This research examined how black women's natural hair was perceived in a professional setting. Expectancy violation theory (EVT) suggests that people create patterns of communication but that these patterns can be disrupted when a person violates the established expectations. The theory was applied to perceptions of black women's natural hair in a professional setting. An experimental survey was used to assess whether participants viewed natural hair in the workplace as a positive or negative expectancy violation. Participants were asked to view a resume and complete Likert-type scale items to evaluate the resume. The items measured the candidate's professionalism, likeability, attractiveness and expertise. The photograph on the resume was manipulated to ensure consistency. The same black female model was used and only her hairstyle was changed. The credentials and name on the resume also remained the same. The study found no difference between perceptions of natural hair and straight hair.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
Nicholson School of Communication and Media
Communication; Mass Communication Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Kroon, Cassandra, "An Investigation in to Resume Construction and Hiring Decisions: Perceptions of Black Womens Natural Hair" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 79.