Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

John Lounsbury

Committee Members

Jake Levy, Richard Saudargus, Tricia McClam


Developing instruments that are more culturally sensitive and taking a multicultural approach to scale development is encouraged in order to appropriately assess and conduct research with ethnic minorities. African Americans are prone to many negative stereotypes in the world of work which usually involve a lack of work drive and motivation achievement. The present research investigated the differences between African American and European American participants on a culturally sensitive instrument developed for this study and a measure of Work Drive: the Houston Experience Measure (HEM) and the Work Drive Scale.

This study was conducted in three phases. Phase one, the HEM was developed based on qualitatively-informed interviews with 15 African Americans. Each interview transcript was rigorously analyzed and thematized. Results of this content analysis revealed three main scale constructs that formed the HEM (pressure to perform, family socialization related to work drive, and competitiveness). In Phase two, the HEM was administered to 163 college students to determine validity and reliability of the scales. Results determined that each scale was reliable and valid; coefficient alpha for Pressure to Perform scale was .83; .92 for Family Socialization for Work Drive and .88 Work-Related Competitiveness scale. In phase three, differences between 96 African American and 203 European American participants from various career fields, on the HEM and the Work Drive Scale were examined.

Results indicated that there were no statistically significant differences between the correlations for African Americans and European Americans on the scale pressure to perform and work drive and family socialization related to work drive and work drive. However, there were statistically significant differences between the correlation competitiveness and work drive for African Americans and European Americans. European Americans indicated a higher correlation between these variables compared to African Americans. These findings do not support the main hypotheses of this study. It is proposed that generally these variables related to Work Drive are more universally felt and expressed by members of different racial, ethnic, and gender sub-groups; pointing toward equality of work drive and correlates of work drive for African Americans and European Americans.

The study on African American and European American differences is complex and will not lend itself to simple racial differences but by specific constructs and underlying processes of these constructs being studied. Further research is needed regarding the use and replicability of findings with the HEM.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Included in

Psychology Commons