Devon E. Carroll, Carrie A. Stephens, Christopher T. Stripling, John C. Sorochan, and James T. Brosnan. (2021). Women in Turf: A Qualitative Study Examining How Women Have Sustained Their Leadership Role in the Turfgrass Industry. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(4), 139-157. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.04138

Abstract

Women are a traditionally underrepresented demographic in the turfgrass industry. As the industry faces labor shortages, increased recruitment and retention of women to the field may reduce labor issues. The purpose of this descriptive study was to explore the lived experiences of 13 female leaders in the turfgrass industry representing diverse job titles, years of experience, and geographic locations. The objective of this research was to promote change within the turfgrass industry and subsequently increase female recruitment efforts by identifying barriers faced uniquely by women and influences on female leadership success. To discover this information, participants engaged in 30-to-90-minute semi-structured interviews with the central research question, “What lived experiences have shaped your career in the turfgrass industry?” Transcriptions of interviews were open-coded and used to develop six main themes: (a) career paths, (b) mentorship involvement, (c) leadership styles, (d) challenges, (e) opportunities for personal growth, and (f) opportunities for industry growth. Interviewed women proved to be vibrant leaders in the industry and faced similar challenges in their journeys to leadership including inappropriate peer conduct, difficulty building a family, and overcoming stereotypes. Women sustained career success by engaging in self-efficacy through educational development, mentorship, and personal growth. These findings can be used by both women and men in the turfgrass industry to improve current culture for women

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