The Underutilization of Women of Color in C-Suite Positions: A Phenomenological Study

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
As societal views regarding women continue to change in the 21st century, organizations are also revolutionizing by attempting to create a more diversified workplace where women of color play an inclusive role, especially in C-suite assignments. The underutilization (insufficiency of the portrayal) of women of color in C-suite positions is reflective of a corporate culture that fails to meet diversity and inclusion policies. Hence, the development of a novel conceptual model may assist an organization in meeting these policies by understanding how to cultivate a corporate culture that positively affects an individual’s behavior and intrapersonal development. The study followed a contingency principle that when an organization elects to diversify its C-suite assignments with the inclusion of a greater number of women of color, it develops a workplace that is reflective of the communities and societies it serves. Additionally, the organization has an opportunity to evaluate its corporate social responsibility and ethical standards in a manner that supports diversity and inclusion, increases profitability, and contributes to the economy. This phenomenological study examined the lived experiences of nine women of color who hold or have held C-suite positions and how they mitigated racial and gender bias. As a result, the study found three emerging themes: (a) explicit bias, (b) marginalization, and (c) hyper-invisibility. Based on these findings, this study proposed the use of the Chapman organizational influence on corporate culture, individuals, and cohesiveness (COICIC) model to fulfill the purpose of diversity and inclusion practices. The study endeavors to fill in the gaps in the literature by illustrating the value of diversity through the inclusion of women of color in C-suite positions.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Business Administration
Women's Studies, Ethnic Studies, Leadership