Interpretation of the Lived Experiences of Los Angeles County Hispanic Male Leaders: An Exploration of the Impact of Mentorship on Ascension Into Executive Leadership

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As demographically diverse public organizations tend to produce policy outcomes that reflect the interests of all represented groups, including disadvantaged communities, how underrepresented ethnic groups in public leadership positions such as Hispanic males ascend to senior-level positions is significant. As the Hispanic population grows exponentially in the United States, one should see a commensurate growth in Hispanic executive leadership to accommodate the needs of its consumers and constituents in public and private enterprises. However, among chief executives of all U.S. organizations in the public and private sectors, 29.3% are women, 4.3% are African American, 5.4% are Asian, and 7.4% are Hispanic (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Hispanics have seemingly remained underrepresented in these and other leadership roles relative to their numbers in the U.S. population. This qualitative study examined the impact of mentoring as a vehicle for career ascension through my interpretation of the lived experiences of Hispanic male leaders in LA County, a predominantly Hispanic-populated region comprising 48.6% or 4.9 million Hispanics of approximately a 9.8 million population. This study aimed to facilitate human resource organizations in creating organizational strategies to aid in creating diverse workforces. The attribution and role modeling theories undergird this study to enable an understanding of the mentoring phenomenon related to producing motivation for career ascension. Following Moustakas’s (1994) transcendental phenomenological method, I conducted 11 open-ended qualitative interviews with various Hispanic male senior-level leaders from LA County and extracted the essence of their statements for analysis in contextual settings associated with this ethnic group to gauge impact. This analysis manifested significant themes that were categorized into four nonmutually exclusive primary mentoring dimensions: career support, negative experiences, psycho-social support, and role modeling. From this conceptual framework, I found that most experiences in these mentoring dimensions produced enhanced motivation stemming from enriched self-efficacy leading to positive work performance and career-related outcomes. This study’s findings identified the following ideas of interest: individuals are adaptative in low-mentor or adverse settings, cross-gender mentoring is beneficial, family support is instrumental to academic and career advancement in Hispanics, and professional networks can be vital in amassing social capital from mentoring relationships.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Public Administration, Organizational Behavior