Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Studies


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Abran Salazar


This study is intended to conduct a theoretical analysis of the perception of women as credible leaders in male-dominated organizations and its association with advancement. The factors associated with the failure of women to advance to leadership positions were examined and whether credibility contributes to this failure to advance. Inspired by the words of Roderick Hart, "What one studies inevitably affects how one studies it," I have approached this study with an analytical style to dissect pertinent theoretical perspectives (Hart, 1994, p. 75).

This study involved 120 participants from the Store Support Center of Consumer Value Store (CVS) located in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The participants completed a survey based on the McCroskey Source Credibility Scale to assess the relationship between source credibility and advancement. Two surveys were distributed: Survey One requested employees to indicate how they felt his/her manager or supervisor felt about them as an employee. Survey Two was distributed to a total of fourteen managers requesting their perceptions of their male or female employees. In addition, pertinent information was gleaned from participants who responded to a research question about barriers they encounter regarding advancement to a leadership or management position. In particular, participants were asked to indicate if credibility is considered a barrier to advancement in a male-dominated organization.

The results indicated that, first, no significant difference exists between men and women's perceived credibility in a male-dominated organization. Secondly, no significant data support the claim that women are not advancing at the same rate as men in a male-dominated organization. Important to this study are the obstacles to advancement identified by the participants, among which include family responsibilities, lack of mentoring programs and limited work-related experience.



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