The purpose of this research study was to explore the work-life balance of women in Chair positions within medical academic institutions and to research their ability to balance roles at work and home. The study wanted to investigate the impact of a prestigious leadership position on their lives. The study explored the reason for their success in such a male-dominated position and how they obtained such a position. The women who participated in this study gave accounts for their triumphs and disappointments during the data collection phase of the study.

This research was a phenomenological study based on three theoretical literature foundations: Work-Family Border Theory; Role Balance Theory; and Career Compromise Theory. Research and interview questions were developed from these three theories to determine if these women were able to accomplish a work-life balance at any level during their time as a Chair. The study was developed using the determination if children, aging parents, and being married could be a factor in achieving work-life balance. The study was focused on the southern region of the United States with participants of the study being located through the AAMC website. The researcher conducted qualitative interviews with each participant based on their time and availability. This interview approach was conducted so that each participant expressed their feelings, thoughts, and experiences.

Findings were discovered through the process of transcribing the interviews, coding transcriptions, and having themes revealed for each interview question. Interview questions themes were discussed individually and ending with aggregated themes for each research question. A summary of findings were included for the reader. To conclude, each research question findings were discussed including implications for theory, research, and practice, limitations, and future research opportunities.

Date of publication

Fall 11-16-2018

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Jerry Gilley, Dr. Judy Sun, Dr. Ann Gilley, Dr. Paul Roberts


Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Development