Staff working at children and young people’s services (CYPS) are often charged with the responsibility of restructuring, developing, and putting into effect policies and procedures that are supposed to safeguard their clients and their colleagues from the effects of institutional racism. However, there continues to be incongruences between some leaders’ espoused commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, and their actions. In this paper, I draw on a larger research project to critically reflect on the usefulness of constructivist grounded theory (CGT) as a methodological approach for developing understandings about the experiences of 10 Black British female managers working for CYPS. To demonstrate the utility of CGT, I share extracts from interviews, examples of my reflexive accounts (or memos), and my findings are discussed. In essence, the findings illustrate challenging practices that prevent Black British women from progressing their careers, including subtle and explicit forms of racial prejudice, discrimination, and institutionalized racism. In this sense, it can be concluded that despite CGT research being an intense and time-consuming endeavor, it is an effective method for developing insightful understandings about discriminatory practices that can thwart Black British women’s careers in CYPS.


Black British female managers, constructivist grounded theory, institutional racism

Author Bio(s)

Denise Miller achieved a B.A. in Education from the University of Greenwich. Taught in primary schools for 8 years before training to become an Educational Psychologist. Attained an M.Sc. in Educational Psychology from University College London and started working as a Practitioner (Educational) Psychologist in the London Borough of Lambeth. Completed a Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology. Returned to the University of Greenwich, this time as a senior lecturer. As a programme leader, senior lecturer, and educational psychologist in private practice, works in early years, primary and secondary school settings, as well as, further and higher education, clinical and court contexts. Please direct correspondence to d.miller@greenwich.ac.uk.

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