational administration|Womens studies|Black studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Hosier, Noreen Alberta, "African American women public school superintendents: The relationship of self-efficacy and career performance" (2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3056140.