Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Miller, Daniel M.


The purpose of this study was to draw on ethic of care leadership orientation to document the perspectives of executive women in the home furnishings industry and the degree to which they are affected by gender difference or otherness from their predominantly male counterparts in the workplace. Three research questions were generated relating to the study’s purpose. 1) If women are shaped by society to develop an ethic of care orientation but spend years in organizations that value and reward justice orientation, how does this affect my informants’ views of themselves? 2) Do my informants perceive that adapting within a masculine work environment implies a separation from care orientation and adoption of justice orientation? 3) What are my informants’ perspectives on whether changing business conditions in a global, fast-paced economy are more conducive to a feminist ethic of care leadership approach? Utilizing narrative inquiry as the methodological strategy, informants were asked open-ended questions regarding their experiences as a woman executive in the home furnishings industry. Autoethnography was included as an additional strategy of inquiry. The researcher has a “shared cultural membership” (Pelias, 2011) with the informants, having spent over twenty years working in the home furnishings industry and having attained an executive level. Five distinct themes emerged as relating to the informants’ experiences: 1) advantages and