The last twenty-four years has seen the representation of women in top and senior management positions improve. However, black female professionals remain under represented in senior and top management positions in the private sector in South Africa. This study explores the leadership journeys of black female executives who have successfully climbed the corporate ladder in the private sector. Utilising a qualitative approach, data was collected through thirteen semi structured interviews. This study found that black female professonals encounter a number of external and internal barriers on their leadership jouneys and adopt a number of coping stratergies in order to overcome these challenges. Furthermore, these experinces play a role in shaping their personal and professional identities, often equipping them to be better and more effective leaders in their organisations. Finally, for most fitting in with the majority of the social groups with their organisations was a challenge. However being different and not fitting in had postive impact on their leadership effectiveness. Moreover, this required the participants to adopt alternative startegies to gain the respect of their peers and subordinates which, once again made them better leaders. This study achieves its objective of buliding on the literature documenting black African femaleÕs leadership journey however; given the homogenous nature of the sample, the transferability of the learnings across markets, races and genders is limited.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2018.