African American women -- Employment, Discrimination in employment, Employee selection, Feminism, Management, Race discrimination, Women executives -- Selection and appointment, Women, Black -- Employment


Historically, Black women‘s workplace experiences have been understudied, partially due to an implicit assumption that their experiences are subsumed by research on Black men and/or White women. This oversight is even more evident in the field of management. However, considerable attention has been given to the debate about whether Black women are at a double advantage (i.e., as supposed affirmative action ―two-for-one bargains‖) or at a double disadvantage due to their double marginalizing characteristics. Empirical research in the area has found support for each side, furthering the debate, but also advancing an overly simplistic explanation for a set of experiences that is certainly much more complicated. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the conditions under which Black women, when seeking managerial employment, are at a double advantage or disadvantage, using Critical Race Feminism, Cox‘s Interactional Model of Cultural Diversity (IMCD; 1994), and theories of social categorization as the theoretical foundation. A 2 (sex) x 2 (race) x 2 (demographic composition of the workplace) betweensubjects design was used to test the hypotheses that the Black female applicant would have a double disadvantage in a more demographically balanced organization and double advantage in an organization that is more White and male. Participants (N = 361) reviewed information about an organization (where demographic composition was manipulated) and three available management positions. They also reviewed a fictional professional networking profile of a job applicant where race and sex were manipulated iv through photos, and job qualifications and experience were held constant. Based on all of the information, they rated the applicant on his/her suitability for the jobs. Results of planned contrasts and ANOVAs showed partial support for the hypotheses. In the balanced organization, the Black female applicant was rated lower in suitability for entry-level management than the Black male and White female applicants. Likewise, she was rated higher than the Black male and White female applicants in the less diverse organization, when evaluated for upper-level management. Thus, the study clarifies the theories of double advantage and double disadvantage by identifying organizational composition as a moderator of the relationship between applicant race/sex and employment outcomes (i.e., management suitability ratings). The implications of these findings are discussed.


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Graduation Date





Fritzsche, Barbara


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences










Release Date

April 2016

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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Psychology Commons