Examining Women, Higher Education Leadership, and Political Skill: A Midwestern Community College System Study

Streaming Media

Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Niccole Hyatt

Committee Member

Patrick Bennett

Committee Member

Steven Tincher


Political skill has been defined as an informal set of behaviors that strive to influence and understand others, interpret social clues, appear sincere and trustworthy, and political skill is frequently used to gain knowledge for both personal and organizational achievement of goals (Kimura, 2015; Ferris et al., 2017). Research suggests that organizational leaders should possess political skill to be effective in the workplace (Ferris et al., 2007). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report in February 2021, women, over the age of 20, represent 57% of the labor force, yet in higher education, women hold more doctorates than men but fill only 32% of full professor's roles (Calsy and D'Agostino, 2021). This disparate representation could be a result of women not effectively using political skill in the workplace. Perrewe and Nelson (2004), Lawless and Fox (2005), and Davey (2008), and suggest that women have a lower probability of using political skill than men, are socialized to believe they do not possess political skill, and perceive political skill to be unfeminine. However, Phipps and Prieto (2015) found the perceptions of their political skill among female students to be greater than that of their male counterparts. This study adds to current research in political skill by analyzing the statistical relationship between women's political skill inventory score, race, age, and years of service in their higher education leadership role. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the degree of relationship among variables with the continuous variable, political skill, and continuous independent variables, age, race, and years of service in higher education. Data from the multiple regression analysis was used to answer the research question; is there a significant correlation between race, age, and years of service in higher education with political skill of women in leadership roles employed at the midwestern community college?