Date of Conferral



Doctor of Information Technology (D.I.T.)


Information Systems and Technology


Nicholas Harkiolakis


The cyber threat landscape has led some cybersecurity leaders to focus on a holistic approach encompassing people, processes, and technology to make their government agencies and organizations more responsive to a more diverse and inclusive cyber workforce to protect critical infrastructure from hackers or cybercriminals intent on causing harm. This qualitative multiple case study used Schein’s organizational culture theory to explore strategies used by cybersecurity leaders to attract, recruit, and retain diverse cybersecurity professionals to effectively and efficiently protect sensitive systems from rising cyber threats. The study's population consisted of cybersecurity leaders from 3 government agencies and 9 organizations in small, medium, and large enterprises in the Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan area in the United States. The data collection process included semistructured interviews of cybersecurity leaders (N = 12) and the analysis of publicly available documents and presentations (n = 20). Data triangulation and member checking produced major and minor themes to increase the study findings’ validity. Thematic analysis was used to identify 5 prominent themes: maintain a diverse and inclusive approach to recruitment; continuous training and development; maintain a culture of openness and teamwork; top leadership support; and overcoming challenges to cyber talent attraction, recruitment, and retention. The study findings showed that valuing all diversity may enable cyber teams to execute cybersecurity functions and missions promptly with a variation of thought and lenses. The study findings may contribute to positive social change by improving diversity, inclusion, work-life balance, morale, stress-levels, and opportunities for women and minorities in the cyber workforce.