Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Learning, Leadership and Change

First Advisor

Marty Martinez

First Committee Member

Delores McNair

Second Committee Member

Michael Marion

Third Committee Member

Laura Hallberg


According to current U.S. labor statistics, Black male executives are underrepresented in every major industry in the United States. Common impediments preventing Black males from occupying executive positions include workplace white supremacy, biculturalism, repressive structures, and disparate career development. Using critical race theory as a framework, this basic qualitative study investigated the experiences of eight male executives, five Black and three white, from various industries to understand their perceptions and perspectives on race and racism, and examined their workplace lived experiences to study why there are not more Black males in the e-suite. Moreover, strategies to increase Black male representation in executive leadership positions were explored.

The results of this study indicated white supremacy and norms are ubiquitous and dominant in the workplace. Consequently, this prevailing workplace ideology determines an organization’s culture, policies and practices, and, altogether, trigger traumas for Black males. Black male participants associated many of their workplace experiences with traumas in the forms of white favoritism, marginalization, stereotyping, microinvalidation, and compulsive assimilation. As a coping mechanism, they found support and organizational belonging through social networking in peer relationships and affinity groups, but their white counterparts almost exclusively used networking for career advancement.5 An emergent strategy from this study to increase Black male representation in the e-suite was the notion of a designed relationship model between aspiring Black male executives and equity-minded white male executives. However, because scholarship concerning career barriers impeding Black males from executive leadership positions is limited, future research is required to better understand the relationship between their workplace traumas and their underrepresentation.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).