Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Johanna S. Hunsaker, PhD, Chair; Daniel M. Miller, PhD, Member; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD, Member


coaching, communication, employee training, federal employees, gender, Leadership studies, middle managers, mentoring, morale, organizational career development culture, perception, quantitative, succession planning, supervisors


The purpose of this study was to examine whether differences emerged in federal male and female middle managers and supervisors' perceptions concerning organizational career development culture, succession planning components used for linking employee-training activities, reasons for succession planning and barriers impacting succession planning within their organization. Quantitative methodology supported this research study. A test-retest of the eighty-two-statement survey instrument was conducted for reliability among 40 participants (20 male and 20 female). The survey was then administered to 300 federal middle managers and supervisors (150 male and 150 female). Participants' grade level ranged from general schedule (GS) GS-12 to GS-15. Of the 300 surveys, 152 (51 percent) were returned. Grade level and gender were used as independent variables. The survey statements were identified as dependent variables. One and two-way ANOVA's were used to test the twelve hypotheses. The study revealed four categories that referenced gender differences in perceptions concerning the need to promote organizational career development culture: (a) communication; (b) morale; (c) career development; and (d) coaching and mentoring. Seventy-one percent of female participants at the GS-13 and GS-14 grade level responded with negative perceptions concerning these four categories. The theme that generated the most significant difference in support by both management level and gender was job rotational assignments. The themes of increased job opportunities, changing workload demands, database automation, identifying organizational short and long-term goals, and monitoring individual development plans were identified as participants' primary reasons for succession planning. Additionally, findings suggest that: (a) overburden of work; (b) managers placed in key positions without the necessary qualifications; (c) insufficient support from senior executives; and (d) senior executives' quick fix attitude were recognized as barriers impacting succession planning. Overall, 55 percent of the survey statements produced significant differences (α = .05). The findings resulted in four primary recommendations: (a) a need for additional research; (b) establishment of organizational career development culture; (c) implementation of a coaching and mentoring program; and (d) implementation of a succession-planning program. Both a coaching and mentoring model and a succession-planning model are included in this study.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access