Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher and Adult Education


Higher Education

Committee Chair

Mitsunori Misawa

Committee Member

William Akey

Committee Member

Larry McNeal

Committee Member

Charisse Gulosino


Both societal and institutional barriers exist that keep females from fully participating in all aspects of the job market, including preparatory training. This is particularly true for jobs that are considered nontraditional for women, including: welding, machine tool, automotive mechanics, and aircraft maintenance. These types of jobs typically have higher wages and better benefits than other jobs. This narrative study focused on the experiences of nine female adult learners enrolled in postsecondary training programs preparing them for careers in nontraditional occupations. Utilizing a narrative inquiry methodology, the purpose of this study was to understand how female adult learners enrolled in training programs preparing them for nontraditional careers, employed emotional labor strategies to help them cope and succeed using Hochschild's Theory of Emotional Labor and how their experiences influenced their positional and relational identities. The two research questions that guided the study were:1. In what ways do female adult learners, who are enrolled in training programs preparing them for nontraditional occupations, employ anticipatory or reactionary strategies as it relates to Hochschild's Theory of Emotional Labor?2. What are the implications of Hochschild's Theory of Emotional Labor and training programs for nontraditional occupations on the positional and relational identities of female adult learners?Data were collected using in-depth interviews and nonparticipant observations. A thematic analysis was used to examine how the learners were employing Emotional Labor strategies and how their positional and relational identities were impacted by these strategies. Three themes emerged from the data analysis: 1) Situated in a Gendered Field; 2) Power and Authority of Knowledge; and 3) Social Opprobrium. A number of explanations were considered for why women typically do not pursue training in nontraditional occupations including occupational segregation and the gendered nature of social life. Despite those obstacles, there are a limited number of women who are pursuing training in careers where they constitute less than twenty-five percent of the occupational workforce. The implications of this study include recommendations for training for instructors and staff who work with these students; a proactive strategy to train all students on sexual harassment prevention; implementation of support groups for these students and financial aid programs designed to support female adult learners to pursue nontraditional occupations.Keywords: theory of emotional labor, occupational segregation, positional identity, and relational identity


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.