Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Dorothy H. Ettling


Jessica Kimmel


Alison Buck


Mark Teachout


This research examines corporate diversity programs and initiatives from the perspective of the self-described diverse employee because they are intended to be the recipient of the benefits of diversity programs and initiatives. The research question is: In what ways have self-described diverse employees found that the diversity programs in their workplaces helped or hindered others in relating to them in ways that recognize their knowledge, skills, and abilities and allow them to be treated with respect and civility. To obtain information about the research question, a qualitative study using basic interpretive methodology was used which included face to face personal interviews with individuals who volunteered to share their perceptions of how they have been treated in the workplace because of their differences perceived by others. The ten interviewees were identified using convenience and then snowball sampling which was initiated through social media. The data collected was analyzed utilizing message units which had a rich point. The major finding is that the respondents do not identify themselves as diverse based on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission definitions. While others used external factors to define the participants, the diverse employee felt like the other based on culture in the workplace, energy versus apathy, politics in the workplace, and a hiring manager granting an opportunity. These themes are not the predominant way that companies view diversity in their organization; however, this research suggests that they should consider changing their processes.