Partnered with power: How partners of university presidents navigate organizational structures and empower their roles, identities, and emotions



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This study examines the role experiences of female partners of presidents at doctoral-granting public institutions, the organizational communication used to shape and negotiate the role, the influence the role has on their identities, and the emotional management required in the role. The research questions were addressed through semi-structured interviews with 41 female partners at doctoral-granting institutions in the United States. The findings were interpreted through the lenses of organizational assimilation literature, Standpoint Theory, Co-Cultural Theory, and critical femininities literature. The results illuminated the various experiences women have in these roles and how they shape them to their advantage, which has implications for other partners of high-profile leaders, but perhaps also has implications for partners in committed relationships in general.



University Presidents, Gender Roles, Partner, Spouse, Organizational Assimilation, Critical Femininities, Standpoint Theory, Organizational Communication, Role Expectations, Identity, Emotional Management