This qualitative study explored female leaders' experiences with gender norms, implicit bias and microaggressions that they have experienced over the course of their careers. Research questions explored what gender norms exist, how they show up behaviorally in the workplace, and how gender norms, implicit bias and microaggressions impact women. 12 women participated in the study and were asked 12 interview questions. Participants' answers to these questions were coded to highlight themes. Themes were identified as communication diplomacy, leadership style, family commitments, physical appearance, and pink roles for data analysis. Key themes were summarized, and key research findings were discussed. Key recommendations for organizations and OD practitioners highlight the need for organization members' awareness on current gender norms, bias, and microaggressions, learning and development for all levels leadership to prevent and address issues, and ways to review current organization structure barriers and creating opportunities for representation within an organization.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Sex role in the work environment; Leadership in women -- Case studies; Prejudices

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Gary Mangiofico