Year of Award
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
College of Business & Professional Studies
diversity, African-American, Blacks, management, employees, minorities, discrimination
Making it to the top in corporate America is comparable to climbing an icy mountain. With proper tools in hand, one scales sheer cliffs, anchors his rope on solid foundations, and relies on his or her climbing partners to pull, push or lead support at the opportune times.
For talented young Blacks who are just starting that climb, the ascent up the corporate ladder is peppered with pitfalls. Even when armed with excellent credentials from Ivy League schools, they find that the path is not necessarily easy. Often, there is no one, especially other Blacks, to lend a helping hand. Blacks have made uneven progress in corporate ranks, although many of the barriers to management jobs have fallen. According to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Commission, the number of blacks holding jobs classified as "managers and officials" increased 135.8 percent between 1972 and 1982, to 174,003. Blacks constituted 2.4 percent of all officials and managers in 1972 and 4.3 percent in 1982. the National Black MBA Association in Chicago estimates that about 10,000 blacks now hold that coveted degree almost a prerequisite for advancement into top management at large corporations.
But this dramatic increase in the number of blacks in the corporate arena is not matched by equal status with their white counterparts. Black college graduates are still 1.5 times more likely to be employed in public-sector jobs than in private industry. Even more worrisome, black managers in the private sector fear being stuck in middle-level jobs. For years, Blacks were hired and funneled into staff positions that led to human resources, public-relations or minority affairs posts, where they were pigeonholed and ignored if not forgotten.
Blacks who have grown tired of waiting for the next step to the top, have abandoned corporate life to start their own business or join black-owned firms. Also, some blacks have reached various peaks and now stand as credible, powerful role models for aspiring executives.
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Hayes, Steven, "An Evaluation of the Status of Black American Executives: Problems and Opportunities" (1989). Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects. 485.
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