Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Fairness and Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century Corporate Workplace: The Perspectives of Young Black Professionals
Authors: Woodson, Kevin
Advisors: Newman, Katherine
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: African-American
black professionals
Subjects: Sociology
African American studies
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Over the past few decades, unprecedented numbers of highly-educated black Americans have attained high-paying professional positions in the nation's most prestigious private-sector firms. As this group has grown in size and become increasingly diverse, elite black corporate professionals now have widely varied experiences and perspectives concerning the significance of race in their professional careers. In this dissertation, I draw from a number of core sociological research traditions, including the studies of racial discrimination, careers, organizations, and culture, to investigate the persisting significance of race for members of this group and the potential sources of variation in their experiences and perspectives. Through interviews with 122 black junior and mid-level professionals, and a comparison sample of 23 similarly-situated white professionals, I find that many black professionals continue to experience race as a significant source of career disadvantage. However, black professionals have widely differing experiences and diverse views about the continued significance of race. This dissertation examines the manner in which black professionals' careers are shaped by the intersection of their personal characteristics and the social, cultural, and organizational dynamics of their workplaces. In doing so, I find that important intra-group heterogeneities, including gender, ethnicity, socio-economic origins, educational backgrounds, life experiences, and organizational contexts, may significantly influence the way individual black professionals experience race in contemporary corporate America. The significance of race and the precise nature of racial disadvantage for black professionals appear to have changed considerably over the past few decades. Discrimination based on racial stigma and biases appears to be a less salient source of racial disadvantage for this cohort of black professionals than it had been for previous generations. Instead, informal sorting processes based on social and cultural differences that are often intertwined with racial differences may now present an equally significant source of disadvantage, even in the absence of racial prejudice.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Woodson_princeton_0181D_10073.pdf779.28 kBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.