Date of Defense




First Advisor

V. Jean Ramsey, Management

Second Advisor

Raymond E. Alie, Management

Third Advisor

Linda Delene, Marketing


The trend of women aspiring to and achieving professional career status in the 70s and 80s has prompted a substantial amount of research on the experiences and attitudes of women in organizations. Studies on the profile and experiences of businesswomen have obtained their results from women "older" than the recent business graduate.

Based on the literature, it appeared that the data base on equal employment opportunity for women contained a certain bias. Specifically, subjects have been mainly of the generation of senior women executives. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to broaden the women's studies database by exploring, gathering and analyzing data on the topics of equal opportunity, training, requisite characteristics for success, etc. from the recent female BBA's perspective.

The sample of this study included 313 1974, 1976, and 1978 female graduates from Western Michigan University's College of Business. A questionnaire was chosen as the data collection device and a pretest and pilot test were conducted before the final questionnaire was mailed. Responses and their frequency distribution were analyzed for the entire sample as well as for each of the specific years.

There were several findings: 1) a slight trend of the four years that women believe there is equal opportunity for advancement; 2) the most popular types and reasons for participation in training are company-related; 3) most respondents believed men and women should receive the same preparation for business success but also favored certain special preparation approaches and topics; 4) the most desirable credentials or characteristics women should possess for business success are performance and the desire for success; 5) more women favored the idea that organizations should change to further the success of women versus their own need for attitudinal or behavioral change; 6) most of the women surveyed have not changed their career aspirations since graduation; and 7) the educational opportunities for and treatment of the women at WMU has become increasingly favorable.

The study finalizes with suggested conclusions, possible implications, and several recommendations for future research.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only