Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Steven A. Gelb, PhD, Director; Equilla Luke, PhD; Mary Woods Scherr, PhD


collaborative working partnerships, gender, higher education, Leadership studies, perception, Phenomenology, undergraduates, University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA)


This study provides an in-depth description of mixed gender working partnerships in a collaborative effort over a one year period. The research identified differences between men and women in mutually collaborative working partnerships at the undergraduate level in order to also discover what was productive or problematic between those women and men in the partnerships. The research studied twenty-two UCSD undergraduate women and men who worked together in partnerships with mutual goals. The research utilized phenomenological interviewing techniques. The focus was the perceptions and experiences of the participants. The interviews were designed to address two primary research questions: 1) What contributes to a mutually agreeable and productive partnership between women and men engaged in collaborative work? 2) What is problematic between women and men engaged in collaborative work? The findings indicated that positive components for effective mixed gender partnerships included good communication, empowerment, constructive feedback, friendship, humor, common ground and intellectual growth and openness. Elements that were problematic were lack of initiative, poor communication, violation of confidentiality, sensitivity difference, relationships, different "wavelengths", and sexist stereotypes. Gender differences figured prominently in partnership difficulties. Men were generally perceived as being less responsible, nurturing, detail oriented and self-starting than women. The specific work tasks required by the partnerships seemed to influence the outcomes. Recommendations based on the findings were to support mixed gender partnerships through gender awareness training, mediation, more accountability and supervisory intervention, facilitating an environment for common ground, reducing gender bias in performance standards, opportunities for social events, encouraging empowerment, and a commitment to affirmative action.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access