Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Faculty of Education


The purpose of a study of creativity under the glass ceiling was to make a contribution to a viable theory of creativity. Six case studies were constructed in which each of six women talked about an individual experience of creative work in a distinct domain. These data were not fully included in the early development of a contextual theory of creativity. The initial proposal of a contextual theory of creativity was developed by asking questions of visibly creative people. Because women were not found in sufficient numbers at the top of many domains or professions, these important questions were not asked of them. When women�s data appeared in the research they were not valued. In this way contextual theory failed to show a complete understanding of creativity phenomena and was not tested on diverse populations. The six stories came from interviews with women who demonstrated a serious commitment to their work in different domains. The interviews and the analysis were structured on the contextual framework developed by Csikszentmihalyi and Gardner. The cases challenged the contextual view of creativity by using the contextual framework with women and by trying to determine whether the contextual theory could accommodate these and other different experiences of creativity. Analysis of the case studies showed that the women�s experience of creativity was captured and explained by the contextual framework. The new dimensions of creativity discovered by this research extend the theory, enabling greater flexibility in further testing on other populations and situations. This study of creativity under the glass ceiling offers support for a social theory of creativity that is inclusive of varied experiences of creative enterprise. The theory, made inclusive by this process, provides a more comprehensive understanding of creative phenomena.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.