Date of Conferral
The number of African American women filling manufacturing leadership positions has continued to be severely disproportionate to the number of African American women in manufacturing. This disproportion is problematic because it undermines the intention and effort to build inclusive workplace cultures. This disproportion also negates the industry's advances in organizational diversity and inclusion initiatives. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine the lived experiences and perceptions of 10 African American women who entered manufacturing with aspirations for career growth. The theoretical framework for the study included Tajfel's social identity theory. The participant perceptions were examined to understand the effect of organizational inclusion strategies on promotion aspirations. The study involved analyzing participant transcripts and then coding for emerged themes. Key findings revealed that inclusion strategies influence promotion and promotion aspirations. It was also concluded that these women benefited professionally when their organizations implemented and committed to inclusion strategies such as mentoring, social inclusion events, and leadership development. The study also found that as the careers progressed for many of the women, their ability to impact positive social change increased through role modeling these learned disciplines. The implications for positive social change from this research include recommendations for organizations and human resource departments. The recommendations include evidenced-based strategies which capitalize on the benefits of leadership mentor initiatives for women, particularly African American women.