Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation

Document Type



Many scholars have introduced the Glass Ceiling Theory and other artificial barriers relative to women within workplace environments but there is limited research on how those barriers affect African Americans. Some research even argues that African American men perhaps do not experience barriers from a gender perspective. Because of these gaps within the research and limited conceptual framework as well as data for artificial barriers impacting African Americans this argument becomes a compelling topic of interest. The purpose of this study was to identify the influence of selected factors on the progression of African American employees into leadership positions as perceived by African Americans currently employed in public and private organizations in Louisiana. A researcher designed Likert Scale instrument that consisted of 25 statements including 8 demographical questions were used to collect data on 214 participants within the study. This data was collected via Qualtrics and analyzed utilizing SPSS. It was illustrated that women have a much more positive perception of career advancement and belonging than African American Men. It was also revealed that African Americans have congruent perceptions of selected factors of equity, belonging, representation, and career advancement in private and public organizations. The study showed that the longer an African American employee were employed within their organization the more negatively they viewed equity and career advancement. The implications of these findings can cause African American employees to become disgruntled or cause for means of “quiet quitting.” The significance of this study is that the majority race experiences the “Equity Elevator” in public and private organizations while the minority races, specifically African Americans, experience the “Equity Staircase.” Organizations must be transparent and honest regarding their journey around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to ensure they are creating a psychologically safe workplace environment for all employees within their organization.



Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael F

Available for download on Monday, January 11, 2027