A sample of a dissertation proposal

One of the most challenging academic exercise that you can ever undertake as a student is writing a dissertation. Before writing this type of an academic document you will be required to prepare a proposal. It is only after the proposal is approved that you are allowed to go ahead and begin the process of collecting and analyzing relevant data. Presented below is a sample of a dissertation proposal.

Evaluation of Hispanic Women Underrepresentation in Federal Employment and at Senior Grade Levels







Dissertation Proposal


Graduate Faculty of the School of Education

in Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirements for the Degree of












Prescott Valley, Arizona

August 2016



Considerable change in cultural expression and population demographics presents a broader platform of issues for political, social, and policy scientists to investigate, particularly regarding how this cultural transformation will appraise the future concerns of the nation. The low participation rate of Hispanic women in senior grade positions in government agencies may not address the needs of the country’s Hispanic population. The study will rely on information acquired from the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Central Personnel Data File (CPDF) for merit pay, general schedule, and senior executive service employees. A qualitative method of data collection will be employed. The qualitative information collected in the form of secondary research will provide a background of the psychological factors affecting Hispanic hiring and advancement in the federal government.  For interview analysis, a sample consists of the Hispanic population.














I thank everyone who supported me and provided guidance for conducting this research. I would especially thank my Dissertation Chair, family, and friends. Without their assistance and support this research would not have been possible.





Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction…………………………………………………………………………… 1

Background………………………………………………………………………………….. 3

Statement of the Problem…………………………………………………………………….. 4

Purpose of the Study………………………………………………………………………… 5

Theoretical Framework……………………………………………………………………… 5

Research Questions………………………………………………………………………….. 9

Nature of the Study………………………………………………………………………… 10

Significance of the Study…………………………………………………………………… 11

Definition of Key Terms…………………………………………………………………… 13

Summary…………………………………………………………………………………… 14

Chapter 2: Literature Review…………………………………………………………………… 15

Documentation……………………………………………………………………………… 15

Literature Search Strategy…………………………………………………………………. 15

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria…………………………………………………………… 16

Theoretical Perspectives…………………………………………………………………… 17

Critical Race Theory………………………………………………………………………..27

Motivation Theories Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory…………………………….. 29

Maslow’s Theory of Motivation…………………………………………………………… 30

Demands and Dilemmas of Minority Public Administrators……………………………… 43

Barriers Encountered by Hispanics in Federal Opportunities……………………………… 44

Organizational Structure…………………………………………………………………..  45

IT Corporations……………………………………………………………………………. 47

Workforce Diversity………………………………………………………………………._ 48

Ethnic Wage Inequality in the Workplace…………………………………………………_ 51

Promotion to Leadership Position…………………………………………………………. 55

Corporate Skills……………………………………………………………………………_ 58

Changing Face of the American Workplace………………………………………………._ 63

Implementation of Social Equity in the Workplace……………………………………….. 65

Value of Equality………………………………………………………………………….. 67

Equalities of Opportunity………………………………………………………………….. 67

Social Equity in Public Administration……………………………………………………_ 68

Segmented Equality……………………………………………………………………….. 69

Employment……………………………………………………………………………….. 70

Summary…………………………………………………………………………………… 73

Chapter 3: Research Method…………………………………………………………………… 75

Research Methods and Design(s)………………………………………………………….. 76

Population………………………………………………………………………………….. 79

Sample……………………………………………………………………………………… 79

Materials/Instruments.………………………………………………………………………8 0

Interviews………………………………………………………………………………….. 82

Data Collection, Processing, and Analysis………………………………………………… 88

Assumptions……………………………………………………………………………….. 89

Limitations…………………………………………………………………………………. 90

Delimitations………………………………………………………………………………. 91

Ethical Assurances…………………………………………………………………………_ 91

Summary……………………………………………………………………………………_ 96

References………………………………………………………………………………………_ 97

Appendix……………………………………………………………………………………… 115

Appendix A: Questionnaire …………………………………………………………………… 115

Appendix B: Informed Consent Participation Letter………………………………………….. 118

Appendix C: Informed Consent Form to Participate:…………………………………………. 120

Appendix D: Executive Core Qualifications:…………………………………………………. 121
















List of Tables

Table 1: Racial Discrimination Laws Enforced by EEOC……………………………………… 23

Table 2: Average Grade and Salary for GS Employees by Race in 2008………………………_ 26

Table 3: Racial Diversity Breakdown for Three IT Companies in 2010………………………..49


List of Figures


Figure 1. Representation of minorities in federal employment in 2014. 2

Figure 2. Representation of Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites in the SES. 3




Chapter 1: Introduction

Fair recruitment policies, processes, and practices that promote ethnic workplace diversity are important. The Hispanic population has grown since 1990 (United States Office of Personnel Management [OPM], 2010). The Hispanics in the U.S were 55.4 million in 2014 representing 17.4% of the country’s total population. This was a 2.1% (1.2 million) increase from 2013. The annual growth of the U.S. Hispanic community between 2010 and 2014 was 2.2% (Krogstad & Lopez, 2015). The number is expected to rise from 55 million in 2014 to 119 million by 2060 representing a 115% increase. By 2060, Hispanics will represent 29% of the country’s population (Colby & Ortman, 2015).  However, Hispanic federal employment rates have not increased and the number of Hispanic women in federal employment is very low (OPM, 2010). The country’s workforce, especially the federal workforce, has experienced an increase in ethnic diversity since the 1980s due to affirmative action program and policies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC], 2001) and Civil Service Reform Act (Choi & Hal, 2010; Riccucci, 2009).

The low participation rate of Hispanics diminished significantly in the Senior Executive Service (SES) from 5.4% in 2011 to 2.0 % in 2012 (OPM, 2012). In 2012, only four organizations, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Labor (DOL), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Department of the Treasury (DOT) employed one half of Latinos at the SES level (OPM, 2012). In 2014, the percentage of Hispanics in federal jobs increased slightly to 8.4% compared to 8.3% in 2013 (Lewis, Liu & Edwards, 2015). In 2014, there was a 1.5% increase in the number of SES Hispanics in all agencies to reach a total of 5% representation (Agars, Mark, & Kimberly, 2016). The number of federal board employees increased to approximately 4.4% from 4.1% in 2013 (Lewis et al., 2015).  Hiring rates for Hispanics in the federal government increased in occupations such as social work, medical technologists, and insurance administratoramong others (OPM, 2012). Whites represented a total population of 65.1% in federal employment. This was a slight reduction from 65.4% in 2012. Blacks represented 17.1% of the federal workforce in 2014 (Agars et al., 2016). The Asians and the American Indians represented a population of 6% and 1.7% of the federal workforce respectively in 2014 These data are summarized in the figure below.

Figure 1. Representation of minorities in federal employment in 2014.

In regard to gender, the number of male SES workers has been higher than that of women for all races. In 2014 the federal SES workforce was 2,045,306 with males making up 1,159,053 (Lewis et al., 2015). Besides, 7.3% of the male SES workers were Blacks. Female SES workers were 886,253 (Agars et al., 2016). Black women made up 10.3% of all female workers. Hispanics males were more than Hispanic women. Hispanic male workers accounted for 5% of the male workforce (Agars et al., 2016). Hispanic women workers represented 3.4% of all the female workers at the SES level (Whitford & Lee, 2015). Most (29.8%) male workers were whites while White wome represented 25.3% in top federal jobs

Figure 2. Representation of Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites in the SES


For more than four decades, the federal government has been trying to resolve the issue of underrepresentation of the Hispanics in the federal government, but the efforts seem to be futile. In 1970, the federal government formulated sixteen steps that would be implemented to ensure that the Civil Service Commission employs more Hispanics into government jobs (Whitford & Lee, 2015). The commission was later renamed to Office of Personnel Management and was required to conduct a number of activities one of which was ensuring that the Hispanics were well represented in the federal jobs (OPM, 2012). The sixteen steps program was implemented by the OPM, but it did not yield much. In 1994, the plan was revised and a new nine-step model was formulated to ensure that this group was well represented in government employment (Valenti Burke, 2012). The model was well implemented at first as it inspired the formation of organizations that represented the Hispanics, such as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. However, this nine-step model did not serve the intended purposes and five years later, the OPM issued a report indicating that the minority group was still underrepresented in federal jobs (Valenti Burke, 2012). The report indicated that only 6% of the Hispanics worked for the government and they mainly worked in junior positions, yet 11% of the employees in the private sector were Hispanics (OPM, 2012).

            The federal government is the largest employer in the nation as it absorbs many employees in its diverse projects that include construction and manufacturing (Hoi Ok, 2013). The fact that the underrepresentation of the Hispanics has existed for more than four decades implies that there is an issue that is yet to be addressed regarding increasing the number employed by the federal government (Goodman, 2013).  Although the Hispanics are underrepresented in federal employment in general, men are better represented compared to women (Hoi Ok, 2013). This implies that the issue of underrepresentation of the minority group relates both to gender and racial issues. Hispanic women are victims of both gender and racial bias in relation to federal employment (Goodman, 2013). The few women who have secured government jobs mainly work at the junior levels despite the fact that some of them may have similar academic qualifications as other employees at the senior positions (Goodman, 2013). The rapid pace at which the population of the minority group is growing implies that there is need for immediate government action to address the issue. It is only after all the groups in the country are proportionally represented in federal jobs that the government will be able to address the issues of the country effectively (Wilder, 2011).

Statement of the Problem

It is clear that Hispanic women are underrepresented in the federal workforce (Lewis et al., 2015). Hispanics represent 8.4% of workers in the federal government when the population (17%) is increasing faster than ever (Lewis et al., 2015). The gap of  5% between those working in the public and private domains show thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in potential pay for Hispanic employees (Valenti Burke, 2012). The rate of newly appointed Latinos by the national government decreased in 2011 and 2012 (Lewis, et al., 2015).

Organizations such as DOL and EEOCwhose mission is to promote equal employment opportunities, have the poorest records of Hispanic new appointments. Among the paramount logical variables influencing the possibilities of not being chosen as a supervisor for Hispanic women are lack of human capital qualities, financial and spatial obstructions, and absence of coaching assets (Wilder, 2011). Human capital qualities, for example, training, dialect capability, work experience, and education is the basic components deciding professional placement opportunities (United States Office of Personnel Management [OPM], 2010). Thus, there it is important to conduct studies involving qualitative interviews with minorities in order to understand their experiences and perceptions regarding discrimination in workplace (Goodman, 2013). The study seeks to develop an understanding of the factors behind the underrepresentation of Hispanic women in the senior grade levels in the federal service. Therefore, the study findings may create a platform for policies and other remedial actions that could be used to ensure Hispanic women are well represented in the federal government.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study is to explore the lived experiences of SES Hispanic women in relation to their underrepresentation in senior positions in the federal government. The study will particularly focus on the factors that lead to the underrepresentation of Hispanic women at the SES level. The study will adopt a convenience sample of a minimum of 15 SES Hispanic women with two years of experience at the SES level (Mason, 2010). Primary data will be collected through face-to-face interviews.

Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework of this research is built on three theories that have significant effects on the promotion potential of Hispanics: (1) similar leadership characteristics, (2) motivation, and (3) social identity theory. For years, authors have documented similarities in the characteristics of Hispanics in federal positions (Lewis & Cho, 2011). These similarities are the result of a shared minority membership, and Hispanics have used these common traits to help them deal with leadership challenges (Lee & Jimenez, 2011) Studies have shown that Hispanic senior executives in the federal organizations are known to share similar educational, communication, and determination traits (Lee & Jimenez, 2011). To compete for jobs within the federal government, Hispanics must share these same characteristics (Lee & Jimenez, 2011). Advanced education gives Hispanic women an equal or added advantage over their Caucasian counterparts in competing for federal positions at the SES level (Lee & Jimenez, 2011)Effective communication allows Hispanic women to overcome racial stereotypes that they can lead employees in accomplishing the agency mission (Lee & Jimenez, 2011). Hispanics who desire and have federal positions share a common determination that allows them to overcome the odds that present themselves in the workplace (Smith & Fernandez, 2010).

There are two prevalent theories for motivating Hispanics to obtain executive positions: Herzberg’ motivation-hygiene (1959) and Maslow’ theory of motivation (1943). Minta (2011) separates his motivation-hygiene theory into factors, motivators, and hygiene. Motivators are factors that produce positive job satisfaction and higher work performance from the employee (Kurtulus & Tomaskovic-Devey, 2012). These factors are the result of certain conditions directly related to the job such as achievement, recognition, employee personal growth, and career advancement Kurtulus & Tomaskovic-Devey, 2012). These factors are used by management to help motivate subordinates to increase work performance. According to Herzberg, hygiene factors are job factors that do not motivate an employee to higher work performance (Minta, 2011). If these factors are increased, the employee will not necessarily become motivated. They are associated with the job context or work environment such as company policy, supervisory practices, or salary (Minta, 2011). The presence of hygiene factors does not guarantee employee motivation; however, their absence may cause dissatisfaction and demotivation (Minta, 2011). Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory has been used by researchers for years as a hypothetical framework for explaining employee satisfaction. Cho and Rainey (2010) used this theory to explain teacher satisfaction and dissatisfaction in primary schools. Hertzberg’s motivation hygiene theory was also used by Copeland (2011) as a hypothetical framework to help explain the factors that enhance motivation and performance respectively within the workplace. In relation to Hispanic federal employees, Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory may explain why some Hispanic employees may or may not aspire to executive management positions. According to Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, career advancement is among the factors that lead to employee satisfaction in organizations.

To become satisfied within the organization, Hispanic employees may become motivated to pursue a position as an executive manager. Maslow’s theory of motivation arranges human needs into a hierarchical pyramid shaped model (Kaur, 2013). From lowest order to highest, Maslow’s human needs are Self-Actualization, Physiological, Esteem, and Social needs. A person’s Physiological, Safety, and Social needs, or deficiency needs, are the human needs that are met first (Kaur, 2013). Once these needs are met, one reaches his or her potential by meeting the growth needs or the Esteem and Self Actualization needs (DuBrin, 2008). Researchers have used Maslow’s motivation theory as a theoretical framework to explain employee motivation to advance to management positions. Puperkienė and Pilinskas (2008) used Maslow’s theory of motivation as a theoretical framework to explain the motivation factors that influence an employee’s desire to enter management. According to DuBrin (2008), esteem reflects an individual’s desire to be regarded as a person of worth. Individuals seeking to fulfill this need primarily have occupations with high statuses. Within the civilian service of the federal government, there is no position higher than an executive management capacity. Thus, individuals who desire to achieve self-actualization need to maximize their potential to attain their goals (DuBrin, 2008).

Since executive management positions are the highest attainable positions within the civilian service of the federal government, there is a possibility that Hispanics may see these positions as the ultimate goal and become the best they can be within their occupations. Social identity may explain why promotion factors such as informal networks and performance appraisals hinder the promotion potential of Hispanics to executive positions. Womack-Gregg (2010) noted that social factors such as informal networks, mentoring, and networking affect career progression among ethnic minorities in the SES. In addition, Copeland (2011) stated participation in social scenes helps individuals to network and shape cooperation with colleagues from a particular group (Copeland, 2011). Due to social identity theory, people would rather interface with those they can identify with than with other groups (DuBrin, 2008).

In the workplace, social identity theory can lead to various issues for minority individuals (DuBrin, 2008). One such issue is performance appraisal. Performance appraisals have a major impact on a federal employee’s promotion, demotion, and retention. It is theorized that an individual’s performance rating is affected by his or her race (DuBrin, 2008) Smith and Fernandez (2010) suggest that White performance evaluators are more inclined to rate a Hispanic worker lower than his or her White counterpart when both workers make the same kind and amount of mistakes. Similarly, Coens and Jenkins (2000) found that individuals give significantly higher performance ratings to those who are of the same race as the evaluator. These theories helped to formulate the research questions that will guide this research study.

Research Questions

Kim (2004) noted that a capacious amount of minorities and Hispanic women have generally held commonplace functions in federal employment such as middle and bottom level jobs. The Hubert Humphrey Institute (2007) observed that the management level has the highest underutilization of minorities and Hispanic women. Although the inclusion of minorities has increased the public/private sector workforce, comprisal has not been the same at the senior management level (Riccucci, 2009). At this level, representation seems to have several undertones other than ability and effectiveness in representing demographic interests (Riccucci, 2009).

According to Pitts and Wise (2010), of the total workforce for the United States federal government, 1,187 of senior executives were Hispanic, 6.1% of the federal workforce population. When compared to the civilian workforce, OPM reported that Hispanics represented 10.1% of the general workforce. Within the federal government, Hispanics were underrepresented in senior level positions. Based on the available data, Hispanics account for only 8.4% of top SES jobs and Hispanic women account for 3.4%. In addition, men represent 5% of the total Hispanic population (Clark, Ochs, & Frazier, 2015). The following are the four qualitative research questions that will be used to explore the matter at hand.

Q1. Based on the lived experiences of current Hispanic senior-level workers, what factors contribute to the underrepresentation of Hispanic women in senior federal position?

Q2. How can the gap in the representation of Hispanic women at Senior Grade Levels be closed?

The research questions will be answered by data collected through face-to-face interviews with Hispanic women working at the SES level in the federal government..

Nature of the Study

The qualitative study will adopt Husserl’s descriptive phenomenology (Sloan & Bowe, 2014). The approach is appropriate for the study as it will enable the researcher to acquire insights into the lived experiences of SES Hispanic women in relation to their underrepresentation at the SES level. Additionally, the method will enhance the trustworthiness of the research findings through bracketing (Converse, 2012). Bracketing will limit researcher’s bias through the minimization of any preconceptions of the research problem; thereby leading to a clearer perception of the underrepresentation of Hispanics in the SES (Converse, 2012). A descriptive phenomenological approach will facilitate the analysis of human phenomena without contemplating questions of objective reality, causes, or even physical appearances (Converse, 2012). Through this approach, participants convey their own tale in their own words; hence, facilitating an understanding of the subjects’ lived experiences as they occurred (Manuel, 2012).

Primary data will be collected through face-to-face interviews with 15 SES Hispanic women who have been working for two years at the SES level. In particular, interviews maximize the possibly of collecting first-hand data and in-depth probing while enabling the researcher to stay within the parameters of the study (Alshenqeeti, 2014). This study will subsume the four primary phases in a qualitative research exercise recognized by Creswell (2007), which are: (1) the act of witnessing, (2) query, (3) knowing, and (4) interpreting. The collected data will be analyzed through Collaizzi’s steps of descriptive phenomenological data analysis. These will include bracketing, analyzing, intuiting, and describing with the aim of presenting a thematic understanding of the factors that contribute to the underrepresentation of Hispanic women in the SES (Wojnar & Swanson, 2007).

Significance of the Study

The study seeks to identify factors that contribute to underrepresentation of Hispanic women in senior federal position. This study may provide new information that could help researchers to understand the factors that may exist that inhibit and enhance the career progression of Hispanic women within the SES of the federal government. Data from this study may uncover information pertinent to Hispanic women aspiring to transition into leadership roles within the senior executive arena. The data gathered during this study may help organizational leaders consider the benefits that Hispanic women bring to their organizations. Except for the study by Escutia and Prieto (1986), little research has been done on Hispanic women in top management positions in the government. In fact, recent reports indicate that Hispanic women will remain vastly underrepresented in the SES. A report by the Center for American Progress projected that Hispanics will constitute 6.8% in two decades from the time of the study. This is despite the fact that the subjects are projected to make up 23% of the general workforce by 2030. The report also indicates that the representation of Hispanics in the SES may not mirror their numbers in the workforce by 2050. For this reason, there is an urgent need to close the diversity gap in the SES (Davidson, 2011). However, the first step should be identifying inhibiting factors that bar Hispanic women from securing employment opportunities in senior grade positions. Thus, the focus of the study will be on factors that contribute to this problem and measures that can be adopted to close the gap. The shortage of Hispanic women in senior level job post within the SES may have an important impact on Hispanic women within, or on those aspiring to work in the federal government.

The January 2000 production of a Government Accounting Office (GAO) report titled, “Senior Executive Service: Enhanced Agency Efforts Needed to Improve Diversity as the Senior Corps Turns Over,” demonstrated that the rate of minorities in the SES was estimated to increment by just a small amount of 1% by 2004 through the following 4 years, from 13.8% to 14.6% (Villalobos, 2011). The rate of White females in the SES was anticipated to decay from 67% to 62%, while the rate of Hispanic women was projected to increase from 19% to 23%. The GAO built its projections in light of office contracting patterns from 1995 through 2000 (Villalobos, 2011).

An examination of the SES hiring and selection process may help to determine a best practice in advancing Hispanic women into senior level positions in the federal government. Research has demonstrated that the playing field for Hispanic women in top-level administration is still not level (Davidson, 2011; Lewis, 2000). The low participation rate of Hispanic women in senior level federal government positions is reflected in numerous reports focusing on the representation of minorities in the SES (Davidson, 2011; OPM, 2012). Given this factor, providing information to aspiring Hispanic women on how to obtain and sustain a position along this career path may be valuable and it may be valuable to define the significance of leadership diversity in organizations (Villalobos, 2011). The major objective of this study is to explore factors that lead to the underrepresentation of Hispanic women at the SES level and the recommendations for closing the representation gap

The study findings may also provide insights to the federal government on the means of creating a more diverse workforce at the SES level and improving the representation of Hispanic women. Although the federal government promoted diversity between the years of 1984 and 2007, minimal workplace ethnic and racial diversity was achieved in the SES ranks (Riccucci, 2009). Hispanics only represented 8.5% of all employees at the Senior Pay level (Smith & Fernandez, 2010). This degree of underrepresentation has been associated with unfair hiring practices (Smith & Fernandez, 2010), negative social paradigms (Brock, 2010; Minta, 2011), or lack of interest among Hispanic employees (Minta, 2011). The findings from this research could help reevaluate current hiring practices and formulate the creation of various mentoring programs and incentives to entice Hispanics to pursue executive management positions. Notably, the available research primarily focuses on Hispanic senior level executives in private industry. For example, Jeong (2013) used a quantitative study to investigate the representation of Hispanics in information technology (IT) firms in the country. The findings of the study indicated that 2.1% represented the highest number of Hispanic senior level executives in the firms while the lowest representation was 0.7%. Consequently, the outcomes of this study could augment the limited research of diversity within the federal government, particularly at the highest levels.


Definition of Key Terms

Affirmative Action: Governmental policy regarding minorities in society alludes to approaches that take into consideration race, sex, color, religion, and national origin, in order to expand the presentation of Hispanic women and minorities in business, education, and employment from which they have been truly rejected (Sabbagh, 2011).

Hispanic: Hispanic is characterized as an individual of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, South American, and Central or other culture or Spanish origin irrespective of color (Coverdill, Lopez, & Petrie, 2011).

Senior Grade Levels: This definition applies to Senior Grade Levels 13, 14, and 15 under the General Schedule (GS) and the SES (Senior Executive Schedule) in the federal government (Condrey, Facer, &Llorens, 2012).

Underrepresentation: For this study, the term will apply to Hispanics underrepresentation in the federal civil service workforce and at senior grade levels contrasted with their accessibility in the Civilian Labor Force (CLF) (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC], 2008). The CLF is a benchmark that government offices use as a comparator in deciding conceivable boundaries to job opportunities for workers inside its workforce.


            Little improvement has been made in creating a diverse senior employee environment within the federal government over the past 40 years. According to OPM (2007), although Hispanics represent 17.8% of the permanent federal workforce, they only represent 8.5% of all employees at the senior management level. The low participation rate of Hispanics is also prevalent in the private sector where they represent 7.4% of executive managers within Fortune 500 companies. Previous research investigating this phenomenon was primarily focused on the numbers of senior Hispanic managers in the private sector (Executive Leadership Council, 2009).

A qualitative approach, based on a descriptive phenomenological design, will be employed to explore factors that lead to underrepresentation of Hispanic women in the SES and how the problem can be solved. The phenomenology research design is suitable for the study as it will assist the researcher to explore the views and experiences of senior executive Hispanic women with regard to their underrepresentation at the SES level. The study findings may help form insights and possible solutions to add to the current knowledge base. The next chapter will consist of a historical review of federal laws pertaining to minorities in the workforce, an overview of the federal workforce, and the various theories and current trends related to this research.





Chapter 2: Literature Review

            Chapter 1 presented the research problem, the study purpose, the significance of the study, and the research questions that will drive this study. Chapter 2 is an exploration into the research and literature of issues pertaining to career advancement and leadership qualities of Hispanic senior executive employees within the federal government. The chapter reviews the historical and contemporary literature pertinent to the subject matter of Hispanic leadership and career advancement within both the federal government and private sectors. This chapter discusses the possible theories related to the problem of the minimal number of female Hispanic senior level managers within the federal government. Chapter 2 notes a gap in literature due to the lack of information pertaining to a direct focus on Hispanics in executive leadership roles in the federal government.


The research documents for this study consisted of books, government documents, peer-reviewed articles, and internet websites that included the Northcentral University LibraryInternet search engines, and EBSCOhost, OneFile, and ProQuest. These searches addressed the topics of federal Hispanic civil service employees in senior executive service (SES) posts. Search terms included: the federal government’s OPM program, the federal government, Hispanic senior level managers, Hispanic managers, perception, the glass ceiling, diversity, race, discrimination, leadership, communication, social identity theory, Maslow’s theory of motivation, and Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory.

Literature Search Strategy

It is important to conduct a review of the literature to obtain the details that provide sufficient material regarding the topic of the research study. Thus, the researcher conducted a literature search by exploring the electronic databases and grey literature. In particular, grey literature published in resources such as newspapers, unprinted tutorials, and conference proceedings among others is essential for knowing unpublished and unprinted knowledge in journals (Torraco, 2007). Qualified research studies were determined through exploration of peer-reviewed journal articles. The researcher conducted a search of electronic databases such as EBSCohost and ProQuest. It is considered highly important that subject matter specific database use is valuable in retrieving the details in a certain topic area (Torraco, 2007). 

The databases allow an individual to conduct a literature search by searching the most essential details. Articles issued during the year 2010 to 2015 were also explored. The purpose of choosing literature dated from 2010 to 2015 was to examine the cumulative information in previous publications. However, the researcher understood that it would be exacting to evaluate the benefaction of research that has recently materialized juxtaposed to earlier literature (Hampton & Parker, 2011; Maier, 2013).

However, the up-to-date studies provide limited perspective to the area of research and evaluation. Further, the assessment of the old research allows the author to compare findings with the new publications with similar study area (Torraco, 2007).  Unpublished research articles and conference papers were also searched from the Northcentral University library database. The Library was selected because the university catalogue contains literature material that is both deep and extensive in a variety of topics relative to the present study.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

          The inclusion and exclusion measure of this study will depend on the comprisal of

research that provides the literature which has important details concerning the underrepresentation of Hispanics at the senior executive level in the federal government. The year the articles were published was limited from 2010 to 2015, which will allow all exclusive details that may be otherwise absent if the year of publication was only limited to current years. Articles published in English language (only) will be incorporated in the analysis Besides, studies that are produced in peer reviewed journals were incorporated in selecting the articles for this research. The studies that examined the low participation rate of Hispanics at the lower or mid-level GS grades were absent from the table. Titles and abstracts were independently reviewed by the researcher.

To categorize the studies for the possible inclusion and exclusion standards, titles and abstracts were adequately inspected by the researcher. The inclusion standard was determined by the choice of articles that indicated the apparent causes for enacting the infrastructure in association with the problem of Hispanic underrepresentation in employment. The studies conducted before 1998 were excluded from the review as well as the reviews in which only the abstract was retrievable.  Further, the reviews outside the subject matter and the periodicals that were recorded in speech other than English were omitted from this methodical assessment. The periodicals were also reviewed for their suggestions, and usefulness to the topic under research.

Theoretical Perspectives

Workforce representation studies such as those conducted by Huffman and Cohen (2007), have centered on the general impact of job-related segregation, pay disparity, and social equity. For example, the authors concentrated their attention on Hispanic low participation in managerial positions throughout the labor markets in the U.S. especially in the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDT) with respect to bureaucratic improvement in this agency (Huffman & Cohen, 2007). Additionally, Flower and Jones (2007), and Huffman and Cohen, did not confront the circumstantial issues of Hispanic males’ presentation in the top two major job classifications, customarily listed as Officials and Managers in North Carolina (NC) state agencies or problems regarding Hispanic males’ potential for advancement into these job categories. Other researchers, such as Charles (2006); Keiser, Wilkins, Meier, and Holland (2007); and Kim (2007) explored the views of minorities and Hispanic women who worked in state government agencies but on a diverse and broad range of problems.

The Hubert Humphrey Institute investigated the use of racial, minorities, and ethnic diversity in state departments of transportation (The Hubert Humphrey Institute, 2007). Charles (2006), focused on the underutilization of minorities and Hispanic women in the corporate environment. These types of studies are inclined to over speculate and nullify cultural differences in the agencies (Harrison et al., 2006). Due to the issue of over speculation in comprehensive research studies, additional research that investigated independent agencies and states was necessary. Harrison et al. (2006) focused on the effect of relationship quality on career development opportunities within corporate institutions. Albeit social relationships play a vital role in organizations, the low participation rate of minorities in senior level management job posts within state government agencies extends beyond social relationships. Kim (2007) explored the positional presentation of minorities and Hispanic women. Kim’s recommendations promoted the problem regarding the presentation of minorities in state government agencies, but the author’s concentration was on minorities and Hispanic women in general. Charles (2006) concentrated on recruitment policies that impact an aging and retiring workforce. The author’s major concentration, although paramount, was not too troubled with the low participation rate of Hispanic males and minorities in NC government agencies (Charles, 2006). There are several factors that possibly contribute to low participation in these positions (Sneed, 2007). These employment obstacles are frequently indistinct and hard to identify and they represent job-related disunion and the focus of affinity groups in the lower cadre job categories. Llorens, Wenger, and Kellough (2007) proffered that between 1981 and 1987, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported on moderation of ethnic minorities and explored job-related segregation issues for Blacks in America. Moreover, Sneed (2007) stated that understanding and general beliefs regarding African American males, as well as the affinity group’s paucity of skills and opportunity in the job market, affect their ability to obtain employment and advancement.

In particular, a few sources focusing on the obstacles associated with representation in senior level job positions explore factors such as penetration in the workforce, pay disparity, general presence, and job-related segregation. Nonetheless, presence or penetration is not the issue as much as ease of advancement opportunities or social stratification and the representation of these member groups For instance, Cayer and Sigelman (2006), Huffman and Cohen (2007), and Flower and Jones (2007) confronted the problem of representation of Hispanic women and minorities at the senior level management positions (stratification). These studies did not aim at particular agencies or states. Further, Cayer and Sigelman’s (2006) research did not reveal the present condition in state governments, and Huffman and Cohen (2007) concentrated on the public rather than the private sector agencies.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The first landmark piece of legislation to combat unfair discrimination practices was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Presented by President John F. Kennedy, the Civil Rights Act made discrimination in schools, public facilities, government, and other institutions within the United States unlawful. Employment discrimination is prohibited under Title VII of the Act of any person based on his or her sex, color, nationality, or race (Yap & Konrad, 2009). Title VII also prohibited employers from making decisions about an employee based on racial assumptions and stereotypes about his or her traits, abilities, or performance (Wilder, 2011). Because of the federal government being precluded from the meaning of an employer in the Civil Rights Act, when Title VII was enacted, it did not provide a judicial remedy for federal government employee racial discrimination (Wilder, 2011). According to Valenti and Burke (2012), federal employees who experienced racial discrimination had to seek justice on other judicial grounds such as executive orders prohibiting discrimination, the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment and other civil rights statues. Due to various limitations on the courts, these judicial grounds were rarely successful in court (Valenti & Burke, 2012).

In 1972, Congress added Section 717 to Title VII which renounced the exemption of the federal government from employment discrimination claims (U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM, 2010). In 1978, the Civil Service Reform Act was enacted. The law sought to ensure that workforce diversity was attained in the federal government through human resource practices such as recruitment, compensation, performance appraisal, and career management among others (EEOC, 2010). This was followed by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which facilitated the amendment of Title IV to caution judicial procedures against intentional discrimination in the federal government (EEOC, 2010). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the most important agency of all the agencies that evolved from Title VII. The EEOC was established on July 2, 1965 and its primary responsibility was to enforce federal laws, rules, and regulations that make any discrimination against a job applicant or an employee in any work situation illegal in the United States (EEOC, 2010). EEOC laws cover most employers with at least 15 employees and most employment agencies and labor unions. Those employers covered under the law are susceptible to EEOC investigations in cases of discrimination (EEOC, 2010). If the investigation proves discrimination, EEOC will try to settle the charge. In the event that EEOC is unsuccessful in settling the charge, a lawsuit is filed. In 2009, a total of 33,579 racial discrimination charges were received by EEOC, and 31,129 were resolved (EEOC, 2010).

According to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB, 2010), 82.4 million dollars in monetary benefits have been issued as a result of racial discrimination cases in 2009. EEOC’s statistics for the Fiscal Year 2014 on workplace discrimination indicated that racial discrimination cases represented 35%. In the same year, the EEOC received $296.1 million as retribution to cases of racial discrimination in the workplace (EEOC, 2015).

 Table 1 presents a list of laws and regulations enforced by the EEOC in relation to racial discrimination.

Table 1: Racial Discrimination Laws Enforced by the EEOC





Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Law prohibiting the discrimination of an employee based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.


Executive order 11478

Law prohibiting minority discrimination in every aspect of personnel policy, employment practice, advancement, and treatment within the civilian workforce of the federal government.


Civil Service Reform Act

Law ensuring diversity in the federal government’s workforce through recruitment, compensation, performance, evaluation, discipline, career management, and employee organizations.


The Civil Rights Act of 1991

Law amending Title VII to permit jury trials and compensatory and punitive damage awards for intentional discrimination.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission FY 2010 Annual Report


Executive Order 11478

 In 1969, President Richard Nixon signed Executive Order 11478 into law. The executive order emphasized on the need to offer equal employment opportunities in the federal government and prohibited any type of discrimination in public service. The executive order also authorized the executives of federal agencies to institute affirmative programs for promoting equal employment opportunities (Starks, 2009).  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 reinforced this order by prohibiting minority discrimination in every aspect of employment practice, advancement, personal policy, treatment, and development within the civilian workforce of the federal civil service (OPM, 2011). The Civil Rights Act also required the establishment and maintenance of an equal employment opportunity (EEO) program in each agency and executive department (OPM, 2011). Executive order 11478 also made changes to the roles and responsibilities of the EEOC. According to Steinhoff and Jeffrey (2011), Executive Order 11478 requires that the EEOC direct and further the implementation of federal policies that provide equal opportunities for all employees and applicants of the federal government. The EEOC is also responsible for issuing rules, regulations, orders, and instructions to federal departments and agencies in instituting this Executive Order (Steinhoff & Jeffrey, 2011).

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978

In an attempt to reorganize the federal civil service, the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) of 1978 was instituted by President Jimmy Carter (Jackson, Schuler, & Werner, 2008). The CSRA restructured various aspects of government such as recruitment, compensation, performance, evaluation, discipline, career management, and employee organizations (Riccucci, 2006). The CSRA also dealt with workplace discrimination. According to Sabbagh (2011), the CSRA’s primary requirement, in relation to workplace diversity, was to ensure that the federal government’s workforce is as diverse as the nation as a whole Since its institution, the number of Hispanics in the federal workforce had increased by 3.1% Merit Systems Protection Board, 2010). One of the means for CSRA to insure diversity was the introduction of Title III. Title III stated that each federal agency must develop and implement special recruitment programs to eradicate the low participation rate of minorities within its workforce (Federal GLOBE, 2009). To accomplish this, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) created FEORP, the Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (Government Accountability Office, 2007). In accordance with this program, federal agencies were required to submit annual reports on the status of their diversity programs to OPM. According to the General Accounting Office (2007), the following are some of the key elements of FEORP: 

(a) workforce analysis determines the low participation rate of minorities and develops quantifiable indices to measure the progress towards eliminating minority underrepresentation; (b) workforce-planning requires positions and grade levels to be filled later during the evaluation process; (c) recruitment traces the techniques an organization uses to spot and create minority opportunities for every class of underrepresentation; (d) barrier removal entails the elimination of barriers that may impede the employment rights of a particular affinity group; (e) training and job development involves upward mobility programs that provide advancement opportunities for minorities historically underrepresented at senior grade levels (p. 20).

General schedule

 One of the most basic work classifications for white-collar workers within the federal government is the General Schedule (GS) classification. White-collar workers are those individuals whose occupations are professional, administrative, technical, or clerical in nature (OPM, 2009). These employees comprise 46.97% of the total federal workforce. The GS is separated into 15 pay grades, GS-1 through GS-15. Each pay grade has 10 levels, or steps, of pay. A temporary and permanent employee average grade was GS 9 step 9, with a salary of $50,411 (DOL, 2009). Advancement within the GS depends on an employee’s attainment of further education or advanced skill. The selection pool of individuals for management and executive positions usually comes from the professional and administrative occupations within grade levels GS-14 and GS-15 (DOL, 2009).

In 2008, the number of Hispanics in the GS workforce was 236,667 men and Hispanic women. This number was 18.24 % of the federal workforce in the GS (OPM, 2009). According to OPM (2009), in 2008, GS grades 1 through 4, Hispanics represented 26.6% of all employees in that range. In GS grades 5 through 8, Hispanics represented 25.8% of all the employees in that range, and 16. 8% of all the GS employees in grades 9 through 12. In the management and executive feeder group, GS grades 13 through 15, Hispanics represented 12.7% of that group’s entire population. The average grade for a Hispanic GS employee was nine with an annual salary of $39,795 (DOL, 2009). Although Hispanics made up 18.24% of GS employees, they made on average, the second lowest annual salary of any race (see Table 2).

Table 2: Average Grade and Salary for GS Employees by Race in 2008

Race Average

Grade Average and Step

Salary per year







Hispanic or Latino



Employees of Two or More Races



Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander



American Indian/Alaska Native




Senior Executive Service

The Senior Executive Service (SES) position was accepted on July 13, 1979 as a consequence of Title IV of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. Under Title IV, SES positions are reserved for managers whose classification is above the GS-15 grade level and below Executive Level III. These individuals are responsible for supervising employees, ensuring the success of agency programs and initiatives, and employing major policy-making or other executive obligation (OPM, 2010). The goal of Title IV was to create a group of executives that were selected based on their solid executive leadership skills, extensive knowledge of the federal government, and shared values (OPM, 2010). The purpose of all SES positions is to ensure that the federal government is receptive to the demands, goals, and policies of the country. Title IV allows each government agency the authority to select and manage the members of their executive management groups. According to the GAO (2007), SES employees represent the highest level and most experienced segment of the federal workforce. According to OPM (2010), SES members are individuals who work below the top presidential appointees and represent four

types of appointments and two types of management positions. The two types of positions are

Career Reserved and General.

            General vacancies can be occupied by a limited emergency, limited term, non-career, or    

career employee. The Career Reserved position can only be occupied by career appointed individuals as defined by regulation “to ensure fairness, or the public’s confidence of fairness in government” (OPM, 2010). The four classifications of OPM appointments are: (1) Career, (2) Non-career, (3) Limited Term Emergency, and (4) Limited Term. Career selections can be given to either a Career Reserved or General SES position (OPM, 2010). In each situation, the Career appointee has the same rights. Individuals in these appointments are selected by their federal agency via a merit staffing process. The executive qualifications of these individuals should be accepted by a Qualifications Review Board covered by the OPM. OPM approves Non-career appointments only for General positions on an individual basis. Once the appointee leaves the position, the appointment authority to fill the vacancy reverts to OPM. According to OPM (2010), these positions must not be greater than 25% of a federal agency’s OPM position quota. Non-career appointees can fill only 10% of all the federal government’s SES positions.

Limited Term appointments are only given for General SES positions that do not exceed three years. The appointments are nonrenewable and the position expires once the time limit is reached. A Limited Emergency appointment is given for a General SES position that is created to meet an unanticipated and urgent need within the federal agency. This appointment is nonrenewable and expires after 18 months (OPM, 2010). The total number of limited appointments within the federal government cannot exceed 5% of all the SES positions allocated by the government. According to OPM (2010), a federal agency can fill 3% of its SES positions with limited appointments of career or career-type personnel from outside the SES. In most cases, OPM should accept this form of selection authority. To evaluate a potential applicant’s executive experience and potential, OPM created five essential qualifications or Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) (OPM, 2011). Listings of these qualifications are found in Appendix D. ECQs examine an employee’s leadership potential, business acumen, results potential, and communication skills. Each ECQ requires a candidate to have in-depth knowledge, skills, and experience in these areas to ensure success as an SES employee.

The results of this examination determine the eligibility or qualification of the executive candidate and if the individual has the abilities essential in order to be successful in an array of SES assignments. In 2003, the average SES employee was a 55-year-old Caucasian male with at least 26 years of federal service and an advanced degree (GAO, 2007). Due to the description of the average SES employee, OPM projects a high turnover rate of SES employees within the near future. In 2003, OPM expected more than 50% of SES employees to exit federal service before 2008 (GAO, 2007). An OPM survey confirmed the original assessment of future SES turnover. According to OPM (2008), 39% of career SES respondents planned to leave service within the next three years, while 60% of the respondents stated they would leave service within the next five years. The OPM survey also stated that 66% of respondents planning to leave service in the following year after the survey were under the age of 60 (OPM, 2008).

It is estimated that by the year 2018, 70% – 90% of current career SES employees will retire (Deen, 2008). In 2000, Caucasians comprised 86% of the total SES population. By 2007, Caucasians were 84% of the total SES population. According to GAO (2008), Hispanics were 8.4% of the total population of SES members in 2000 and slightly increased to 8.5% of the population by 2007. Within a span of seven years, the population of Hispanics within the SES only increased 0.1%, maintaining the underrepresentation of Hispanics in the SES positions. When examining the percentages of Hispanics within the SES feeder groups, GS-14 and GS-15 during this period, the representation and growth of Hispanics were similar. According to GAO (2007), Caucasians constituted 82.9% of the total GS-14 through GS- 15 population in 2000. By 2007, Caucasians made up 77.3% of this population. In 2000, Hispanics were 7.9% of the total GS-14 through GS-15 population (GAO 2007). This number grew by 2.5% by 2007 to 10.4% of the total GS-14 and GS-15 population. Although the numbers of Hispanic GS-14 and GS-15 individuals increased over the span of seven years, Hispanics continued to remain underrepresented in these groups

Critical Race Theory (CRT)

Human development theories are not always sufficient for comprehending events in the lives of Hispanics. Henderson et al. (2010) stated that the majority of human development theories are inadequate for understanding the constructive experiences and needs of Hispanic women since their assumptions regarding culture and interaction are not based on Hispanics. Stephens and Phillips (2007) noted that it is critical to establish a hypothesis that represents the perspectives of Hispanic women’s societal location and their involvement with their colleagues. Comprehending the experiences and perceptions of Hispanic women who are positioned in colleges and universities is critical to the study. The Critical Race Theory (CRT) is crucial for appreciating the experiences of Hispanic women. Stephens and Phillips (2007) stated that a hypothesis justifies the manner in which researchers name, interpret, identify, and confabulate with Hispanic women in numerous situations. The CRT was used by numerous researchers to substantiate the phenomenon of ethnicity and race regarding the unique experiences associated with Hispanic women (Waters & Conaway, 2007). Many Hispanic women share perceptions, experiences, and other issues.

The idiosyncratic perspective of Hispanic women is primarily due to the social and political expansion of U.S. lifestyle (Henderson et al., 2010; Stephens & Phillips, 2007). The CRT will be used in this research to determine some of the tensions experienced by Hispanic women in senior management positions within the federal civil service. The aim is to understand factors that lead to the underrepresentation of Hispanic women in the SES and how the gap can be closed. As Hispanic women continue to prepare themselves academically for higher paying positions, CRT provides a contextual and historical framework for the tensions and pressures that helped shape their experiences (Henderson et al., 2010). Based on this, CRT is an appropriate theoretical framework for this study. Howard-Hamilton (2007) stated that CRT was created by “intellectuals of color” who researched policies and laws associated with racial discrimination in America. In the CRT structure, the significance of analyzing policy-making and policies in the appropriate cultural and racial setting is emphasized.

Howard-Hamilton (2011) stated that the legislators who are responsible for formulation of laws and policies that should be fair and impartial are culpable in prolonging racism. Within this hypothetical structure, culture and experiences are shared among Hispanic women as they recount the racial discord endured in the workplace. In CRT, it is established that for Hispanic women to adjust in a society in which racism is institutionalized, they must seek the means of overcoming the institutionalized barriers to achieve their career goals (Howard-Hamilton, 2011). In the telling of their stories, Hispanic women, and other women of color, can provide insight into how ethnicity and race intersect in society from their worldviews. The CRT theorists argue that it is necessary to unmask how those in power define science; that it is necessary to obtain a profound comprehension about the lived experiences of minorities and the eventual liberation of all minority groups. Integrating CRT will provide the framework and depth for exploring the experiences of SES Hispanic women. Because the study focuses on ethnicity and race, both theories were able to provide recommendations for rectifying the oppression that Hispanic women experience in employment.

Motivation Theories

Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory

Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory gives a possible explanation why there are limited numbers of Hispanic women in senior level government positions. According to Boord (2010), Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory is a controversial but popular proposition that explains employee satisfaction. The theory challenges the basic assumptions of what motivates and satisfies employees. This theory is separated into two distinct factors: motivators and hygiene. Elizer (2011) defines motivation factors as those factors that produce positive job satisfaction from the employee. Job satisfaction is an outgrowth of achievement, recognition, responsibility, and employee advancement (Boord, 2010). These characteristics are closely related and essential to a person’s job satisfaction. When these characteristics are present in a person’s work environment, his or her basic needs are satisfied, thus resulting in improved work performance. Herzberg called these factors motivators because they are involved in high levels of self-direction and productivity (Elizer, 2011). Managers may use these intrinsic characteristics to help motivate employees to increase work performance. According to Boord (2010), motivation factors involve the psychological growth of the employee. Hygiene factors are sources of employee job dissatisfaction (Scherer, 2011). Hygiene factors involve an employee’s attempts at avoiding physical and psychological pain at work.

Herzberg’s research suggests that employee job dissatisfaction was a result of incompetent, unfair company policies, bad interpersonal relations, unfair supervisors, unfair salary, unpleasant working conditions, and job security. Herzberg names these factors after the term “hygiene” in epidemiology because good medical sanitation may prevent illness, but it does not make people healthy (Boord, 2010). Flores and Subervi (2014) state that the presence of hygiene factors does not guarantee employee motivation, but its absence may cause dissatisfaction and de-motivation among employees. Various researchers use Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory to explain the motivation behind an employee’s desire to enter management. Bratton (2013) applied the theory in exploring motivation among federal employees during government downsizing. The researcher adopted a literature review approach which focused on seminal sources and findings from current research. The study indicated that federal employees are affected by extrinsic and intrinsic factors which affect their commitment to their agencies.

Fernandez and Pitts (2011) adopted the theory to study motivation among frontline employees in the federal government. In particular, the study was based on data from the 2006 Federal Human Capital Survey. The findings indicated that employees were motivated by a constellation of factors including involvement in decision-making, job satisfaction, training and development, communication, and leadership. Critics of the Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory criticize it from two perspectives. Ritz, Burris, Brashears, and Fraze, (2013) observed that the support for Herzberg’s theory relies heavily on a biased research methodology. Herzberg’s research methodology relied entirely on interview answers from engineers and accountants describing work situations when they were feeling “really good” or “really bad.” These critics felt that this methodology yielded too narrow a focus for basing an entire theory. The second set of critics found fault with Herzberg’s research because he was inconsistent with his research terms. Flores and Subervi (2014) noted five possible interpretations of the motivation-hygiene theory; however, the theory could not be tested because it was not possible to verify its validity.

Maslow’s Theory of Motivation

 According to Hong (2011), Maslow’s theory of motivation is one of the most widely mentioned theories of motivation. Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s observations of humanity assume that people seek to fulfill a variety of needs. In such a case, needs are defined as personal requirements (Campbell, 2011). Maslow viewed human needs in the form of a hierarchical pyramid and concluded that when a person satisfies one set of needs on the pyramid, that particular need ceases to be a motivator in the person’s life. Maslow separates the hierarchical pyramid into five levels. The lowest level is the physiological needs level. This level consists of the basic needs for sustaining life, which include sleep, shelter, water, and food. According to Hong (2011), until these basic needs are addressed in order to maintain life, other needs will not be met. The next level is the safety needs. These needs consist of all the factors that keep an individual free of physical harm and fear of losing a job, shelter, or property (Campbell, 2011). The third level is the social needs. This level requires individuals to be accepted by others. The physiological, safety, and social needs form a person’s deficiency needs, or the needs a person must fulfill in order to live in society (DuBrin, 2008).

Esteem needs are the fourth level in the hierarchical pyramid. People begin to fulfill these needs once they satisfy the needs in the social level. Maslow stated that these needs require an individual to want to be held in esteem by themselves and others through power, prestige, status, and self-confidence. The final and highest level is the self-actualization need. At this level, individuals desire to reach their maximum potential and accomplish a higher goal. Campbell (2011) uses Maslow’s theory of motivation as a theoretical framework to explain the motivation factors that influence an employee’s desires to enter the top management levels. Employees seeking top management positions wish to fulfill the highest level of Maslow’s needs pyramid self-actualization (Campbell, 2011). These employees seek to enhance their professional development possibilities, become better educated, and increase their knowledge and experience within the organization.

Udechukwu (2009) conducted a study using Maslow’s theory of motivation to explain correctional officer turnover rates. Udechukwu’s research states that in a correctional setting, officers rarely, if ever, fulfill the esteem and self-actualization levels. Career advancement opportunities for correctional officers are very slim; therefore, those officers who seek job satisfaction through career advancement will rarely achieve it. The findings of a study by Moffett, Frizzell, Brownlee-Williams, and Thompson (2014) suggested that one of the determining factors for a manager fulfilling his or her needs is the organization’s environment. Managers in developing countries are more concerned with fulfilling the security need in Maslow’s pyramid while managers in developed countries are more concerned with fulfilling the self-actualization need (Campbell, 2011).Maslow’s theory of motivation has created various critics over time. Hart (2010) conducted a six to twelve month study testing Maslow’s motivation theory. Their results find little evidence to corroborate Maslow’s hierarchy of human necessities. The authors suggested that the strength or importance of higher-level needs, such as self-actualization and social needs, varied by individual. He stated that it is possible for highly motivated professionals to dismiss the needs hierarchy and satisfy the higher order needs without satisfying the lower needs first. Hart also found strong evidence that the upward movement of need prominence in managers was a result of upward career changes and not the satisfaction of lower-order needs.

Although both theories use different approaches to explain employee motivation within the workplace, there is a correlation between Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory and Maslow’s hierarchy. Udechukwu (2009) states that Herzberg’s hygiene factors correspond with Maslow’s basic need levels, such as job security. This suggested that if an employee’s hygiene factors are adequately satisfied, his or her basic needs are fulfilled. When employees fulfill these needs, dissatisfaction is prevented and the employee is motivated to achieve a higher class of needs. The higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid corresponded to the motivation factors of Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory.


Non-Promotion Theories

Lack of Mentoring

            According to Gedenk et al. (2010), one of the important professional elements that can affect an individual’s career advancement is mentorship. Cao, Lemmon, Pan, Qian, and Tian (2011) define mentoring as an organized partnership between a senior leader and a less experienced colleague. The less experienced employee or mentee receives guidance and support from the senior leader, or a mentor’s experience and knowledge. They also stated that mentoring programs should be incorporated into an employee’s career development planning and into an organization’s succession plan. This will lead to improved performance and promotion rates, greater upward mobility, early career advancement, and higher earnings. Cao, Lemmon, Pan, Qian, and Tian (2011) suggest that mentoring programs should not only develop and nurture an employee for future roles, but is an effective way of keeping dedicated staff within the organization. Of the various barriers faced by ethnic minorities in terms of career advancement, the most important barrier is having limited access to mentors or role models. This issue is especially prevalent in the Hispanic community. Research has suggested that within their organizations, Hispanic women have lacked the support of mentors while their Caucasian counterparts have continuously benefited from mentor relationships with powerful mentors (Jeong, 2013). Because of this, Caucasian employees have access to career advancement and personal development, which contributes to the underrepresentation of Hispanics in most executive positions (Jeong, 2013). Various studies have proved the importance of minority mentoring for employee promotions to the executive ranks. Cao et al. (2011) observe that selecting a mentor increases a person’s odds of achieving a command or executive position within the police force. Gedenk et al. (2010) noted that Hispanic women in high positions of leadership in higher education, such as university deans, had mentors during their careers. To overcome limited mentorship opportunities, Hispanics are more inclined to form informal mentoring relationships with other Hispanic supervisors, managers, and executives. Gedenk et al. (2010) stated that Hispanics are more likely than Caucasians to form informal friendships outside of the normal lines of authority within their organization.

Informal networks

          According to Cao, Lemmon, Pan, Qian, and Tian (2011), an estimated 50% of jobs are

attained through social contacts. Hispanic employees face difficulties developing extended networks within an organization (Mohamad & Tyner, 2012). This phenomenon occurs because minorities have few opportunities to interact with their counterparts in high-status managerial positions (Milkman, 2011). According to Chemerinsky and Kleiner (2014), Hispanic employees are more dependent on their managers than Caucasian employees. Within an organization, formally defined relationships, or relationships employees have with their supervisor, are complemented by informal relationships. Common interests and interpersonal attraction are the foundation for the informal relationships and social contacts employees develop.

Mohamad and Tyner (2012) suggested that informal networking, culturally-biased groupings, and informal mentoring benefit Caucasians more in the workplace than their Hispanic counterparts. They also observe that organizations position Hispanic managers away from individuals who may help them develop their careers and are not included in the important networks. Hispanic women are excluded more from informal networks than Hispanic men. Due to the dual minority identity of Hispanic women, various power circles within organizations exclude them (Milkman, 2011). Because of this exclusion, Hispanic women are more likely to establish same-race members in their informal networks. McCarthy, Van Iddekinge, and Campion (2010) research suggested that Hispanic women comprise 65% of the informal networks Hispanic women form as opposed to only 29% of informal networks being comprised of Caucasian Hispanic women. Milkman (2011) stated that Hispanic women feel a lack of connection with Caucasian women within the workplace, thereby finding it hard to establish informal networks with them.

Milkman (2011) discovered that Hispanic women have a deeply embedded lack of trust of Caucasian women, which is the result of childhood upbringing and a host of lived experiences. As a result, Hispanic women concentrate on their professional lives in the workplace and form barriers to protect themselves from perceived risks. Although some researchers suggest that the lack of informal networks halts a Hispanic employee’s progression through the ranks of an organization, other researchers disagree. Research suggested that Hispanics have a fountain of networking outlets to help advance their careers. McCarthy, Van Iddekinge, and Campion (2010) suggested that Hispanics have a broader support network than their Caucasian counterparts. According to the researchers, due to the lack of internal network support within their organizations, Hispanics are motivated to gain support from external sources.

Research conducted by McCarthy, Van Iddekinge, and Campion (2010) suggested that minorities are more likely to provide referrals than Caucasians in the workplace and Hispanics were not disadvantaged by their social networks in gaining jobs. Opportunities for development and career advancement can present themselves from good relationships with peers. McCabe, Corona, and Weaver (2013) suggested minority employees begin building a diverse network of support early in their career. Albeit Hispanics may not form as strong informal networks as Caucasian employees may, Hispanic informal networks are still formed. Hispanic managers are more likely to be the minorities within an organization and tend to form ties more easily with those who are socially similar, usually a person of color. These individuals come in the form of either individual mentors, bosses, or because of their participation in various support groups (McCabe, Corona, & Weaver, 2013). Within the federal, state, or local governments, Hispanics have access to join a formal network group called Blacks in Government (BIG). According to Lage (2012), such organizations seek to promote the welfare, education, and career development of the government employees at the federal, state, county, and municipal level. Black federal employees from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare established BIG in 1975 in Rockville, Maryland. Currently, BIG has over 250 chapters in 11 regions throughout the United States. Lage (2012) stated its primary objectives are:

  1. To make and sustain projects and exercises that offer minorities training and preparation for vocation improvement and progression.
  2. To move in the direction of eliminating all remnants of prejudice and separation.
  3. To make constructive commitments towards the financial, political, and social well-being of minorities.
  4. To energize pride and inspiration in minorities for their service and accomplishments as public civil servants

The organization also provides workshops and seminars for its members to acquire various skills needed for career advancement. Local chapter meetings and annual national conferences provide members a chance to socialize and establish informal networks to aid in the advancement of their careers.

Performance Appraisals

Performance evaluations play a significant part in the promotion of workers within public and private sector organizations. Kochanowski (2011) stated that an organization’s performance appraisal system is more than procedures and forms used to evaluate an employee’s work performance. It aligns organizational objectives with employees’ skills, competence requirements, objectives, development plans, and the distribution of results by managing work performance. This allows for a more effective organization and employee. However, research indicates that this system is one of the greatest problems facing human resource (HR) management (Kivel & Arai, 2009). The primary reason behind these problems with HR is because of organizational politics that may influence a person’s rating. Kochanowski (2011) stated that performance appraisals are based primarily on the input from the perceptions of the manager, even if they are shaped by others’ input. The author continues to state that the commonplace evaluative framework is too subjective which may result in unfair and biased evaluations. These perceptions may lead to inaccurate performance appraisals and personnel actions against the empoyee.

According to Kivel and Arai (2009), since 1958, one of the primary focuses of research regarding race and performance appraisals has been identifying whether bias affects evaluations. Kennedy’s (2012) research suggested that Hispanics are rated lower in their performance evaluations than their Caucasian counterparts. The researchers noted that the differences in performance ratings between the races were “disturbing” because of the negative effects they had on Hispanic promotions within the test organizations. Kivel and Arai (2009) research into effects of race on performance appraisals suggested that negative performance appraisals affect an employee’s promotion potential. The study suggested that society prefers to maintain the social dominance orientation paradigm. This paradigm maintains an imbalanced distribution of power between Caucasian and Hispanic employees. Kennedy’s (2012) research investigated Hispanic female managers who were on career managerial paths for their organizations and found that these women received lower job evaluations than other individuals in similar situations. Poor evaluations led to fewer promotion opportunities to high-level managerial positions.

            Various researchers suggest that bias does not play a role in performance evaluations for Hispanics and minorities. Juszczak (2010) conducted research into the effect of sex and race on the performance appraisals. The research evaluated three performance factors and found race was a significant but small factor in determining performance. The study by Kennedy (2012) suggested no significant effects attributable to rate race affected the evaluator’s ratings. A study by Jusczak (2010) indicated that race does not affect performance evaluations of an employee’s chance for advancement to a higher position. He also attributed a poor match in leadership theories between a supervisor and a subordinate employee with lower evaluations and decreased promotion chances. The study by Kennedy (2012) explored racial identity development, socio-race, age, educational level, and ethnicity on compensation and promotional decisions within organizations and revealed no statistically significant differences between race and promotion factors.

Racial Discrimination

Among the factors that impede Hispanics from attaining executive positions are discrimination, prejudice, and the inability to deal with the interrelationships of Caucasian organizational structures (Juszczak, 2010). Because of a person’s race, minorities are at a disadvantage compared to Caucasian workers for promotions within their organizations. Even with federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on race and promote diversity in the workplace, racial discrimination still occurs. Numerous studies have been done to document the effects of racial discrimination on the promotion of minorities in the workplace. Hunt, Kerr, Ketcher, and Murphy (2010) suggested that Hispanics felt that they were underrepresented in the field of parks and recreation and perceived discrimination and inequality. This led to a lack of adequate training and mentoring opportunities which negatively affected their career advancement. Hunt, Kerr, Ketcher, and Murphy (2010) research suggested five themes which represent their research samples’ experiences and perceptions. These themes are: (1) Cronyism, (2) Integration, (3) Profiling and Assessment for Senior Management Positions, (4) Classification, and (5) Societal Awareness.

Each of these themes played significant roles in how Hispanics were perceived and treated within the organization and then prevented them from advancing to executive levels. Hunt, Kerr, Ketcher, and Murphy (2010) suggested that when compared to Caucasian men; Hispanics and Caucasian women are underprivileged in terms of organizational promotions. Hispanic women experienced the greatest disadvantage between them. Juszczak (2010) conducted a study investigating the influences of racial discrimination on Hispanic police officer’s advancement to executive officers. His research suggested that in order to improve fair hiring practices and promote diversity in the executive ranks, personnel on review boards for executive selections should be more ethnically and racially diverse. Although research indicates that racial discrimination is a prominent factor in affecting Hispanic employees’ promotions to high-level positions, limited research indicates that racial discrimination may not play a factor in their promotion chances within their organization.

Juszczak’s (2010) research suggested that race was neither positive nor negative in an organization regarding promotions at the highest organizational levels. Even though current employment laws prohibit employment variations in the federal government, minorities and Hispanic women experience disparate treatment and are still underrepresented within these agencies, particularly in the senior management job positions (Lavariega Monforti, Orey, & Conroy, 2009). The author proffered that the demographics of the workforce is assured by representative bureaucracy and is accounted for in the resolution and bureaucratic process, and in determining policy results. Representative bureaucracies epitomize power realities and values (Lavariega Monforti, Orey, & Conroy, 2009). If employees of federal organizations were selected from various sectors of society, the odds of their perspectives being considered in the decision process would be significantly enhanced.

The two classifications of representative bureaucracy are active and passive representation. Gonzales, Murakami and Nunez (2013) indicated that active representation deals with an administrator or individual who is responsible for highlighting interests and desires of individuals he/she is expected to speak on behalf of, whether they are all of the people or some segment of them. The source of origin of individuals and the degree to which they resemble the total community is considered passive representation. Meier (2007) stated that the assumption of representative bureaucracy is grounded on passive into active representation by acknowledging bureaucratic reasons during decision- making that profit the individuals supported by representation. Representative bureaucracy is an ungenerous hypothesis that takes into account questions such as when are minority administrators most likely to perform in a manner that supports minorities in society. A bureaucrat that apportions general demographic associations with a constituent is also considered to share their morals as well. Thus, if a bureaucracy that presumably represents society exercises caution and follows its own values, the same will occur with the public.

Loutzenhiser (2006) stated that without a representative bureaucracy, the bureaucratic system will create a protracted diversity problem. Additionally, federal organizations cannot effectively fulfill their responsibility to society without assuring that all segments of the population are represented at the levels where the policy, implementation, and results are determined. When member groups make up the demographic of the population and are represented in all hierarchical positions in the workforce, this constitutes a representative bureaucracy, especially in major decision-making positions. Saidel and Loscocco (2007) stated that most illustrative corporate organizations in the cutting edge world consider the racial background of their workers and create a similar impression at the senior management level In order for representative bureaucracy to be precise, it must take into account representativeness at senior management levels within organizations, especially as it pertains to the make-up of senior level management officials.

In order to ensure that values and interests of all member groups are represented during the resolution-making processes, all member groups that compose the organizational demographic must be represented in resolution-making positions. Gonzales, Murakami and Nunez (2013) identified the distinctions between the implication of passive and active representation. The author proffered that passive representation involves the level in which individuals resemble the total community and their origin. Active representation depicts circumstances in which a person presumably pushes for the desires and interests of people to whom he/she represents, whether it is all the people or a segment of them. Mosher (2007) argued that bureaucratic representation should concentrate on these two fundamental principles. Meier and Nicholson-Crotty (2006) stated that the main concern of representative bureaucracy is the theory that passive representation will evolve into active representation, thus, allowing administrators to perform intentionally in representing their stakeholders in society. This presumption is the primary foundation of government representation. Saidel and Loscocco (2007), agreeing with this theory, indicated that “inactive delegate organization is the state of regularity amid the probability standards of the organization and the public, thus, the presumed accord between bureaucratic decisions and the approach inclination of society (p. 159).” Legislative authorities will perform in a manner that benefits those in the overall population who impart their ethnicity or race bunch enrollment (Gonzales, Murakami, & Nunez, 2013). These scholars accentuated the significance of representative bureaucracy, however, researchers have not agreed on whether to utilize passive or active representation entirely to identify workforce bureaucratic representation.

Researchers agree that federal agencies must resemble the demography of the society they represent and that all racial and ethnicity group should be included in public service. Researchers have particularly criticized the SES for failure to reflect racial diversity in the American society. Minorities are especially underrepresented at the SES level. For example, in 2007, African American males and females held 5% and 3.5% of the SES positions respectively (Carey, 2012). Hispanic males and women held 2.7% and 0.9% of the positions respectively (Dolan, 2006). Caucasian males and women were dominantly represented with 60.7% and 23.3% positions respectively (Witherspoon, 2009). The trend had not changed by 2012 because minorities such as the Native American Indians only represented 1.2% of the SES while Asians accounted for 3.0%. Besides, African Americans only accounted for 9.8% while the Asian/Pacific Islanders constituted 3.4% of the SES (Carey, 2012). Dolan (2006) proffered that workforce diversity is vital not just for illustrative purposes, but because bureaucratic decision-making should be responsive to the people when the workforce resembles society. The author also stated that to improve resource allocation and policy results, ethnic member groups must be proportionally represented. Saidel and Loscocco (2007) stated that the cause for the continued focus on representative bureaucracy is based on the prevailing theories regarding how a democratic polity aligns with bureaucracy. The authors postulated that democratic polity in the workforce is a result of sufficient representation in decision-making positions. Rehfuss (2006) stated that representative bureaucracy concentrates on various demographic groups in the workforce and that the ranks of these demographic groups in the hierarchy of the organization are very important.

The author also proffered that significant administrative decisions are manipulated at the

senior management level, instead of at the lower echelon, where members of minority groups are typically located. Moreover, Greene, Selden and Brewer (2006) indicated that in order for individuals to be effective in an organization, they must have rank in their positions, not just presence. According to Greene et al., the rank of the public office possessed by a social group is a vital component of the degree to which it is engaged in the organization. Consequently, it is important for organizations to adopt plans that take into account the positions held by a certain social group and their relative appropriation in the chain of command. Knowing where minority groups are represented in the organization is an important element of representative bureaucracy.

Demands and Dilemmas for Minority Public Administrators

Heads of organizations from the minority groups either view their role as a link between the association and the minority group or as facilitators of minority interests. Besides, these powers are frequently contradictory and may be troublesome if not difficult to seek after at the same time. The minority head has a role in managing this issue. A substantial number overwhelmingly saw their part as to “effectively advocate for the benefit of, or give authority to realize, expanded minority group cooperation and information” (Naff, 2009). The minority directors use administrative powers to expand the representation of the minority groups in organizations. Minority directors accept they ought to assume solid promotion parts, particularly for underrepresented minority groups. Acknowledgement of such a part may without a doubt be a consequence of the vicinity of more minority executives at larger numbers in the pecking order. Most minority directors chose trade off procedures to improve the representation of minority groups. Such procedures show minority executives have the capacity to accommodate their backing for minority groups with the hierarchical and strategy requests of their calling.

Barriers Encountered by Hispanic Women in Federal Opportunities

There are yet many obstacles for Hispanic women in federal employment. For over a century, Hispanic women have engaged in higher education in numerous learning and teaching positions; nonetheless, they are still underrepresented in federal positions (Parker & Bradley, 2007). Harley (2008) pointed out that many Hispanic female employees in the federal government feel cornered between structural barriers of ethnicity and race. Hispanic women have made steps towards establishing their rightful place in federal employment; however, barriers and personal and professional challenges continue to trouble this female population. Hispanic employees lag behind their White counterparts. Tuna et al. (2008) reported a slow surge in hiring ethnically and racially diverse federal employees. The authors proffered that female employees of color hold only 3% of senior executive positions, facing barriers every step of the way. Harley (2008) addressed the disproportionate role that Hispanic women assume in teaching, research, and service at federal agencies. Harley explained that for Hispanics, pursuing a career in the federal government is an arduous process with steep requirements. Hispanic employees often confronted problems such as lack of promotion unheard of by their Caucasian associates (Harley, 2008).

Harley stated that the survival of Hispanics in the federal government depends upon factors such as their own self-reliance and self-worth within and outside the federal workforce. Progress has been very slow. Harley (2008) demonstrated that in the past 30-years, Hispanic employees in federal agencies are still on the receiving end of historically interdicting practices. For example, Harley explained that the representation of Hispanic females has not made any significant gains as it pertains to their overall inclusion in the federal government. When a Hispanic employee departs federal employment, a substitute of another minority member takes his/her place; however, the increase in the number of Hispanic employees still is not evident. Affirmative action initiatives are confronted with opposition and civil actions continue to be filed against federal agencies.

Organizational Culture

Organizational culture influences how individuals relate to, perceive and decipher problems (Hunt, Kerr, Ketcher, & Murphy, 2010).Organizational culture influences loyalty, commitment, and social cohesion to program objectives. Bureaucratic culture signifies the intangibles and tangibles of shared assumptions and values, perceptions, and popular beliefs. Moreover, it involves the design of leadership practices, social integration, and interpersonal relationships within the institution. Dolan (2006) proffered that organizational culture is an approved norm within organizations. These norms consist of assumptions, values, beliefs, and other artifacts. Tuna et al. (2008) described organizational culture as justifications, philosophies, beliefs, values, and norms that actors conjointly hold for their actions in the organization. Hunt, Kerr, Ketcher, and Murphy (2010) indicated that organizational culture is the shared perceptions, beliefs, and expectations of employees within organizations. Thus, culture provides the latitude for the direction and perspective of the organization.

Tuna et al. (2008) stated that assumptions are broad and ingrained subconscious perspectives of social relationships and human nature that are assumed as values represent choices for alternative results and a method of accomplishing those results. Antiquities are the better solid or physical delineation of traditions that includes myths and slogans. Tuna et al. (2008) suggested that institutional tradition involves a public perception that rejects or accepts innovation and compliments, or impedes the activities needed for a favorable outcome. Culture also alters or sustains obedience to the procedures that unite the institution’s central technology. Bureaucratic tradition affects every facet of an organization’s function, including policy decisions, implementation and results. Organizational culture commands the kind of innovation produced in the organization, however, only if such innovation can be maintained. Events in the past indicate that after a period time, a few program efforts become lost or dormant. The reason(s) organizational innovations become dormant or are deserted has been associated with the kinds of tradition in the institution (Hunt, Kerr, Ketcher, & Murphy, 2010).

Hunt, Kerr, Ketcher, and Murphy (2010) noted that there appears to be a connection amid the bureaucratic culture and changes in the institution. Tuna et al. (2008) indicated that irrespective of the outcome, bureaucratic culture impacts any initiative to create transformation. Attributes of bureaucratic innovations have been connected in the composition to several facets of institutional and financial execution. The authors also proffered that the organizational culture manipulates the structure, philosophy, modus operandi, and direction, of its Personnel Human Resource Management (PHRM) department and functions. Dolan (2006) stated that culture plays a significant part in either creating or preventing change. The assertions by these authors are unvarying with other experimental studies which proposed that the organizational culture contributes the stimulus for activities and functions within the organization.

The effect of the organization’s culture is far more substantial than has been admitted in some literature. For instance, Tuna et al. (2008) stated that although organizational culture has developed great charm and its significance has been well recorded, it’s still an “indefinable idea.”  Dolan (2006) stated that management theory and organizational culture are connected.  Sopow (2006) further indicated that the failure of numerous organizational innovations can frequently be connected to a misapprehension of the uniquely integrated roles of climate and culture within the organization. Tuna et al. (2008) suggested that for innovative initiatives to be successful there has to be recognition of the crucial climate and bureaucratic culture factors, particularly those elements that are viewed as having a positive and negative impact on the institution. Therefore, the promulgation of new changes and viability of initiatives are reliant upon the present tradition within the institution. Organizational culture is still a basic principle to bureaucratic transformation. The meaning of organizational culture for this research will be restricted to perceptions, shared values, and common beliefs.

IT Corporations

The underrepresentation of Hispanics in executive positions is not only confined to the federal government. Information Technology (IT) organizations also experience an underrepresentation of Hispanics in executive positions. Table 3 displays the executive diversity numbers of three major organizations located in California’s Silicon Valley. Ingram had the highest percentage of Hispanic executives in their executive pool with 2.1% (Jeong, 2013).Although Intel has the largest number of Hispanic executives within its organization, Hispanics are 1.3% of the total executive population while Dell had the lowest percentage of Hispanic executives at 0.7% (Jeong, 2013). Although these numbers are low, they are among the small fraction of data that is available on this phenomenon in IT organizations. Table 3 indicates the representation of employees from different racial backgrounds in Dell, Ingram, and Intel in 2010.

Table 3: Racial Diversity Breakdown In Executive Level Positions for Three IT Companies in 2010






















1, 993




In 2005, The Mercury News petitioned IT firms in Silicon Valley to release their racial and ethnic diversity data for the past five years. Of the 15 firms contacted, five fought the request by stating that this information would cause harm to their organizations. The fight between the IT firms and Mercury News lasted for 18 months until the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)

sided with the IT firms and ruled that releasing such data would be akin to releasing business strategy secrets in the highly competitive tech industry. The data released by the 10 remaining firms showed a 20% decrease in minority executive managers in these firms between 2000 and 2005 (Hunt, Kerr, Ketcher, & Murphy, 2010).

Workforce Diversity

The Dolan (2007) report focused keen attention on workforce diversity. Dolan is a political science professor who has conducted numerous studies in public administration especially the underrepresentation of minorities in the federal government. Although the idea of diversity has been examined extensively, it is still a topic absent of a perspicuous sense or measure of identifying workforce diversity. There is a perception that diversity represents the existence of diverse minority groups in the workforce. While this perception follows logic, the mere existence of these diverse groups within an institution does not necessarily represent that diversity exists at all in the senior management appointments. Connell (2006) stated that equal employment opportunity data revealed that the percentage of White males in upper level management positions transcend other groups in the public institutions researched taking into consideration that the American society is made up of different racial groups. This is despite the numerous publications calling for enhanced workplace diversity in the federal government. Dolan (2006) stated that a divergent federal workforce is significant not just for emblematic purposes, but because bureaucratic decisions are anticipated to be more receptive to society when the workforce mirrors America. Workforce diversity extends way beyond the existence of diverse minority groups to comprehensiveness at the senior management level post.

Literary texts on workforce diversity recommend that important achievements have been made in the alliance of minorities in Federal sector institutions, even though a majority of achievements are still at the entry-to mid-level job appointments. The literature indicated that the paucity of diversity in senior management job appointments is problematic, keeping in mind that the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOA) of 1972 has been active for decades. The existence of diversity is greater than the mere presence of Hispanic women and minorities in the federal workforce. Workforce diversity is the aggregate of representation, utilization, and inclusiveness in the hierarchies of organizations. Workforce diversity demands that each job classification and category takes into consideration the general population in which the institution exists. Lockwood (2006) stated that albeit diversity in the workplace has developed, it is greater than just the presentation of individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The author further asserted that the meaning of diversity reaches far beyond the customary perspective that centralized essentially on race and represents the wider aspect of workforce diversity.

The following perspectives were provided by Lockwood: The idea of incorporation is progressively imperative in the exchange of working environment differing qualities. From numerous points of view, this advancement reflects societal values in the work environment. For instance, two convictions usually held by Americans are that everybody merits a chance (equivalent open door, at times alluded to as leveling the playing field) and that all individuals ought to be treated with respect and admiration. The estimation of fairness, appreciation and open door for all relates to the foundation of working environment differences. Comprehensiveness is along these lines a win-win combination: it produces open doors for development, adaptability and adjustment in the commercial center for the representative and the association. Moreover, Lockwood (2006) noted that workforce diversity transpires across comprehensive surroundings that harness the complete talents and creativity of varied workers, supporting in their motivation, retention, and recruitment. Hicks-Clarke and Iles (2011) stated that workforce diversity represents workers from various backgrounds and cultures who feel that they are a part of the workplace and welcomed. Lockwood (2006) submitted that although minorities and Hispanic women are progressively represented at each level of the federal workforce, data indicates that White males are represented the most in senior level management appointments than other minority groups.

The findings by Lockwood (2006) indicated that minorities and Hispanic women are overrepresented in the junior level job positions. Wise and Tschirhart (2006) stated that diversity in the federal government has improved over the past 20 years. Carrell and Mann (2012) indicated that workforce diversity strategies are still incorporated in recruitment and selection strategies, and are located in programs designed to provide training awareness, sensitivity, and skills. As for defining workforce diversity, the Hudson Report provided two methods for explaining workforce diversity, which are: (1) a strict method that explains diversity in respect to affirmative action and EEO, and (2) a wider method that exemplifies workplace diversity that includes the cultural differences of employees within the organization. Moreover, workplace diversity must also include demographic and other minority groups of the workforce. Wise and Tschirhart (2006) argued that federal government organizations currently have workers from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Lockwood (2006) proposed a different method in calculating diversity in Federal sector organizations by explaining that present research studies regarding workplace diversity have sometimes overlooked progression in employment opportunities for minorities within federal institutions. Despite numerous research studies scrutinizing minority employment and workforce diversity, they have not identified how to adequately monitor and evaluate both workforce diversity and the employment of minorities in Federal sector organizations (Guajardo, 2006). The following five assessment factors were recommended by Lockwood: (1) determine the degree in which diversity programs and EEO have effectively included minorities and Hispanic women in public organizations, (2) identify the conduciveness of the organizational structure to promote upward mobility of minorities and Hispanic women in the workforce, (3) determine whether public organizations’ structure foster minority inclusiveness at the top-level positions, (4) estimate the extent to which governmental and public agencies embrace diversity, and (5) contrast the extent of social integration in different organizations and organizational levels (p. 9).

Wise and Tschirhart (2006) moved toward the idea of workforce diversity from an affirmative action standpoint. They asserted that by ensuring all ethnic and racial groups, genders, and age groups in the same organization have equal opportunity for advancement and representation at each level of the hierarchy, workforce diversity will be achieved. Lockwood (2006) stated that literary text on workforce diversity has not captured in great length the effects of diversity or completely investigated its extent. He also indicated that because the aftereffects of workforce diversity are unclear, unlike in workplace setting encompassing human biographies and real risks, it is important to conduct further research on workplace diversity through primary research involving workers. Further, Wise and Tschirhart (2006) noted that workforce diversity is still a major problem in public organizations. Further, since representative bureaucracy dictates that Federal sector institutions reflect the nation’s population, the standard for evaluating workforce diversity must be associated with this principle.

Ethnic Wage Inequality in the Workplace

A significant ethnic pay split exists in the America’s labor market. As reported in data released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR 2007a) and the U.S. Census Bureau (2009), the ethnic wage gap has been increasing. Hispanic women earn only 75.5% of the total amount income by their male counterparts. In 2002–2003, while men’s median annual income remained the same at $40,668, the annual income for Hispanic women employees working full-time dropped by 0.6% to $30,724. Commenting on the data released by the IWPR, Heidi Hartmann, president of the International Women’s Policy Research Conference stated that Hispanic women are unrelieved in the continuous economic stagnation and that declining salaries for Hispanic women show that the quality of their jobs have taken a downturn Fiscal improvement steadily draws back Hispanic women by not providing stable job growth in wages. In addressing the ethnic wage gap,  IWPR’s director of research, Barbara Gault, stated that in order to increase minimum wages, the  enforcement of equal employment opportunity laws must improve to assist Hispanic women to thrive in conventional male dominant jobs paying higher wages, and develop better family friendly, flexible, policies in the work environment (Jeong, 2013).

Recent statistics indicate that large racial and gender wage gaps still exist in the country despite the affirmative efforts. For example, a 2016 report by PewResearchCenter indicated that racial minorities lag behind in terms of median hourly earnings as compared to Whites (Patten, 2016).  The report also indicated that African-American and Hispanic men earned average wages of $15 and $14 respectively compared with $21 for White men. However, Asian men had average hourly earnings of $24. A similar trend was observed in which Asian and White women earned $18 and $17 respectively while their African-American and Hispanic counterparts earned $13 and $12 respectively. The wage gap was also observed among college level employees. In this case, African and Hispanic men contributed 80% of the overall earnings (Patten, 2016).

In a study concerning the ethnic wage gap in the United States, Mitra (2007) stated that professional Hispanic women experience notable employment barriers in achieving access to senior level management positions and in reaching wage equality with their Hispanic male colleague. The author also indicated that throughout all supervisory positions, the wage premium of Hispanic women is 6%, compared to a wage premium of 15% for men (Jeong, 2013) This suggests that the culture and hierarchy of these positions of authority are significant aims in enhancing the standing of professional Hispanic women and decreasing the ethnic wage gap in the labor market. Mitra (2007) found that a few of the elements ascribed to the ethnic income split involve divergent human capital achievement by Hispanic women and males, discrimination and occupational segregation.

In examining ethnic’s important role in the earnings gap, Boraas and Rodgers (2006) used the methodology employed by Johnson and Solon in 1986 in determining the origins of the association between the share and wages of Hispanic women in a profession. Statistical information from the Outgoing Rotation Group Files of the 1989, 1992, and 1999 Current Population Survey (CPS) were used to proximate the correlation between concentration and wages of Hispanic women within occupations (Boraas, & Rodgers, 2006). Boraas and Rodgers (2006) observed that the percentage of Hispanic women still experience the ethnic wage gap since they have a higher chance of working in female influenced jobs, that traditionally provide salaries that are very low. The most important measurable factor for men in describing the percent-male and salary correlation is personal characteristics (such as region of residence, age, and education) compared to the industry of employment (Boraas & Rodgers, 2006). Age and education were the most significant factors for justifying the underrepresentation of women and their low salaries In addition, industries that pay more than others had higher concentrations of men. Since the 1950s, researchers of the ethnic wage gap have been investigating the widespread phenomenon of ethnic earnings differentials. According to the 2010Workplace and Employee Survey, Hispanic women in Canada earned an average of 80 cents for every dollar compared to the males in their job categories. Thus, Hispanic women were paid on average $17.14 per hour compared to $21.54 per hour received by Caucasians (Jeong, 2013).

As one of the largest industrialized countries in the world, the pay gaps in U.S. income between Hispanic women and Caucasians is even smaller in Washington, DC. Although the ethnic salary gap is low in the District of Columbia for Hispanic women (89.2% compared to a higher rate for men), they have the highest median annual earnings, the highest education levels, the highest percentage in managerial and executive positions, and the highest percentage of female Hispanic entrepreneurs in the country (Willinger, 2006). Washington DC ranks 48th in relation to the number of Hispanic women who live in poverty; meaning that the situation at the district level is appalling. In contrast, the U.S. ranks low on virtually every measure of economic well-being (Willinger, 2006). Scholars have started to become interested in the role of pay policies at the senior executive level in determining employees’ earnings within the organization. For example, the employees concerned may take steps to remove restrictive workplace practices or change new methods or practices of work performance that directly contribute to the improvement in productivity. This is in reply to the opportunity of connected employee–employer data.

Preliminary findings in this new perspective recommend that organizations play a significant role in describing the variations in employees’ earnings. Furthermore, the authors of several studies such as: “Explaining Levels of Within Group Wage Inequality in U.S. Labor Markets” and Percentiles in the National Compensation Survey (Simpson & Smith, 2007) also suggested that changes in employers pay policies significantly contributed to the growing incidence of ethnic wage inequality. Some studies such as Ethnic Wage Gap, which examined the “Case of Young Italian Workers” (Capellari, Chies, & Zaccarin, 2006), questioned if the wage policies of organizations equally affect ethnic income differentials. Prior research on the ethnic income gap using employee–employer connected statistical data primarily centered on the ethnic segregation effect, such as segregation by job cell, employer, occupation, or industry. According to Mitra (2007), traditional research on the ethnic pay gap has centered on the aspects related to supply in the labor market, thereby emphasizing the diverse cognitive and human capital achievement of Hispanics, the breaks in labor market occurrences of Hispanic women because of child bearing and marriage, and the diverse occupational choices made by Hispanic women and men.

Based on classical economics, salaries are associated with employee productivity, which

is derived from training, skills, and education. Further, conventional research reveals that the bureaucratic structure of establishments and firms can have a negative impact on the salaries and career paths of men and Hispanic women throughout different occupations (Mitra, 2007). An establishment and firm size can also have different results on the career paths and wages of Hispanic women and men (Mitra, 2007). Establishment size pertains to the number of employees at any given location of work. A firm expanse is determined by the amount of employees at each location of employment. The clerical jobs held by Hispanic women benefit them in larger firms because the advancement opportunities of Hispanic women and secretaries in clerical jobs frequently depends on the advancement of their managers, so that when he/she is transferred within establishments, the administrative staff (secretaries) also receive higher salaries and promotions (Mitra, 2007).

In addressing ethnic pay equality, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) was passed through Congress in 1963. Wage equality between Hispanic women and men is one of the basic criteria established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); however, there are lawful and legitimate circumstances for the increase in salaries for a man than a woman and vice versa. The EPA only requires wage equity when the jobs challenged have equal skills. This all equates to meaningful education, training, experience, and ability. Therefore, if a male employees’ job position requires 5 years of experience, he can be offered a salary higher than a woman whose job position only requires 2 years of experience. However, if all positions advertised require 2 years of experience, the law requires that employers must provide each employee the same rate of pay. In addition, the EPA permits the salaries to vary if the duties performed require differential amounts of mental and physical exertion. For example, if a male construction worker is required to perform heavier work than a female, the male worker may be offered higher wages. Another example cited by the author was the case of Hodgson v. Daisy Manufacturing Company of 1975, in which the court opined that female workers that were expected to move their hands in and out of a high-speed press, required a considerable amount of mental effort not needed of male press operators whose job responsibility was not the same.  The court held that these circumstances justified higher pay for Hispanic women.

Promotion to Leadership Position

            Since 2000, women’s political and corporate leadership has been increasing. According

to statistical information published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2007), Hispanic women held 18% of administrative and managerial jobs in America during 1972. This rate grew to 46% by 2002. Further, in 2000, 15.7% of all corporate officers were Hispanic women and 1.4% of them Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in Fortune 500 companies (Choi, 2011). In the political arena, 14% of the U.S. Congress was female members in 200, 12% of state governors were Hispanic women, and the White House Project (2002)found that 42% of Hispanic women served in the United States Senate and are currently still in place, as were 26% of Hispanic women that served as governors (Choi, 2011). In world affairs, 43 of 59 Hispanic women served as prime ministers or presidents of nations since 1990. Men and Hispanic women are not treated and perceived as equal in leadership roles (Koch, 2007). A study by Ridgeway (2008) revealed that income, hiring probability, and promotion, were examined in a different manner based on ethnicity, with lower scores identified for Hispanic women. Under the same circumstances, this kind of bias did not occur with Caucasian males and females.

Foschi (2007) underlined the ethnic-based inequality in the workplace. According to Ridgeway (2008, Hispanics are often subjected to unfavorable evaluations while being hired or promoted compared to their skill assessments, which demonstrates a shifting criteria effect for minimal requirements versus capability judgments. In particular, they experienced underrepresentation prior to 1970 in which disproportionately few Hispanic women held positions in management levels. By the 21st century, more Hispanic women had achieved senior executive positions, and they had attained much progress toward equality with men. Factors accounting for these improvements are attainment causing shifts and educational focus in the labor market. In 2000, almost three quarters of Hispanic women between the ages of 25 and 64 were in the labor force, and the salary split had narrowed substantially. In the face of increased earnings inequality in the transition, Hispanic women were able to progress in the wage gap arena by improving their education and employment situation. Hispanic women continued to obtain as many or more years of education than men. They also tended to obtain more general secondary degrees and university degrees than their male counterparts. With assets such as higher education, Hispanic women were better rewarded in the early transition and this helped to improve their relative earnings.

In a study that explored access to supervisory jobs among professionals, Mitra (2007) cited studies showing that:

Promotions were prescribed by standard bureaucratic procedures and rules that were not completely understood and inclusive; for example: (a) discrimination based on ethnicity usually prevented the most productive female workers from being promoted to leadership positions; (b) Hispanic women and professional men placed throughout various establishments and companies may have contributed to lack of accessibility to supervisory job positions; (c) criteria in promotions were unequal for Hispanic women and men in relation to standards for promotions to supervisory job positions; and (d) discrimination data based on the perceptions of employers on Hispanic women’s abilities and productivity may have affected wages and placement of Hispanic women managers in the job market (p. 1025).

Moreover, the author discussed prior studies that indicated male employees were reluctant to work under Hispanic women managers, and employers may view Hispanic women as inept supervisors. Male managers viewed Hispanic women as being more suited for clerical job positions and men as fitting better in the role of engineers and managers. In addition, managers often used ethnicity as an assessment tool for administrative decisions regarding production job positions. Huffman and Cohen (2007) stated that men were more likely to be in job positions of authority in all occupations despite job characteristics and controlling for human capital. Also, Hispanic women were expected to be in lower paying jobs of authority than men, under circumstances where they were proportionately represented in supervisory jobs.

Corporate Skills

Based on the Leader’s Edge Research (2001), top-level Hispanic women were not able to adequately network to promote their career advancement, nor did they achieve the collective income salary of their male colleagues. Sixty-six percent of top-level Hispanic women described networking skills as significant, while 75.3% of men indicated the same (The Leader’s Edge Research, 2001). In addition, the reputation of 95% of top-level executive Hispanic women was identified as their best asset in the labor market. However, reputation was not regarded as important among Hispanic male top-level executives. Male workers took risks that could potentially destroy their reputations more so than Hispanic women (Choi, 2011). Indeed, the Leader’s Edge Research observed that the behavior of top-level Hispanic women was considerably modified after they reached the senior management level, demonstrating that Hispanic women were against taking risks once they achieved certain job levels. Hispanic women expect to exhibit excellent performance (Riccucci, 2009). Hispanic women utilized the approach of continuously surpassing job performance criteria as a means of attaining advancement. The women felt the need to enhance their capabilities repeatedly to be the best so that they could change the negative presumptions in primarily male corporate environments.

Further, Hispanics paid a greater price for success. For instance, top- level Hispanic women stated that they started work very early with many hours of family chores to perform before their children woke up. They also took late-night business calls and faxes at their residents via electronic teleconnect (Riccucci, 2009).  One participant stated that she must work much harder than her male colleagues. Hispanic women senior executives indicated a professional style that male managers approve as the most important quality that they needed to succeed in the corporate world (Riccucci, 2009). They further stated that in a primarily male culture and environment, Hispanic women needed to cope and adapt with their perception that the male managerial archetype for successful male managers incorporates masculine characteristics and styles (Riccucci, 2009).

Hispanic women are conflicted because if they present a feminine managerial approach, they risk looking like ineffective leaders; on the other hand, if they assumed a manly approach, it would be deemed an acceptable role for a manager; however, they still may be criticized for not exhibiting feminine behavior. In addition, Hispanic women indicated that it was important to identify very visible or difficult assignments to achieve success. Major job assignments are related to diverse professional career monitoring for Hispanics and serve three important purposes; that is, (1) stretch assignments serve as grooming exercises for the tracks that would lead to executive positions, (2) stretch assignments provide professional growth and learning challenges, and (3) highly visible assignments provide access to key decision makers and influential mentors in the company” (Riccucci, 2009).Hispanic women in senior level management faced problems in crashing the glass ceiling.

Choi (2011) stated that Hispanic Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are likely to view unwelcome work locations as an employment barrier to their upward mobility.

Fifty-Two percent of Hispanic women senior executives reported male stereotyping as well as their presumptions of Hispanic women as the number one factor impeding their ability for advancement compared to 25% of the CEOs. Forty-Nine percent of Hispanic women described the absence from informal networks, compared to 15% of CEOs, and unwelcome business lifestyle was recognized by 35% of Hispanic women, compared to 18% of CEOs (p. 28).

Moreover, the firm nature of stereotypes is described by the circumstance in which, irrespective of one of the participant’s impressive achievements and credentials, women are always presumed to be executive assistants when they attend corporate meetings. Therefore, regardless of women’s participation in the National Training Organizations, there are still employment barriers that impede them from advancing up the senior executive ladder as often as men advance (Llorens, Wenger, & Kellough, 2007). Part of the problem is the hidden lines between what is perceived as masculine and feminine behavior.  To achieve advancement, Hispanic women should incorporate the correct mixture of male quality traits with enough feminine quality traits to improve male managers’ comfort in the work environment. In addition, Hispanic women are not inclined to utilize networking to increase their chances for advancement in their careers. Instead, they would prefer to outperform their male colleagues and accomplish more than is necessary to make up for the situation they find themselves in since they are still viewed as less capable than their male colleagues (Llorens et al., 2007)

Glass Ceiling

Employers have sought to improve awareness among minorities and Hispanic women concerning problems of equality and fairness in the workplace since the enactment of the 1991 Amendment to the Civil Rights Act, which made discrimination against women and minorities unlawful. Some organizations established and enforced zero tolerance policies against discrimination of any type. However, the lack of Hispanic women in senior executive level job position is still a reality in the corporate world.  Frequent discussions regarding the glass ceiling or the hidden employment barrier that impedes minorities and Hispanic women from advancing to senior executive positions in organizations indicate an increased interest in the issue of promotions (Lemons, 2008). The low participation rate of Hispanic women in the ranks of managers and supervisors can be attributed to discrimination and lack of fair assessment of their performance and credentials (Lemons, 2008). Leadership behaviors conducted by a man are perceived more favorably than when conducted by a woman. However, Lemons (2008) established that despite Hispanic women being competent and having met the requirements for promotion, they are still denied opportunities for advancement into upper-management positions. It was suggested that glass ceilings, rather than a shortage of skills, limited Hispanic women’s opportunity for advancement into senior executive level job positions.

There are numerous interdependent reasons for the glass ceiling problem. These include a patriarchal social system, preference for similar colleagues, and an organizational ethnic composition. The glass ceiling phenomenon is partly a result of the old boy network principle, an informal practice conducted by men in leadership positions for the purpose of recruiting and hiring senior leadership (Lemons, 2008). Members of this network, who are well connected to one another socially and professionally, serve as a source of referrals and as a pool from which contemporary firms have recruited their chief executives and senior managers. Consequently, Hispanic women and women from other races are excluded from the ranks of senior executive positions. Lemons (2008) stated that the presence of Hispanic women in senior executive job posts contravenes public expectation of men’s higher superiority and status more so than the presence of Hispanic women in lesser paying senior executive positions. Blatant inequity involving the dominant group of men against Hispanic women who contravene the status-quo by searching for senior executive level posts prolongs this concept.

While the glass ceiling phenomenon is prevalent in almost all industries, there is evidence of exceptions in internet companies. In New Economy Web-based companies, Hispanic women were enabled to pursue better advancement opportunities than in traditional old school companies. A large number of news reports in the business pages and financial press have noted the selection of Hispanic women to senior level management posts at Web-related firms. However, there is doubt over the idea of Hispanic women leaders thriving in this sector. A survey conducted among 75 senior executives by The International Labor Organizationcompanies were not advancing Hispanic women to senior level management positions (Burns & Bradbury, 2013). The survey further reflected that respondents cited the lack of career development opportunities, Hispanic women’s isolation, lack of role models or networks, corporate culture, and the problem of work-life balance as the key contributors to the impediments Hispanic women face in organizations.

Lemons (2008) identified factors that explained why Hispanic women had difficulty advancing in the leadership positions as “(a) sociological factors, (b) educational aspects and family characteristics, and (c) corporate culture” (p. 249). Parental impact had an extraordinary effect because people influence distribution of work at the family level and public domain. In numerous families, young females are taught to be nurturers and parental figures while young men are taught to be focused and intense. As grown-ups, these customary ethnic parts may be forged into the work environment. Further, albeit a few folks inform their children that Hispanic women are fit for opportunities that are traditionally meant for men, experts show their motive to work is influenced by financial needs. Lemons (2008) used the results of a study that distinguished four types of Hispanic women:

(a) those who chose having children over a work career; (b) those who initially chose to become homemakers but returned to the workplace due to circumstances such as the absence of the sense of self-worth, divorce, or financial problems; (c) those who believed that they can have a career, even in a predominantly male profession; and (d) those who initially believed they would achieve a fine career, but then wedded, lessening their self-worth to fulfill the expectations of their spouses (p. 255).

In the second category, Lemons (2008) found that once Hispanic women reentered the workforce and wanted to obtain a leadership position, efforts to enhance their scholastic skills were disregarded by the organizations which employed them. Once a woman experienced childbirth and returned to the workforce, she generally could not start from where she had left off, and her wages and benefits would be reduced (Burns & Bradbury, 2013).        

Changing Face of the American Workplace

            A person is required to have more than the average level of education to compete for the job categories with the fastest growing occupations. None of the jobs that experience less than average growth require more than median education. Measuring jobs according to skills, instead of education, demonstrates the increasing requirements even more emphatically. “When jobs are given numerical classifications based on the level of the needed language, math, and reasoning skills, only 27% of  new jobs are in the lowest two skill categories, while 40% of jobs necessitate these limited skills” (Hunt, Kerr, Ketcher, & Murphy, 2010). “In contrast, 41% of new jobs are in the three major skill categories, compared to only 24% of the current jobs.” The job market of the future will impact various social groups in different ways. For example, while young Whites may view their employment potential favorably, the job market will be extremely difficult for Hispanic men and Latinos (Hunt et al., 2010). On the same note, the representation of Hispanic males in different divisions of employment will decrease while that of Hispanic women will increase. However, the increase in the employed number of Hispanic women will not be sufficient to counterbalance their employable numbers. For minority laborers, the progressions in the country’s economy and demography in the 1990s speak to both an incredible danger and an extraordinary open door. With less new youthful laborers embarking upon the workforce, executives will enthusiastically seek for qualified individuals and additionally offer jobs and skill training to those they have traditionally overlooked. Then again, the sorts of jobs introduced in the economy will require much more elevated amounts of aptitude than the jobs available currently. Minority laborers are not just less inclined to have had low education and at work preparation, they may have dialect, state of mind, and social issues that keep them from exploiting the existing employment opportunities. However, if measures such as instituting changes in the labor market are put in place, it is probable that the representation of the minorities and issues of unemployment will be addressed accordingly.

It is important to scrutinize factors that hinder progress in the society. For example, poor education in schools, more noteworthy reliance on welfare, more prominent rate of displaced families, children from single parent households, and an increase in criminal capture. “Without generous changes, Hispanics chances of obtaining meaningful employment will significantly decrease by the year 2020, while those looking for work will have risen. Despite the fact that it seems likely that the work will progressively burden minorities over the long term, it is considerably less clear whether the impediments these groups endure will be showing signs of improvement or will be more terrible amid this time of more tightly work markets. The probability that minorities will embody a vast portion of the new increases in the workforce over the long haul shows up, at first glance, to present a phenomenal open door” (Hunt et al., 2010, p. 418).

As leaders achieve more within the work environment, they may be required to give better occupation prospects to truly burdened gatherings and invest in training and development of such groups. In any case the example of employment development in higher-innovation occupations requiring more training, and the probability of more noteworthy work opportunities in metropolitan areas with fewer minority inhabitants recommends that this enthusiastic standpoint is a long way from guaranteed. Given the notable examples of conduct by executives, it is more sensible to anticipate that they will offer up the salaries of the generally smaller group of White workers, and look to replace capital for work in numerous administration occupations. Another possibility is to move the occupation to the more quickly developing, younger parts of the nation, or maybe the world. However, the employment opportunities for Hispanic men will be endangered if such techniques are adopted (Hunt et al., 2010). The combined effect of the altering racial and ethnic arrangement of the work power will be emotional. In particular, it is likely that casual labor will be dominated by Hispanics and foreigners. For organizations that have already enlisted youthful White males, the future will oblige real changes.

For decently competent and qualified minorities, the employment opportunities will be minimal. Every year of postponement in genuinely and effectively exploring this issue makes it more troublesome. Employment opportunities will become more refined; hence, requiring experts while the number of new specialists entering the workforce will increase. Notably, it is important to improve education and training opportunities for minorities in order to enable them to compete effectively in the labor market. Investments in education and training will be necessary to insure that employers have a qualified workforce in the years after 2020, and to guarantee the equality of opportunity (Hunt et al., 2010).

Implementation of Social Equity in the Workplace

This section starts by briefly examining the literature focusing on the issues involved and the obstacles faced in implementing an affirmative action plan. Over the last three centuries, members of the major U.S. minority groups Hispanics, Asian, African Americans, and Native Americans experienced informal and formal hindrances to their engagement in the occupational and educational activities in the American society. However, in the past 25 years, the country has witnessed the abolishment of the most of the legal prohibitions which limited the inclusion of minorities in equal employment and equal protection under the law.

Equal opportunity policies and civil rights legislation make up the legal framework by which the formal barriers have been dismantled. The policy of Affirmative Action was born of the recognition that the passive procedures of Equal Employment Opportunity had failed to yield the anticipated outcome of broad involvement of minorities and Hispanic women in the institutions of the American society. The affirmative action objective is to ensure that minorities achieve full representation at all levels of the institutions from which they were once barred. In the broadest sense, affirmative action invites all manners of positive efforts to include minorities in the labor markets and institutions from which they have been historically excluded (Hunt et al., 2010). Although reviews of the research literature regarding the stereotypes and racial attitudes of Americans consistently indicate widespread and improved changes over the past 25 years, caution has been raised regarding the meaning of these changes for contemporary race relations. What may have changed most over the last quarter century is the sensitivity of White Americans to norms that proscribe discrimination and outward expressions of prejudice, not the ability of Whites to behave in a nondiscriminatory manner.

Traditionally, affirmative action processes are required externally by the federal government. Administrators and managers often perceive such initiatives as government interference. Affirmative action initiatives are frequently implemented with abstract goals that are not clearly linked to any solid objective. In addition, organizations usually have numerous objectives and affirmative action provides an additional element to this initiative, which may or may not coincide with other objectives that are already established (Hunt et al., 2010). The following examples represent two conflicting goals, which are: “(1) investing in the recruitment of all possible applicants and minorities, and (2) maintaining tight control over expenditures” (Hunt et al., 2010). The authors further asserted that the underrepresentation of minorities is also advanced through the pre-selection of candidates via buddy clubs because such candidates are perceived to be more favored compared to their competent counterparts from the racial minorities.

Companies incorporate affirmative action programs into their design without specific care for the potential central problems that may occur. The Affirmative Action office is typically responsible for describing how the company is in conformance with its rules and regulations. However, its structural position within the hierarchy is frequently viewed as an extension of the “Office of the Executive” without the authority of that office and no power over the numerous departments within the hierarchy. The Affirmative Action office typically has great culpability but not much power to directly supervise program enforcement. These limitations notwithstanding, the Affirmative Action program has some other distinctive issues that magnify the complexity of its enforcement, particularly in regards to the present political climate in America. To state that affirmative action will decrease sexism and racism is more controversial than it is to state that it will enhance equal opportunity for all.


Value of Equality

The value of equality starts with the idea of “lot equality” in which shares are equal or identical. The benefit of lot equality is that only the individual can assess what displeases or pleases him or her. Lot can also be easily calculated and implemented, and suggests nothing in regards to equality. The problem, of course, is that lot equality is insensitive to significant variations in need. For instance, a threatened person may require more protection merely to make that person equal to the non-threatened person. This concept regarding equality is frequently practiced in public administration to “make the rules appear humane” (Frederickson, 2011).

Equalities of Opportunity

Prospect and means opportunity are important elements of equalities of opportunity. Two individuals have the same opportunity in finding a job if both have the same probability of obtaining employment under conditions of prospect equality of opportunity. On the other hand, two individuals have the same opportunity for a job provided that both have identical qualifications or talents for the position under conditions of means-equal opportunity. In means equality of opportunity, equal rules define opportunity. Two components of social equity drawn from Frederickson’s Compound Theory of Social Equity are useful for assessing the extent to which the civil service contributes to the achievement of a just and democratic society, they are: “(1) construct of segmented equality, and (2) block equality” (Wang & Mastracci, 2014). Segmented equality is an internal alignment in which inequality between individuals is presumed to align with the changing conditions. The concept is a prerequisite in public policy and administration because public service is delivered in accordance with hierarchies founded on the principle of individuals being disproportionately unequal (Frederickson, 2010). Conversely, the concept of block equality emphasizes equality between groups and sub-classes. The concept emphasizes equal treatment for the various racial groups (Frederickson, 2010).

Social Equity in Public Administration

The modern drive for public equity in the United States emerged in the early 1960’s. Efforts to secure the civil rights of African Americans were expanded to include other ethnic and racial minorities as well as Hispanic women. Equality of opportunity and treatment has been the central demands of civil rights reformers; for the most part, equity of results has not been an objective of public policy in the United States. In fact, employment policy can be characterized as largely symbolic, giving the appearance of responsiveness without changing the position of those on the periphery of the labor market. Compound Theory of Social Equity is a series of concepts and definitions. Equality varies from one thing to many things “equalities.” If public organizations are to be disposed toward social equity, a better understanding of equality is required. In theory and practice public administration has underlined ideas of decision making, operations research, management science, systems analysis, and rationality (Scheer, 2010). In maintaining an effective government, the administrator’s responsibility is to be efficient or economical.

Segmented Equality

The assumption in segmented equality is that equality exists within the group and that inequality exists between the constituents. All forms of hierarchy use the concept of segmented equality. The equal pay for equal work policy is a form of segmented equality because it is based on equitable internal alignment of positions and pay within an organization, but it is not dependent on external alignment of pay and status with other organizations or units of government. For example, under conditions of segmented equality, accountants in the federal government performing equally difficult work receive the same pay grade regardless of their agency or sex, but they would not receive wages comparable to those earned by accountants in the private sector. Thus, segmented equality is systematic or structured inequality. This condition of inequality between groups means that segmented equality provided a structure for inequality. Segmented equality is vitally significant for bureaucratic policy and administration since basically every public service is provided on a segmented foundation and invariably by segmented pecking orders (Johnson & Svara, 2011).

In Hosoda, Nguyen, and Stone-Romero (2012), the wage-gap for Hispanics and Caucasians could be closed, only if they were equally represented. The authors also indicated that separation by race suggested inequality instead of block equality defining blocks by using race. The policy of pay comparability which involves an equitable external alignment of pay rates between the public and private sectors is based on the notion of block equalities; it contends that public employees should receive salaries competitive with those offered for the same work in the private sector. Similarly, the policy of wage solidarity is based on block equalities because it demands equal pay for equal work across firms, regions, and sectors of the economy.


The most significant legal impact resulting in a better government is in the area of employment, both public and private. The legal concerns are: who should be entitled to a job, what are the standards, and how should they be applied? The Equal Employment Act of 1972 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended was designed to ensure equal employment opportunity for all Americans. This was achieved by a combination of block equalities and means-equal opportunities logic. In the landmark case Griggs v. Duke Power (1971) the Court rejected the concept of prospect equality, and since it upheld the notion of equality by blocks or as the Court proclaimed “protected groups,” a firm social equity message was conveyed (Hosoda et al., 2012). Affirmative action based on race-consciousness was to be based upon equality between Whites and the minority ethnic groups in the labor market-a kind of double application of equality.

The laws governing affirmative action, and the Court’s explanations of them, have made an important impact on adjusting equal employment opportunities between Whites and minorities. Equal employment opportunity, which requires equal access to jobs among population segments or groups, also entails block equalities, but it may produce segmented equality if it is not pursued with the same earnestness in all sectors of society. A concern for social equity in public employment is appropriate on at least three grounds: “(1) government jobs offer material rewards that affect individual living standards, (2) certain intrinsic rewards are unique to public sector employment, and (3) participation in societal bureaucracy provided a chance for authentic political representation” (Hosoda et al., 2012, p. 350). Whether citizens have equal access to the benefits and rewards of public service depends on the makeup of the public labor force.

 In major organizations in modern societies, bureaucratic policies subscribe to the level of social and economic equality. Both public policies and government employment practices that disperse wealth and other resources may symbolize redemptive rules when attempts are made to provide unfair opportunities for people who have suffered discrimination within the job market or before situations that create unfair investments in human capital. The inherent rewards attained from public service are also important and frequently special benefits of federal employment (Hosoda et al., 2012). The implementation of responsibilities in federal employment furnishes an individual with an opportunity for self-realization and has a significant impact on the equalization of employment opportunities between minorities and non-minority. As mentioned earlier, since the implementation of authority in federal civil service employment provides ample opportunity for individual self-realization, a connection between the concept of available job positions and the perception of justice is effectuated.

The reasons why certain individuals work are uniquely attached to the satisfaction of individual needs and public service opportunities. What is connected to these work principles is highly reliant upon the level of access to federal civil service employment (Hosoda et al., 2012). Theoretical concepts of fair representation incorporate both active and passive models for providing the predisposition of various communal groups an equitable opportunity to voice their concerns. Demographic or passive presentation in the government projects the theory that the bureaucratic system is fluid and receptive to the public irrespective of one’s personal characteristics or social standing (Hosoda et al., 2012).In the solidarity design of bureaucratic presentation, the members are anticipated to take an unassertive role, depending on those in senior management posts to advance their perspectives.

The conduit for empowerment represents an act of participation in bureaucracy. A passion for performing in the interest of the public provides a sense of allegiance and serves as an incentive for employment in the federal government. The concept of social fairness provides federal senior level managers with a performance and ethics code for stabilizing conditions between the favored and disfavored members of the public. The concept of social fairness in the distribution of social good is important regarding the manner in which bureaucrats allocate the payoffs of federal government service. Fair entry to the intrinsic and material advantages of federal service is a major connection to egalitarian rule in a bureaucratic culture since it supports equal opportunity for each individual and promotes common opportunities for fair presentation.

An important query to make in determining fairness within the federal civil service is the degree to which senior level executive positions are equitably aligned among individuals of various groups. That is, when junior level employees of the federal government consist of members representing one sex or race while senior level managers of the government are predominated by another, the expected results of equal opportunity in government are compromised. Federal civil servants in elite job categories have a better opportunity to impact programs and policy productivity (Hosoda et al., 2012). Senior level management officials play a major part in the establishment of federal rules and policy as associates of or advisors to the political advisory committees. Prospective workers from disadvantaged groups may think that they will achieve a better overall profit for their labor in government than in industry, and, in fact, the public sector typically offers members of minority groups better conditions of employment than they can obtain in the open market. Although the empathy for underprivileged groups for Federal sector employment is logical from an economic perspective, these outcomes raise serious doubts regarding the role of the government as a conduit for improving possibilities for social equality. The federal government may become the employer of the disadvantaged when it pursues policies that provide members of certain groups better rates of pay or conditions of employment than they would receive in the private sector.

The flow of workers between the sectors can be influenced by compensatory policies that impact the pattern of recruitment or mobility within a sector (Johnson & Svara, 2011) Achievement of equal representation in the public bureaucracy may serve as a symbol of social equity that deflated further demands for equality and, in fact, established a form of segmented equity. Opportunities for formal equality are not a sufficient condition for equity, particularly where members of different groups are found in unequal circumstances of status, power, and economic resources in the society at large. The pursuit of equal representation in itself may undermine efforts to achieve other broader goals. In assessing the level of social fairness within the federal government, two findings are of concern: “(1) the increased degree of passive representation of disadvantaged groups in government compared to their low numbers in decision and rule making job positions, and (2) the job market is divided, with the responsibility of bureaucracy better suited to be implemented by individuals of underprivileged groups” (Johnson& Svara, 2011)


An examination of the literature presents a picture of the problems facing Hispanic women entering executive management positions. Of the total executive management population within the federal government, Hispanics only represented 8.4% of the population (Hosoda et al., 2012). This percentage was only a 0. 1% increase in the number of Hispanic executive managers in 2000. Recent data from 2010 indicated that Hispanic women only represent 0.9% of the positions in the SES (Carey, 2012; Witherspoon, 2009). Additionally, Hispanic women only represented 3.4% of all the female workers at the SES level in 2014 (Whitford & Lee, 2015). Besides, recent reports indicate that Hispanics will remain underrepresented and will only constitute 6.8% of the SES population by 2035 (Davidson, 2011). Additionally, since 70% – 90% of the current federal employees are estimated to retire by 2018, the numbers of Hispanic federal employees may decline even further (Johnson & Svara, 2011)

Although the federal government has a series of statutes that subject each agency to employment discrimination laws, Hispanics are still underrepresented within the executive management levels. There are various theories in literature that may provide reasons for this problem. The theories presented by Herzberg (1993) and Maslow (1943) address possible motivations why Hispanics pursue federal positions and why they may not. Research suggested that informal networks and performance appraisals also contribute to the advancement of Hispanics in federal positions. Hispanic women have an even greater disadvantage for advancement as opposed to Hispanic men because of the “concrete ceiling” that they must contend with in the workplace for career advancement (Hosoda et al., 2012). The methods outlined in Chapter 3 will describe how this qualitative descriptive phenomenological research study will use these possible factors to explore the underrepresentation of Hispanic women in high-level federal government positions



Chapter 3: Research Method

The objective of this chapter is to develop and document the methods that will collect the required data for analysis. The researcher has identified a qualitative method of research as the best method for collection of data. The qualitative method has clear disadvantages and advantages that will be discussed in the subsequent paragraphs. The study will obtain primary data obtained through face-to-face interviews. It will add value to the research due to the collection of detailed first-hand and original information, which enhances the integrity of the research.

Quality is another advantage that will be acquired through the qualitative method. Creswell (2007) stated that qualitative research is a form of scholastic examination in which the investigator depends on the perceptions of participants, asks general, extensive questions, gathers statistics comprising primarily of text or words from participants, analyzes, and describes these expressions for them, and performs the query in a biased, intuitive fashion. The study sample will include SES level Hispanic women from different federal agencies. The interviews conducted will mainly include open-ended questions.

There are four phases in the qualitative research process (Walther, 2014). The first is the act of asking; the second is the act of witnessing, which is followed by the act of interpreting and knowing. In the first phase, the people who are the focus of inquiry are identified. The focus of inquiry in this study will be Hispanic women in the workplace who are in or retired from SES positions. The questions have also been identified as open-ended to enhance the clarity that will be obtained from the dialogue with the women. The second phase, the act of witnessing, refers to the act of having personal or direct cognizance of something, to see something for oneself. In this regard, the researcher will be actively engaged in interviewing the participants. In examining the marginalized group, it is possible to witness the experiences of underrepresented Hispanic women in the workplace.

The third phase which is the act of interpreting is to make sense of the collective experiences of participants. This will entail going through and interpreting the collected qualitative data to identify key themes and patterns. The final phasing which involves knowing provides an understanding of the entire research. The results are obtained from the analysis, and the research questions are provided with the required research findings It represents the final step of the research. A qualitative methodology is primarily used in the social sciences constructed on theoretical propositions such as hermeneutics, social interaction, and phenomenology using techniques of data contributions that are not quantitative in order to investigate social relationships and describe real life as experienced by their corresponding personalities.

Research Method and Design(s)

There are different qualitative research methods ranging from case study, ethnography, grounded theory, and generic approaches to phenomenology research methods. The key aim in case study methods is to conduct an in-depth exploration of a program, event, activity, process, or group of individuals. In particular, the approach is more suited for research phenomenon that is not clearly understood (Williams, 2007). However, it is marred by limitations of time and place. In contrast, ethnography focuses on studying cultural groups within their natural settings. Such studies are conducted over a period of time through observation and collection of primary data. It is important to note that findings cannot be generalized to other cultural groups. Lastly, grounded theory focuses on development of concepts based on research findings. The theory is determined by data collected from the field (Williams, 2007). However, this approach is not suitable for this study because the main focus is the lived experiences of SES Hispanic women in relation to their underrepresentation in senior levels in federal employment. In this regard, phenomenological methods are best suited for the study. The approach seeks to understand the experiences of the research subjects from the participants’ perspectives. Phenomenology lays emphasis on intentionality of consciousness based on participants’ memory, image, and construed meaning (Williams, 2007).

The study is exploratory in nature because it seeks to identify the lived experiences of SES level Hispanic women in relation to the underrepresentation of Hispanic women in senior government positions. The key aim is to identify factors for their underrepresentation in the SES and how the gap can be narrowed. To ensure accuracy of the research findings, the study will adopt a phenomenological research design. There are three major types of phenomenology. These include realist phenomenology, Husserlian descriptive phenomenology, and hermeneutic phenomenology by Heidegger and Gadamer. The first method focuses on the essence of differentiated issues such as human activities, motives, and personalities. In contrast, hermeneutic or interpretive phenomenology is more complicated compared to descriptive phenomenology (Sloan & Bowe, 2014).

The researcher will adopt Husserl’s descriptive phenomenology which emphasizes that human consciousness is guided by the interface between an individual and the world. Husserl pointed out that understanding human consciousness necessitates a direct comprehension of a phenomenon rather than focusing on generalization and inferences (Laverty, 2003). The concept of human consciousness also lays emphasis on the model of intentionality and the meaning of human experiences. Husserl also championed the application of experiential epistemology methods such as bracketing to avoid researcher’s bias during research activities. Notably, the technique entails stripping of any preconceptions in relation to the research phenomenon. This is achieved by blocking any presumptions regarding the research phenomenon and keeping a reflective journal, which documents the researcher’s personal observations, conceptions, and confusions.  This helps researchers to gain a clear comprehension of the research problem (Converse, 2012). The phenomenology approach is appropriate for this study because it will facilitate the exploration of lived experiences among Hispanic women in the SES and the meanings associated themes or inferences.

The primary data will be obtained from the sample population. The sample population has been identified as SES level Hispanic women from different federal agencies. The age of the women will be above the age of eighteen years with an experience of working in the United States of not less than two years within the federal agencies. The sample was considered due to the observation that when it comes to promotion in government offices, the most marginalized groups are Hispanic women (Whitford & Lee, 2015) The sample size will be made up of 15 women. This range is appropriate because saturation in phenomenological studies occurs within the range of 5 to 25 participants (Mason, 2010).  Convenience sampling technique will be used to select respondents for this analysis. The information obtained will help in meeting the objectives of the study.

The questions used to conduct the interviews will be open-ended and closed questions. Sensitive matters will require the use of open-ended questions so that the researcher can obtain diverse opinions. The opinions offered will also be ranked to provide the weight of the matter in regard to the research. The rankings will also provide a clear documentation of the various reasons that the interviewed persons will provide.


The overall population targeted in the study will involve Hispanic women in high-level positions in federal employment. The researcher will request permission from the OPM to obtain employment records of Hispanic, White, Black, and Asian employees. This will be fulfilled by submitting the required form to the custodian of records in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA, 2008). The OPM sustains the CPDF as the principal labor force records of the federal government. Federal agencies provide background information on employees and update their personnel records periodically due to promotions, change in supervisory status, grade, occupation, or other conditions of employment. The researcher will request a mailing lis of the agency’s Hispanics employed in GS- 9 and above positions from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The researcher will then identify potential participants from the list. The subjects will then be invited to participate in the study via phone calls.


Sample selection for the qualitative studies will be based on a non-probabilistic approach, specifically the convenience sampling approach. This sampling approach involves selecting participants who fit the study purpose (Creswell, 2007). The researcher will, therefore, purposively select Hispanic women who are employed in STEM positions or positions at GS-15 grade level in the SES or higher to participate in the study. This will ensure that the selected participants are knowledgeable about or have witnessed the underrepresentation of Hispanic females in federal employment and at senior grade levels.


Cozby (2009) viewed data compilation as a way of selecting and describing individuals for a research study, gathering information, and obtaining permission from the study participants. The information will be gathered using interviews. Creswell (2007) noted that statistical compilation involving qualitative studies includes “(1) collecting image (picture) or word (text) statistical information; (2) gathering data from a small amount of people or locations; and (3) collecting statistical information by using forms that are common, transpiring questions to allow the candidate to produce responses.” The researcher will interview SES Hispanic women. A sample of 15 SES Hispanic women will be interviewed to solicit their views regarding the reasons why Hispanics face obstacles when seeking career advancement. Secondly, Hispanic women currently employed at the SES level will be interviewed regarding their experiences and perceptions of working towards becoming a senior level executive.

The researcher will select 15 interviewees from a pool of SES level Hispanic women. The interviewees’ will sign a consent form to participate in this study. The interviewees’ will also be informed that their responses will be kept confidential. Most interviews will be conducted face-to-face and last approximately forty-five minutes. Interviews employ open-ended questions and will be audio-taped for recording purposes. A convenience sample of Hispanic government representatives from OPM’s CPDF will be utilized. The OPM maintains the CPDF as the principal labor force records of the national government. Federal agencies provide background information on employees hired and update their personnel records periodically due to promotions, change in supervisory status, grade, occupation, or other conditions of employment. The researcher will use the in-depth interviews to collect the qualitative data. One other critical detail while planning and designing interviews is the wording of the interview questions. Thus, in this study, the researcher will use language that is easily comprehensible for wording the instructions and the questions. If a question is not worded correctly it may produce negative or undesired results.

 The questions asked will be based on:

  • Their views on factors that contribute to underrepresentation
  • What they view as the level and reasons of underrepresentation in senior management positions
  • Their perspective regarding federal employment recruitment

Additionally, the interview questions asked by the researcher will be open-ended, which will give the respondent a chance to express their views in an in-depth manner. This will ensure that the data gained from the interviews is comprehensive and would give a concrete conclusion regarding the study problem. The response gained from the interviews conducted by the respondent will be extensively analyzed for the purpose of ensuring a comprehensive understanding of each response of the respondent.


Experts will review the questions before the interviews are conducted. In addition, several staff members who worked at institutions of higher education and were either currently involved with or had previously worked with Hispanic employees in the federal government will review the questions. Changes will be recommended and the Dissertation Chair will officially approve the questions. The interviewing of respondents will be conducted through face-to-face method to facilitate observation of the interviewees’ body language. The interviews will be conducted in a public place such a library, which will be convenient for both the researcher and participants.

Face-to-Face: The face-to-face interview requires a one-on-one discussion between participants and the interviewer. An advantage of the face-to-face interview is that it allows the interpretation of probing and responses, which tends to culminate in fewer absent responses (Carey & Durant, 2007). For this part of the data collection, open-ended questions will be used to attain as much information as possible regarding how the participants feel about the research topic. A semi-structured interview will be conducted which will provide a better avenue for probing deeper on the issues being investigated. The interview guide will contain open-ended questions to avoid limiting the participants’ responses. Open questioning during the face-to-face interview will also help to investigate the topic and create a complete account of the underrepresentation of Hispanic women. In this case, participants will be motivated to elucidate vague statements and to further amplify brief comments. The participants’ beliefs and opinions will not be shared in an effort to avoid affecting their answers. More importantly, the researcher will limit personal bias and leading questions as these may result in response or participant bias. Face-to-face interviews also have their disadvantages. If paid interviewers are used, one-on-one interviews can become costly and time-consuming. The influence of answers can occur accidently by giving physical and verbal clues that suggest an answer or indicate the interviewer’s personal opinions. Exploring sensitive issues face-to-face can be more difficult than in a written questionnaire where people may feel more relaxed revealing sensitive information.

Examination of the open-ended replies by the participants will create the foundation for elucidating and discovering meaning from each participant. A combined technique and procedure will be used to analyze the interview transcripts as recommended by Merriam (2007). This will include identification of any prevalent patterns in the data and extracting the dominant themes (Rimando et al., 2015). Coding procedures include asking questions about the data, comparing data, interacting with the data, and reaching conclusions from knowledge derived from the data. Merriam (2007) suggested grouping the code words around a particular concept in the data, a step called categorizing, and a basis for formulating the themes. The researcher will follow this process in the study. The analysis process will begin by utilizing open coding that involves analyzing to attain a better understanding of the interviews by repeatedly reviewing them. The purpose of this is to conceptualize the data and identify meaningful units; that is, to scrutinize the data to comprehend the nature of the findings, a perspective of the phenomenological research. Creswell (2007) stated that determining the meaning or essence of statistics is the most significant facet of the research process.

The data will then be reduced into categories and themes. These categories will be identified and named primarily from the individual interview questions and responses. Some of the possible themes include perceptions of underrepresentation, personal factors, professional factors, career moves, thoughts on race and ethnic, mentoring impact, challenges, ideal pipeline, recruitment practices, retention practices, diversity, and advice. The data will be further analyzed by comparing the content for similarities and frequency of recurring phrases or words. There may be more than 45 code words identified during each interview and approximately 13 initial categories identified in this study. The results of the coding procedure may reflect the emergence of themes that can explain the experiences and career pathways of the participants, such as; academic preparation in technology, continuing education and professional advancement, monetary and financial incentives, race and ethnic discrimination, negotiating employment in higher education, recruitment and hiring practices, personal and informal support systems, leadership and administrative roles, and mentoring and networking. The data collection and processing will be divided into two parts: secondary and qualitative.

Permission will be obtained from OPM to use the CPDF for data collection purposes. This will be achieved by writing a letter to these offices to obtain consent. The researcher will only examine full-time federal employee’s data regarding race, sex, age, educational level, years, federal experience, major field of study, and grade. The OPM classifies all employees as managers, supervisors, or others. Scores will be computed utilizing the equation 5, in which 1 depicts a complete match between the rate of an affinity group’s members in the general public and the association, and x1-xn depicts the rates of each affinity group member’s employment with the association. Tables will be created to show data captured in two categories: supervisory status by grade and supervisory authority by race and gender.

            Supervisory Status by Grade (percentage of employees who are supervisors or managers) is divided into four groups: (1) grade level, (2) White males, (3) others, and (4) difference. Supervisory Authority by race and sex is divided into five categories: (1) percentage who are supervisors or managers, (2) coefficients from model I, (3) predicted percentage model I, (4) coefficients from model II, and (5) predicted percentage model II. The researcher will evaluate whether Hispanic, White, Black, and Asian federal employees vary dramatically in the percentage of their members who are supervisors or managers. The coefficients on the race and sex variables represents the average percentage point difference in the probability of being a

supervisor or manager between a member of that group and a White male, when both employees have the same grade, length of federal service, age, level of education, and field of study.

Model I coefficients depicts wider gaps between federal civil servants at comparable GS grade levels. Model II coefficients depict gaps between White males and other federal employees with comparable individual qualities. Descriptive statistics is utilized to depict data in a way that summarizes sets of numerical information so that it is easily understood. It is usually used to show a pattern of demographic data in term of standard deviation, mean, mode, median, and percentage. Tables, grafts, and charts represent this type of data.

For interview data collection and analysis, open-ended questions will be used in this research for the primary purpose of gathering and probing deeper insight from the interviewees (Cozby, 2009). The interviewer has the freedom to explore the participants’ responses further. This will provide the researcher with an opportunity to learn more. Prospective participants will be asked to participate through e-mail communication. Participants will be contacted to discuss the particulars of the research and discover their willingness to participate in the research. The researcher will examine information or qualitative data in this study using thematic and content analysis techniques. Utilizing a qualitative investigation method, the researcher will procure the non-quantified information that can be properly explained utilizing only the content analysis approach. Cozby (2009) stated that by utilizing the content analysis approach, the researcher can better comprehend the member’s reactions and explain the reactions of the members.

The researcher will review secondary data by utilizing the content analysis approach. Investigation of gathered information empowers the researcher to improve the comprehension of the examination point. Qualitative method tools and techniques will be used to compile the data. The collected data can either be qualitative or quantitative and secondary or primary when utilizing a specific system for retrieving data. Interviews and questionnaires consist of the primary data. In addition, articles, literature, documents, and data that already exist, consist of secondary data. Secondary data will be gathered through several books, internet sources, articles, and organizational reports which will be critically evaluated.

 Qualitative analysis allows the researcher to perform a thorough assessment of circumstances that emerge regularly in social life. Understanding the lived encounters of people through a discovery process is an important feature of a qualitative analysis plan. In conducting a qualitative technique of data gathering, the researcher will employ interviews to collect the necessary information. The interviews will be performed from a chosen cross section of senior executive service employees. After the data has been collected, a thematic examination will be conducted based on coding. Codes will be assigned to the terms frequently used by the participants, which will then be analyzed through interpretations.

There are two assumptions for this study. The first supposition is that the subjects provided truthful answers to the questions. This study will use the lived experiences of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic federal employees to explain the small number of Hispanics in SES positions. To formulate accurate conclusions for this qualitative study, it is necessary to assume that the interview responses provided by the participants will be truthful. The second assumption for this research study is that the researcher’s biases will be avoided during the live interviews and research analysis. Similar to other studies, this research also faces definite limitations during the research process. A few noteworthy limitations are articulated here. A most important limitation in the study is the working schedules of the research participants. Because the respondents in this research are managers of various federal agencies, it may be inconvenient for them to take part in the interviews during their daily routines. Because of this, the interviews with the participants may take longer than the approximated time to complete. Further, reluctance to respond correctly is another limitation. Nonetheless, if this occurs, the researcher will ensure total confidentiality and anonymity to the respondents in order for them to provide true information without reluctance.

Budget constraints related to the research study could prevent the researcher from providing an in-depth analysis. In addition, the time needed for a complete and in-depth analysis associated with the subject matter may not be obtainable. Accordingly, the short time available for this study may not support the factors for the research analysis.

Racial and ethnic discrimination is a broad concept, which is why the theoretical part of the research will be delimited by focusing on the underrepresentation of Hispanic individuals in federal employment, discussing past trends, and various legislations and Acts. In this study, the researcher will focus on the underrepresentation of Hispanic individuals in federal employment in the United States in order to identify the challenges and opportunities faced by Hispanics in governmental institutions. Empirical delimitation is a major factor that will also be taken into consideration.

In this study, the researcher will be aware of all the possible ethical considerations. The researcher fully understands the procedures and ethical issues that will be followed during the research. Creswell (2007) stated that to maintain accuracy, a research study should be conducted in a normal form to prevent any negative impact. The subject matter for this study will be selected by the researcher after careful judgment and intentions to benefit the public. Further, all conclusions acquired in this research aim to explain the objectives and research. All participants of the study will contribute to the research through their own inclination, and no one will be forced to cooperate. To maintain the values of contribution, the personal information and identity of the participants will be confidential. The researcher is exceptionally mindful of the moral outcomes suggested in this exploration. Responsibility for all procedures and moral results connected with the study stays with the principal researcher.

The research will be performed in a manner that protects the accuracy of the project and ensures that the negative effects which may lessen the potential for succeeding studies are avoided. The option of the research issue was accepted on the foremost industrial analysis and   estimation of the potential benefit to the public and contributors respective to the danger to be borne by the givers. This research is also connected to critical moral issues. Cozby (2009) expressed that moral issues enter into any research venture. He further demonstrated that for research discoveries to have solid support, the standards should act as the guiding torch. While procedures, reporting, methods, publication status, and data results should be appropriately indicated, they should never be falsified, misinterpreted, or fabricated.

Data Collection Processing and Analysis

The collected qualitative data will be analyzed through thematic analysis. The researcher will use Collaizzi’s steps of descriptive phenomenological data analysis. The steps entail bracketing, analyzing, intuiting, and describing with the aim of presenting a factual understanding of the experiences of SES Hispanic women regarding their underrepresentation. As earlier indicated, bracketing involves blocking any preconceptions and assumptions regarding the research phenomenon (Converse, 2012). To achieve bracketing, the researcher will maintain a reflective diary for noting down personal observations, conceptions, and confusions.  Intuiting will entail attentive listening to the participants’ views and deep reflection to avoid untimely conclusions (Wojnar & Swanson, 2007). Analysis will involve examining the views of the subjects with regards to their representation in the SES and identification of the important accounts that relate to the research problem. Analysis will also entail generating meaning from the views, deriving themes from the data, and integrating themes to provide comprehensive findings. The participants will be requested to validate the findings and any changes will be integrated into the final results.

Evidence of Quality

           Providing evidence of quality is a significant facet of any research study (Creswell,

2007). There appear to be different beliefs regarding problems of quality research amid the foremost qualitative scientists. Walther (2014) stated that qualitative research reverberates with the participant’s and reader’s life events. The author appeared not to favor the phraseology reliability and validity. The author recommended that these phrases create more qualitative consequences. Alternately, when crediting qualitative research, the author favored the use of the term quality, explaining it as an investigation that is clear, logical, and provokes the reader to contemplate and desire to acquire more knowledge. Further, Creswell (2007) and Merriam (2007) expressed the significance of establishing trustworthiness and credibility. These procedures involve peer-review, member checking, external audit, and triangulation of data. For this study, the researcher will adopt the term quality research. To ensure quality, the readers will be provided with clear and descriptive details for preciseness and understanding the nature of the research. In addition, verification of memos will be presented in the final review. Walther (2014) emphasized that because a researcher is unable to recollect all of the thoughts, questions, and insights that occur during the examination, there must be some verification of memorandums in the final report. Memorandums are considered written annals of reflections and thought analysis. Memorandums are useful when developing the results or findings of the research. This phase of the process involves articulating to the reader the particulars of why and what was done.


Two suppositions will be recognized for this research study. The first supposition is that the participants will provide truthful responses to the questions. This study will use the lived experiences of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic federal employees to explain the small number of Hispanics in SES positions. To formulate accurate conclusions for this phenomenological qualitative study, it is necessary to assume that the narratives received by the participants will be trustworthy. The second assumption for this research study is that the researcher’s biases will be avoided during the research analysis and live interview sessions. The conclusions for this research study will be based on the lived experiences of those individuals who have lived through this phenomenon. The introduction of the researcher’s own biases would corrupt the conclusions made from the participants’ narratives. For accurate conclusions, it will be assumed that the researcher will not introduce biases into the analysis.


            This study has two limitations. The first limitation is the researcher’s potential to influence the study. Cozby (2009) stated that between the events of the investigator’s descriptive account and what people are actually saying and doing (social behavior); there is a significant element, the researcher himself. Full objectivity is an attribute of some all-knowing spectator, with the exception of a human being. In all studies, fastidious interpretation and observation frequently work to change actual circumstances into the reality that is used in a descriptive account. The second limitation is that the results of this study will be limited to the personal experiences of the Hispanic employees who will participate in this research. Another limitation to the study is that these Hispanic employees only represent a small subset of both Hispanic and Non-Hispanic federal employees. Finally, the face-to-face interviews associated with this research might pose a limitation to the research. Creswell (2007) stated that some interviewees may alter their responses based on the researcher’s presence, and not all interviewees would be proportionately perceptive and articulate.

Moreover, this researcher recognizes that analysis of data that already exists has its limitations. The questions might not exactly query the interviewees’ perceptions pertaining to this investigation, and the measurements may not show valid representations of the concepts this researcher wants to investigate. This is the major disadvantage of analyzing existing data, as opposed to creating one’s own survey specifically related to the research questions. To supplement existing data this dissertation employs a qualitative analysis of the impact opportunity, ratio of representation, human capital, training, and mentoring have on the success or failure of Hispanics in their career advancement.


Due to this research study focusing on lived work experiences of 20 Hispanic federal employees in either the SES or GS grade levels, the delimitating factors of this study were limited. The questions used in the qualitative method of this research controlled and limited the research findings. Since this subject area was under-researched in the federal government the research must not generalize about Hispanic federal employees because there is not enough available information to reach a substantial conclusion (Cozby, 2009).

Ethical Assurances

Measures for Ethical Protection of Participants

            To assure the ethical protection of subjects, an informed consent form will be read and signed by each of them. The form will address: (a) research procedures, (b) the purpose of the research, (c) voluntarily participating in research, (d) risk and benefits, (e) confidentiality, and (f) participants’ right to stop participating in the study. Further, additional steps will be taken to protect the subjects. All subjects will be informed that the interview sessions will be digitally tape-recorded. All statistical information involving interview forms, transcripts, electronic data, and field notes will be carefully stored in the researcher’s home office a secured file cabinet or in another secured location in the researcher’s workplace office. In the event of damage or loss resulting from computer issues or other unforeseeable circumstances, backup copies will be created. The electronic storage and computer devices will be password protected. Further, all interview data will be safe guarded for a 3-year period as required and then discarded. Subjects of this research study will not be exposed to any risk related to their participation. For moral considerations and to negate risk and guarantee confidentiality, pseudonyms will be assigned to the subjects to maintain anonymity regarding their particular names and titles of their organization.

Criteria for Selecting Participants

A sample in qualitative research must have a balance between being able to insure that the perceptions of every participant are covered and that repetition does not occur to the point at which the information becomes superfluous (Maxwell, 2012). With regard to saturation, data from the transcripts will be examined and coded to the point where no new codes or information will be identified and, therefore, saturated. The achievement of saturation will concurrently ensure the adequacy of the sample size. When saturation is not achieved, there is a risk that new concepts may emerge from the interview requiring more people and further interviews to be conducted (Walther, 2015). The premise is that when new concepts or patterns cannot be further identified with additional analysis or new data collection, saturation is achieved. The sample of eight participants will be sufficient enough to reach saturation by looking at the sample sizes used in previous studies within the same or related areas.

The quantity of data in a category and the number of times a point will be stated will not be the deciding factor in reaching the point of saturation. Instead, the relationship between saturation and sample size will be established based on the quality of data obtained from the eight selected participants. Discussions will be rich and descriptive and the researcher will be able to identify and establish meaningful themes for interpretations from the information gathered. The SES level Hispanic women in this study will represent a variety of employee experiences, computer technology expertise, years of administrative experience, and degrees. The major criterion for identifying Hispanic women will include (a) Hispanic females employed in STEM positions, (b) Hispanic women employed in positions at GS-15 grade level or higher and (c) Hispanic women with master’s degrees or beyond. Other factors will include length of experience, educational background and level, positions of employment, and tenure.

Inquiries will be made to area institutions and colleagues to see if they meet the expected level of interest and criteria to volunteer for this research. Different institutional websites will be searched to determine prospective participants for this research. The racial composition of the organizations will not be a factor. Candidates will be chosen primarily from Hispanic organizations. The eight Hispanic women of this research study will be assumed to have a wealth of educational experience and computer technology-related backgrounds as indicated through analytical information attained from their curriculum vitae and interview inquiries. Convenience sampling will be used to determine the eight Hispanic female employees. The major ingredient in qualitative testing is to choose candidates who can supply the researcher with rich and thorough data of critical significance to the purpose of the study (Merriam, 2002). Numerous qualitative professionals accept that identifying a sufficient test size in qualitative research requires experience and judgment in evaluating and collecting quality data (Merriam, 2007; Walther, 2015; Maxwell, 2012). Creswell (2007) emphasized that choosing a sufficient test size rests primarily on the researcher’s research design and purpose, and recommended 5-25 people for the phenomenological approach. Creswell (1998) also stated that lengthy interviews of up to 10 candidates were adequate for the lived experience study. Based on this concept, eight candidates have been identified as an appropriate test size for this research study.


In qualitative analysis, the terms validity and reliability have been replaced with a new descriptor, trustworthiness. The measure of trustworthiness in qualitative research refers to a study being carried out in a competent and reasonable method, where the resulting data and analysis clearly represents the thoughts and opinions of the people that participated in the research project. Tied to the concept of trustworthiness are the constructs: credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability.


In qualitative studies, credibility refers to the diligence of the research process and whether the results obtained can be approved by the participants involved in the research project. Cozby (2009) reported that when a researcher is establishing trustworthiness, credibility is the most important facet. Several techniques are noted as a means to increase research project’s credibility. One method is using triangulation to verify the findings. For the present study, triangulation will be accomplished using multiple data sources to help cross-check the data and meaning of the respondents’ experiences. Data from focus groups, interviews, field notes, and an external audit will be used to complete this process. Every respondent will be provided with the transcripts from their focus groups for validation and authentication of the transcribed text. Each respondent will review and establish whether the focus group and interview transcripts are accurate.


When recording the results of a qualitative study, it is important that the researcher provide complete, detailed description of the research process. This is important as transferability takes place outside of the researcher’s realm. By providing a thorough explanation of the research process, readers are able to make an informed judgment about whether they can transfer the findings to their own situations. The role of the reader is to apply the methods described by the researcher and reflect on whether the results are similar or not. Cozby (2009) reported that the key to transferability is a complete description of the circumstances, subjects, specific setting, and procedures. However, when it comes to transferability, the real burden of generalizing falls  not upon the original researcher, but on whoever is contemplating applying this early work to his/her own situation. For the current research study, the researcher will provide the number of participants, the method in which the data will be collected, and the number of focus groups and interviews conducted. These will be reported as a means to increase the transferability of the results.

When conducting a qualitative method research project, it is vital to provide detailed information regarding the research process so that a future researcher could recreate the work with an identical group, in the same setting, and expect reasonably similar results. Several methods of attaining dependability include implementing data collection procedures such as focus groups, interviews, and questionnaires to create a sense of overlapping, or cross validation of the data. Actually, “overlapping methods” is the same as “triangulation” which is conducted to substantiate validity of the data.


This refers to the results of the study being based entirely on the data obtained and not subjected or influenced by the personal bias of the researcher. Maxwell (2012) noted that qualitative research has a tendency to presume that every researcher brings an exclusive outlook to the research study. Confirmability pertains to the extent to which the conclusions may be corroborated or confirmed. The researcher will conduct an in-depth analysis of the literature on the subject matter and present the transcripts of the focus groups to each participant for authentication. In addition, an outside audit will be conducted where another graduate student will independently listen to the focus group tapes and follow the transcripts.

Reliability and Validity

As a Black male who is presently employed by the federal government, the researcher understands that this may raise the potential for bias in this research study. Moreover, as a minority exposed to the same situations as those being researched and having personally experienced employment discrimination during his quest for a senior executive position, the researcher’s trustworthiness and credibility in performing a valid and reliable study of this type may be a problem. Due to the issues of trustworthiness and credibility, the researcher will not only ensure accuracy and fairness but also maintain neutrality as reasonably possible in reporting the findings. Further, to ensure accuracy and fairness, a massive amount of data from two government agencies will be included in the study. To ensure the measurability and comparability of the competency and qualifications of White and Hispanic males, the candidates chosen to participate in the interviews will be engineers with professional permits who have at least 10 years of federal civil service. This study will analyze the 1999-2007 existing data from OPM’s CPDF but will focus on 2001 through 2015 and the 2015 EEO-4 report from the EEOC. The researcher will employ a triangulation of the collected data through comprehensive interviews to assure preciseness when reporting and decoding the conclusions. Samples of the participants’ observations, will be considered pertinent and precisely set forth. Moreover, data and analysis will depend on raw and unfiltered information from the aforementioned archives.


To upgrade business and open doors for Hispanics in federal civil service, the federal government should adopt intervention measures to increase the number of Hispanics hired yearly, and execute compelling and professional recruitment programs. The EEOC must likewise hold federal agencies responsible for actualizing projects intended to expand Hispanic representation. Without promulgating these measures, the low participation rate of Hispanics in the federal civil service will not improve. The data will be collected from interviews which will be carried out with the selected Hispanic working population. The purpose of the interviews will be to collect the perception of participants about the reasons for Hispanic underrepresentation in the federal employment.






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Appendix A: Interview

The following interview questions are aimed at getting the information regarding the Evaluation of Hispanic Women Underrepresentation in Federal Employment and at Senior Grade Levels. Please respond to the best of your knowledge, and your response will be treated with utmost confidentiality.


 Section A: Demographics


What is your educational background?


What prompted you to choose a career in the federal government?


Which barriers do you feel hindered your advancement in the federal government?


In which federal agencies have you worked?


Have you been employed outside of the federal government?


How many years of service did you have before reaching the SES level?




Section B: Underrepresentation


How is your job related to Hispanics/ Latinos?


As an employee of the federal government, do you feel you are in your present position in part to represent the Hispanic/Latino community?


What is your opinion on the underrepresentation of Hispanic women in the federal employment and at senior grade levels?


What is the extent of their underrepresentation?


What factors are contributing to this underrepresentation?




What do you consider the most important priorities of Hispanics/ Latinos  that the federal government is prepared to address?


Do you, in your current position, make decisions that improve upon the disparities affecting Hispanics/ Latinos with regard to these issues?


Do you agree or disagree with the statement that, for Hispanic/Latino concerns to be represented at the federal domestic policy level there must be an increase in Hispanic/Latino representation in discretionary positions? Why?


With regard to the previous question, what role do you feel Hispanics/ Latinos in the federal government should play in furthering the interests on Hispanics/ Latinos?


Do you feel that the government should take measures to improve the representation of ethnic minorities such as Hispanic women at the SES level? Why?


Section C: Senior Executive Views


What motivated you to become a senior executive?


What leadership qualities do you possess that have helped you advance to an executive level?


What obstacles did you face during your advancement to becoming a senior executive?


Did you have a mentor? If so, describe how they helped you progress to becoming a senior executive.


Describe how networking helped or hindered your advancement to becoming a senior executive.


What educational/training opportunities helped you to advance to a senior executive position?


How important were performance appraisals in your ascension to executive management?


What do you believe is the biggest issue keeping Hispanics from becoming executive managers


What would you suggest an aspiring Hispanic employee do to overcome similar obstacles you have encountered to advance to a senior executive position within the federal government?
























Appendix B: Informed Consent Participation Letter


I am a student at Northcentral University working on a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education. I am conducting a research study entitled A Phenomenological Mixed Method Investigation into the Underrepresentation of Hispanic Senior Executive Service Federal Government Employees. The purpose of this phenomenological mixed method research study using Moustakas (1994) modified van Kaam method, with audio-taped and transcribed semi-structured interviews, is to discover why Hispanics are underrepresented in Senior Executive Service  positions within federal government agencies. The analysis will be from the lived perspectives of 10 federal and 10 non-federal employees.

The research participants will represent Hispanic senior executives and Hispanic federal employees who are grades 14 and 15, the feeder grades for senior executives, from various federal government agencies within the National Capital Region of Washington, D.C., the hub of federal employment. The lived experiences of these individuals will help to reveal common themes and patterns that might explain the under representation of Hispanics in federal positions. Your participation in this study is voluntary. If you choose not to participate or to withdraw from the study at any time, you can do so without penalty or loss of benefit to yourself. Your participation will involve being interviewed for approximately 30 to 60 minutes.

 The results of the research study may be published, but your name and any other identifying information will not be used, and your results will be maintained in confidence. In this research, there are no foreseeable risks to you. Although there may be no direct benefit to you, the possible benefit of your participation is that the findings from this study might add information to the limited body of knowledge on the factors relating to the lack of Hispanic federal employees in senior leadership positions. The study might also yield appropriate data to create a possible model that may include recruitment programs and training to increase the participation rate of Hispanics within federal job positions.


Appendix C: Informed Consent Form to Participate:

 I, _____________________________, have received a copy of the Confidentiality Statement. I understand and agree that my participation in the dissertation research conducted by [insert name] is voluntary and that I may withdraw from the interview at any time without consequence. By signing this form, I acknowledge that I understand the nature of the study, the potential risks to me as a participant, and the means by which the researcher will keep my identity confidential. My signature on this form also indicates that I am 18 years old or older and that I agree to serve voluntarily as a participant in the study described. Signature of the participant ___________________________ Date: _____________ Signature of the researcher: ___________________________ Date: ______________















Appendix D: Executive Core Qualifications List:

  1. Leading Change

This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. This ECQ requires the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

  1. Leading People

This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization’s vision, mission, and goals. This ECQ requires the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.

  1. Results Driven

This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. This ECQ requires the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks. 

  1. Business Acumen

This core qualification requires the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

  1. Building Coalitions

This core qualification requires the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.


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