Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Kinesiology and Sport Studies
Steven N. Waller
Steven N. Waller, Jeffrey A. Graham, Debora R. Baldwin, Stan L. Bowie, Sonya R. Shaw
African American (AA) women are among the most underrepresented and under-researched groups in the parks and recreation profession. The purpose of this study is to explore the career mobility patterns of AA women currently working in public parks and recreation agencies. To achieve this purpose, the study examines the career mobility patterns of 169 AA women over a five-year period. The study also examines their ascent into executive leadership positions in their profession. The following research questions guided the study: (1) What job positions and classifications are held by a sample of AA women currently working in public parks and recreation agencies?; (2) What is the career mobility status of a sample of AA women currently working in public parks and recreation agencies?; and (3) What factors influence the career mobility of a sample of AA women currently working in public parks and recreation agencies? Career mobility serves as the dependent variable, whereas the independent variable focus on the factors influencing career mobility: likeability, job satisfaction, organizational climate and culture, the importance of thriving and networking, and perceptions of stress in the workplace. Purposive and snowball sampling strategies were utilized to recruit participants through professional organizations (i.e., National Recreation and Park Ethnic Minority Society, National Forum for Black Public Administrators, and state affiliates with the National Recreation and Park Association). The researcher developed an online survey containing four sections: (1) perceived occupational status (importance of the position within an agency) of 18 common occupational titles; (2) mobility information over the past five years; (3) perceptions of factors influencing mobility; and (4) demographic information. Overall, the majority of the sample (74.0%, n = 125) experienced no change in occupational mobility during the five years; 14% (13.6%, n = 23) were upwardly mobile, while 2.4% (n = 4) experienced downward mobility. Data found significant differences in job satisfaction (F(3,162) = 6.99, p < .001) among those employed in supervisory roles. Respondents reported having significantly lower job satisfaction than any other occupational group. No significant differences were found between mobility and the other influencing factor variables.
Cole, Chermaine, "An Exploratory Study of the Career Mobility Patterns of African American Women Working in Public Parks and Recreation Agencies. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2023.