Date of Conferral
Donna K. Brown
African American women's (AAW) presence has increased in the corporate workforce, but this increase has not transferred to a comparable rise in leadership positions. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences AAW faced relating to race and gender differences that influenced their leadership development and limitations on advancement in Fortune 500 corporations. The research problem addressed in this study was the underrepresentation of AAW in senior leadership positions within Fortune 500 corporations and what can increase their representation and retention in senior level positions. The 10 participants included African American women holding senior level positions in corporate America. The concepts of race, gender, and stereotyping derived from intersectionality theory, critical race theory, black feminist theory, and racial microaggression were the foundation for the conceptual framework. The data collected through semistructured interviews were analyzed using the modified van Kaam method. Four themes emerged including race, gender, stereotyping in the workplace, and the lack of AAW led mentorship programs. The findings of this study may contribute to social change by assisting organizational leaders in policy changes to support the concerns of AAW in leadership roles around the lack of diversity and mentoring programs to increase retention and new recruitment.