This study involves women in the Air Force Reserve who have been promoted to one of the three top enlisted ranks. The goal is to understand the conflict management styles and strategies used by these women in the process of attaining their rank and how they perceive those strategies to have impacted their careers. This qualitative study examines the patterns of strategies and styles that emerge from the interviews. The women in this study are in leadership roles by virtue of their rank (members of the top-three enlisted ranks of the Air Force Reserve.) Based on grounded theory along with a design strategy of naturalistic inquiry, this study was conducted by interviewing 41 women. These interviews revealed deeper insights to the conflicts experienced by these top enlisted members. Women are rarely viewed as soldiers, and wearing the same rank does not afford women the same respect as men in the same rank. By looking at the conflict strategies and the leadership roles as discussed by the women interviewed, this study shows a great need for policy revision. This becomes evident by the underlying conflicts in the day-to-day lives of the women who work in this environment.
Sandra Dye received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She has been a member of the Air Force Reserve at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana since 1991. Active Duty she served at Chanute Air Force Base, IL. She currently serves at Grissom Air Reserve Base, IN.