Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Joshua Henson

Second Advisor

Dr. Neil Best

Third Advisor

Dr. Jolene Erlacher

Abstract

Most research on women in STEM in the United States has revolved around retention, barriers, turnover intention, and underrepresentation in businesses, governments, and universities. This quantitative correlational study investigated whether career commitment moderated organizational commitment among women working in STEM careers based on independent variables of organizational justice and perceived organizational support. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2020), in 2019, women made up 34% of the STEM workforce, or 12 million workers, and 52% of the non-STEM workforce, or 62 million workers. In 2006, President George W. Bush released the American Competitiveness Initiative for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Formal Education (Bush, 2006). In 2016, researchers advocated that STEM jobs in the United States are expected to increase to 1 million positions, 92% of which will require postsecondary education and training (Chen, 2013; Ellis et al., 2016; Olson & Riordan, 2012). The imbalance of women in STEM occupations reflects a lack of workforce diversity, which is valuable to organizations as it enriches innovation and organizational performance by representing differentiated backgrounds and experiences (Diaz-Garcia et al., 2013; Friedman et al., 2016; Herring, 2009; Hoever et al., 2012; Steele & Derven, 2015). Through the use of survey data from a sample of 111 working women in STEM careers in the United States, the hierarchical regression results were significant for two sub dimensions of organizational justice: interpersonal justice was significant (β = .331, p < .001) and informational justice (β = .290, p < .05) when career commitment was added as a moderator. Perceived organizational support showed significance representing 57% of organizational commitment (R2 = .567, p < .001). Recommendations for businesses include gathering similar survey data among STEM professionals to ascertain a more customized approach to relational skillsets among women in STEM. The findings of this study could also be applied to educational institutions seeking to survey and assess their STEM program curriculum and add further research on participants in STEM based on gender and long-term retention in STEM careers.


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