Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Nicole E. Conroy


This study provides a comparative analysis of female and male Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets' experiences with the United States Army leadership doctrine, given the hypermasculine Army culture with deeply engrained gender norms and expectations that have long privileged men and masculinity. Using Risman's (2004) theory of gender as social structure, I explore the historical, hyper-masculine cultural norms and expectations of Soldiers in the Army at the structural, interactional, and individual levels. In particular, I study the Army leadership doctrine (structural) as experienced by ROTC cadets, including their self-perceptions of leadership ability and attitudes about leadership (individual) and their perceptions of how others' rate their leadership ability (interactional). Focus is placed on specified United States Army leadership attributes which prescribe how leaders should behave, think, learn, and lead in the Army; in other words, traits that are inherent to the Soldier. These attributes are poorly defined in Army leadership doctrine and left to interpretation by individual Army leaders. This ambiguity creates a potentially discriminatory environment against female Soldiers generally and female leaders specifically.

Participants reported on their own ability to demonstrate the Army prescribed leadership attributes, how they think others perceive their ability to demonstrate Army prescribed leadership attributes, as well as individual leadership conceptualizations and values. Overall, findings suggest that female and male ROTC cadets experience leadership within the context of the Army differently. Female cadet self-perception of ability to demonstrate Army leadership attribute mean scores were generally lower than male cadet mean scores. Further, findings suggest that male cadets generally think others believe they are better leaders than they view themselves, whereas female cadets generally think others believe they are worse leaders than they view themselves. This deeply engrained cognitive bias towards privileging male leaders over female leaders remains and is evident in the ways in which female and male cadets think others view their leadership abilities. Although women have served alongside men in the Army for decades, masculinity remains hegemonic in the Army, and it is within these masculine values that women are expected to lead and serve.



Number of Pages

130 p.