Date of Conferral







James Bowman


Despite the positive changes occurring regarding American attitudes toward members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, empirical evidence indicates that LGBT individuals do not believe inclusive environments exist, as 48% of the population remains closeted at work. A gap exists in the literature relating to the formulation of practical solutions that establish and sustain inclusive environments. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to identify the possible influence of cultural lag on the workplace engagement of LGBT employees. Ogburn's cultural lag theory served as the conceptual framework. The following research questions guided the study: (a) The impact that antidiscrimination, social, legal, and organizational changes have had on LGBT employees, (b) the effect of cultural lag on the career paths of LGBT employees, and (c) best practices for implementing strategies that create and maintain inclusive environments for the advancement of LGBT employees. Purposeful snowball sampling led to the selection of individuals who were open about their sexual orientation in the workplace. Twenty-seven participants came from various industries within the Northeastern, Midwestern, Northwestern, and Western regions of the United States. Data were obtained from open-ended interviews and were coded to find themes and subthemes. The results indicated that generalizations can occur across geographical locations or work environments and identified emergent themes for recommended best practices and strategies for organizations. Implications for positive social change include a greater understanding of, and support for establishing and maintaining inclusive environments for LGBT employees.