Date of Conferral







Dr. Daphne Halkias


Even with the rise of racial diversity in the workplace, African American women remain underrepresented in upper management and organizational leadership positions, making up only 1% of U.S. corporate officers. The purpose of this qualitative narrative inquiry study was to explore the daily experiences of African American women middle managers in regard to stereotype threat and the effect of these experiences on their engagement with leadership aspirations. The narrative inquiry method was used to address this gap and answer the research question, through storytelling from African American women in middle-management positions. This study was framed by 2 key concepts that focus on minority group workplace experiences with stereotype threat and the implications of these experiences on minority group members for their engagement with leadership aspirations: Inzlicht and Kang’s concept of stereotype threat spillover and Major, Spencer, Schmader, Wolfe, and Crocker’s concept of psychological disengagement. The data-gathering process involved semistructured telephone interviews with 7 college-educated African American women, in U.S.-based organizations, in which participants told the story of their stereotype threat experiences in middle management roles. Two of the 5 key themes uncovered were impact of stereotype threat spillover and disengagement from leadership and career aspirations. The information gathered from the narrative study will help drive social change by bringing awareness to the issue and reducing threat experiences of disadvantaged groups across organizations.