Black Women's Career Advancement in the City of Seattle: A Phenomenological Study
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This qualitative study was intended to understand how Black women employed in a government municipality advanced to upper supervisory positions and to the top 25% of wage earners since the city’s data reveal this is a challenging endeavor for Black women. A phenomenological inquiry was used to gather data through semistructured interviews from Black women in upper supervisory positions and in the top 25% of wage earners in the city. Eight Black women with a minimum of one year in their positions participated in the study. Criterion sampling was used in this study because the participants met a predefined criterion, and had a shared experience, but varied in characteristics and in their individual experiences (Moser & Korstjens, 2017). The data collection and analysis were grounded in Critical Race Theory, Critical Race and Black Feminist Theory, and Intersectionality Theory. Data analysis included open coding, categorizing, and making sense of the essential meaning of the phenomena from rich descriptive data to see what common themes emerged from these women (Tai & Ajjawi, 2016). A careful and repeated review of the interview transcripts was conducted to ensure accurate data descriptions were documented from the transcription of the interviews through member checking, that the phenomenological reduction was maintained throughout the analysis through bracketing and reflexivity, that essential meanings were discovered, and the structure articulated, and that the raw data verified the results (Kleiman, 2004). The results of this study yielded best practice strategies Black women can use to address and mitigate obstacles and overcome challenges advancing to upper supervisory positions from the perspective of Black women as told by them from their lived experiences. The goal of the study was also to provide recommended best practices for executive leadership and supervisors to implement to provide an environment for success for Black women and women of color as proposed by the women in this study.