Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Nancy C. Cornwell

Second Advisor

Melissa Gibson

Third Advisor

Melissa Gibson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


We end this century at a unique moment for the United States, when our power and prosperity are greater than at any time in our history. However, there is one area where U.S. leadership is blighted: effective racial diversity in the workplace. In other words, the law mandates that organizations have a diverse workforce, but if the racial history is any indication, there will be resistance to this order, especially by the group in power: white males. This thesis takes a phenomenological approach and explores the traditional styles that organizations use to approach diversity, as well as the barriers minorities experience in seeking jobs in organizations, especially upper-level positions. Organizations can take this information as a means to increase understanding of the four groups represented in this study. In addition, this research study advances current communication theory on assimilation, diversity, and employee relations by exposing individual ethnic identity markers that interfere in effective communication between minority and majority professionals.