Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Bisk College of Business

First Advisor

Robert Schaller

Second Advisor

Radhika Krishnamurthy

Third Advisor

Christian Sonnenberg

Fourth Advisor

Theodore Richardson


This research study explored how the inherent lived experiences of minorities can foster the attributes of strength and stamina, collectively referred to as the fortitude, resilience, and perseverance (FRP) of minority executive-level leadership. Specifically, this research considered the lived experiences of ten minority CEOs and assessed the influence of how they lead and communicate within their organizations. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to discover if and how the attributes of FRP could distinctively serve as a human capital advantage for organizations to consider with regard to utilizing minority executive-level leadership. The implication is that the greater understanding and awareness of this human capital advantage, the more mainstream the notion of minority leaders serving in executive-level positions. Initiatives for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) would be driven by minority capability and capacity as opposed to quantifying a quota; thereby, facilitating the versatility of majority- and minority-run organizations. The implication for majority organizations regarding having more diversity in the room and being more inclusive of “other” views and ideas for innovation and solutions for problems exposes the genuine intent of DEI initiatives. If the notion of diversity, equity, and inclusion is only given quantifiable consideration, the human capacity component loses its opportunity to qualify its human capital potential. The findings from this study convey that the fortitude, resilience, and perseverance of minority CEOs are collectively a positive competitive advantage for organizations. The conclusion drawn from this research contends that minorities of ethnicity and gender provide invaluable leadership traits through the attributes fortified by unique lived experiences that they exude as executive leaders. The business application and human capital advantage of these attributes can pay dividends toward organizational identity, culture, and sustainability.


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