Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Urszula Strawinska-Zanko

Second Advisor

Elena Bastides

Third Advisor

Neil Katz

Fourth Advisor

Paula Gentius


African Amercian Executives, Conflict Studies, Dispute Resolution, Interpersonal Conflict, Leadership, Organizational Conflict


African American Senior Executives (AASE) exist as a group of American citizens who hold senior management roles in Fortune 500 organizations. AASE members are responsible for decision-making in a diverse number of industries but represent a small group of leaders in Fortune 500 organizations. The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was to examine the lived experiences of AASE in a Fortune 500 organization in the United States. The qualitative study examined through semi-structured interviews the experiences of eleven senior executives in Fortune 500 organizations in the United States. This phenomenological study examined how the lived experience of each AASE member influences their decision making, success as leaders, and career path. Transcendental phenomenological analysis approach to the study provides the researcher with an in-depth opportunity to reach the pure essence of the participants’ unique lived experiences verbatim. This research study captured the rich contextual dialogue of each participant in the study and answered the central research question: What are the lived experiences of African American Senior Executives in Fortune 500 organizations in the United States? The research revealed that among the most influential contributors to the lived experiences and success of AASE were the experiences they developed through mentorship, visibility, diversity, family values, HBCU’s, and self-ambition, which helped them to become successful despite the structural barriers encountered along the path.