Date of Conferral







Stacey Orr Sprague


The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported workforce disparities in the representation of minority ethnic groups in leadership positions for more than 5 decades. In 2011, Executive Order 13583 initiated the Government-wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, directing federal agencies to recruit a diverse workforce, cultivate inclusion across occupations, and develop strategies to enable leading a diverse workforce. This plan is important considering other research studies show various approaches to understanding leadership behaviors; however, empirical studies have yet to explore if there is a relationship between ethnic identity and leadership style to inform diversity and inclusion efforts. The purpose of this nonexperimental, cross-sectional, correlational study was to examine the relationship between leadership style and ethnic identity through the nigrescence model pertaining to Black identity theory. The research questions in this study explored predictive relationships between leadership style and ethnic identity in the context of gender and age. Study participants were 185 African American leaders randomly selected from 9 organizations in the federal government, historically Black colleges and universities, and private companies. Data were collected through the Cross Racial Identity Scale, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, and demographic surveys. Results of multiple regression analyses and multivariate analyses revealed significant predictive relationships amongst leadership style (transformational, transactional), ethnic identity, gender, and age (Millennial, Generation X, Baby Boomers). The increased understanding that diverse leadership styles exist across ethnic groups, gender, and generation could help to improve leader-follower relationships and promote positive social change that enables diversity and inclusion in the workplace.