Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Hospitality Administration


Hotel Administration

Advisor 1

Bo J. Bernhard, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Billy Bai

Second Committee Member

Pearl Brewer

Third Committee Member

Ashok K. Singh

Graduate Faculty Representative

Lori J. Olafson

Number of Pages



Applying grounded theory methodology and method, this qualitative study uncovers and presents a rich, theoretically expressed understanding of the experience of salaried Black hospitality and tourism professionals who earn at least $100,000 annually. A 13-step customized research process featuring a novel literature review method, which utilizes researcher pre-data collection assumptions as a framework for conceptualizing and processing an unwieldy literature, enhancing post-data analysis, and developing research conclusions, is introduced.

Twenty loosely structured, open-ended, and in-depth interviews (12 male) are the singular data collection tool. An exhaustive analysis of participant transcripts resulted in 5,337 co ding in cident s , or coins , and yielded 30 subcategories. Respondents report a wealth of opportunity, guidance, and support and are well respected by the White power structure. But while there is some cause for celebration, there is a lingering fear of being regarded as outsiders striving to fit in and become full citizens of American enterprise.

With 1832, 1040, 903, and 826 coins, respectively, discrimination, experience, relationships, and excellence surfaced as the factors most relevant to success. In addition, active awareness materialized as the core concept integrating and explaining the entire emergent theory, which is dubbed AADERE (pronounced add-EAR ) and denotes active awareness in discrimination, experience, relationships, and excellence.

The AADERE model holds that aspirants must: (1) recognize the pervasiveness of workplace and social discrimination and proactively avoid negative perceptions, (2) appreciate the importance of relevant and broad-based work experience and subject area expertise and focus on developing the same, (3) build and maintain authentic and quality interpersonal relationships, and (4) understand the criticality of excellence in how Blacks present themselves in predominantly White corporate America and constantly achieve distinction in various aspects of job performance. As well, the model articulates the following theoretical propositions: (1) Managerial success increases as active awareness of discrimination, experience, relationships, and excellence increase, (2) The higher the level of active awareness, the less of an issue is discrimination, (3) As active awareness increases, experience, relationships, and excellence increase, and (4) Managing discrimination is the greatest success consideration followed by experience, relationships, and excellence.

Ultimately, this study heralds the advent of an exciting area of research as the substantial ground broken uncovers a fresh stream of important and practical inquiry that can positively transform hospitality by helping the powers that be and that could be work together to level the corporate playing field and maximally attract and optimize the profuse talents of diverse individuals.


AADERE; active awareness; Affirmative action; African Americans; Black managers; Colorism; Corporate experiences; Discrimination; Hospitality and tourism; Mentorship and sponsorship


African American Studies | Hospitality Administration and Management

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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