Date of Award

Spring 6-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

First Advisor

Jaclyn Jensen, PhD

Second Advisor

Grace Lemmon, PhD

Third Advisor

Alyssa Westring, PhD


This study was conducted to examine the factors that are common, different and most important in the executive sponsorship of Black female protégés in comparison to the executive sponsorship of White male protégés. Drawing on social capital and social exchange theory, I propose a model that examines specific protégé and sponsor attributes relevant to career mobility and sponsorship for White male and Black female protégés. A sample of existing sponsors (n=72), comprised of C-suite executives (CEO, President, Managing Directors), and their protégés (n=59) who were senior level professionals (Division Presidents, General Managers, and Vice Presidents) participated in the study. Notwithstanding the challenges faced by Black women to ascend to the C-suite in most organizations, the study found greater similarities across most factors when comparing sponsor evaluations of Black female protégés and White male protégés. For Black females, the results affirm the importance of educational attainment and performance attributed to personal capability, along with sponsor desire to mitigate workplace bias, as key factors underlying the sponsor-protégé relationship.