Career development factors of black women who work in the professions
Beach-Duncan, J. Adrienne L.
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to examine the factors that influence the career development of Black American women who work in the professions. This research focused on understanding the factors that influenced and sustained the career development of Black women. Determining the common patterns found in the career development of Black women in the professions was also emphasized in this research. Although narrative analysis tools were not used this qualitative study honored oral narrative research and the essence of the participant’s story. The sample comprised ten Black professional women: two attorneys, two bankers, two pharmacists, and four physicians. The respondents, who were assigned pseudonyms, ranged in age from 30 to 54. Semi-structured interviews were used to capture the respondents’ narratives. The tape-recorded interviews and field notes were transcribed verbatim to enhance the narrative analysis. The transcribed data underwent constant comparative open coding to allow the formulation of categories and themes that were congruent across the transcripts to emerge. It was concluded that the career development of these participants was influenced by several factors: their immediate and extended families and communities. The sustaining factors for these women who worked in the professions were their spirituality and determination. The common patterns of career development for these participants included their pursuit of educational excellence and being empowered by a sisterhood of Black women. An analysis of the data revealed that families and communities influenced the career development of the ten women in this study. Spirituality was found to be a sustaining factor. The data disclosed that childhood career goals were realized when combined with carefully orchestrated academic preparation. Occasionally, career dreams were deferred because of family responsibilities or conflict with a spouse’s professional objective. An overshadowing characteristic of the data revealed the significant value placed on educational achievement by the participants and their families. Overwhelmingly, the data exposed barriers of race and gender and for some respondents the existence of a glass-ceiling, an invisible barrier to career development. Finally, the data showed that giving back to community was a major attribute observed in the respondents.