Date of Conferral







Lee Lee


Despite changes in the law and efforts by organizational diversity practitioners to expand leadership opportunities for people of color, there is still a sharp contrast in the ratio of white leaders to leaders of color. While much research exists regarding the diversity disparity in leadership, there is little research on factors that influence the motivation to lead. The purpose of this correlational study was to test critical race and leader categorization theories by comparing how the independent variables of white privilege, organizational belongingness, and racial stereotypes affected the dependent variable of motivation to lead of black American versus white American survey respondents. It was hypothesized that the independent variables correlated stronger for white Americans than for black Americans in predicting the motivation to lead. A self-selected sample of 179 adults, drawn from various industries in the United States, completed a voluntary, online survey. A quantitative, cross-sectional survey was designed to operationalize study variables and was adapted from existing instruments. Pearson correlations and a multiple linear regression aided in statistically understanding the variables' relationships. Results indicated that effects of white privilege and racial stereotypes had a statistically significant relationship with motivation to lead for black Americans, and organizational belongingness did not. Results also indicated that effects of racial stereotypes had a significant relationship with motivation to lead for the white American population while the other variables did not. This study has implications for positive social change by not only adding a sharper focus on the factors necessary for leaders of color to be successful, but also providing diversity practitioners a north star to change the leadership landscape.