Although women make up more than 50% of the student population at a theological institution, they are significantly underrepresented in leadership as evidenced by Lowe's 2011 study, which found that women account for fewer than 10% of CEOs in theological education. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine work-life balance as it relates to organizational commitment for women leaders in Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accredited schools. The researcher used a qualitative methodology employing the life course theoretical framework, sometimes called the narrative life story framework, which is based on Giele's (2008) original study. The interview questions were organized into four sections: childhood, young adulthood, current adulthood, and future adulthood. The interview questions explored the experiences (identity, relational style, drive and motivation, and adaptive style) that impact and form a women's life course and directly influenced her work-life balance. The research questions for this study were: 1. What experiences (identity, relationship style, drive and motivation, and adaptive style) have shaped the life course of women who are currently in administrative leadership positions at ATS? 2. What are the relationships between the various influences (faith, organizational commitment, and career goals) on work-life balance decisions? The researcher sent the questionnaire to women in the specific job position of President, Academic Dean, Dean, Dean and Vice-President of Academic Affairs, or Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty as defined by ATS. Ten women participated in the interviews and provided socio-demographic data. The findings indicated that these women who participated in this study connected and intermingled their faith with their lives at all levels. They viewed their calling and work as a part of God's purpose in their lives, and they derived significant meaning from that work. They valued professional and personal relationships that helped them achieve work-life balance in all areas of their lives. The key findings provided a composite of these women leaders working in ATS. In addition, the research study demonstrated that work-life balance and organizational commitment are both beneficial for ATS institutions and for women leaders working in the environment.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Work-life balance; Leadership in women; Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada; Women religious leaders

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Weber, Margaret J.;