The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of female leaders and their role in using nonlinear models of change to influence organizational change. This study was designed to determine how approaches to change leadership deployed by female leaders contribute new information and principles to the field of organizational change. A phenomenological research method was the best approach to capture the insights, perspectives, and experiences of female leaders. This study examined the nonlinear change approaches of fourteen senior female leaders in large corporations. While female leaders are increasing in the executive suite, research around their role in change leadership remains limited. This qualitative, phenomenological study examined how fourteen female leaders used different strategies and approaches to lead organizational change. Their experiences, documented through the interview data, encompassed their personal philosophies and approaches in influencing change initiatives. The data gathered was analyzed to develop themes that scholars and female leaders could analyze and apply in the field of change management. The female leaders in this study shared five key strategies that they used to lead change: (a) Relatedness Strategies, (b) Inclusion Strategies, (c) Experiential Learning Methods, (d) Radar-emotion Detection Strategies, and (e) Authenticity and Trust Strategies. These strategies indicated a nonlinear approach to leading change that focused on intervention strategies that could be applied at any stage in the change journey. Four main conclusions can be derived from this study: (a) Effective change strategies need to be intervention driven; (b) The change leader functions best as an interceptor and connector within the organization; (c) Strategies to change require approaches that create inclusion and trust; and (d) Strategies to change should involve experiential learning designs. This study shed light on new methods and approaches for leading complex organizational change from a female perspective in corporations. Moreover, this research was relevant given the demographic changes in society and the strategic role that female leaders play today in corporations and will in the future.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Women in leadership; Organizational change; Women executives

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rhodes, Kent;