Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Strategic Leadership Studies


Adam J. Vanhove

Margaret F. Sloan

Nara Yoon

Stephanie V. Wormington


African Americans are underrepresented in leadership positions in the United States. The relationship between leader composure and leader career derailment potential was assessed in the present study to determine if the relationship was stronger for African Americans than for Whites. Conservation of Resources Theory was utilized as a theoretical lens suggesting that composure is a resource for leaders that would be valuable in lessening career derailment potential. Assuming racial microaggressions are present in the workplace, and such microaggression could create added emotional labor for African Americans above that which Whites experience, it was hypothesized that leader race would moderate the relationship between leader composure and leader career derailment potential. An archival 360-degree multisource data set was utilized in a moderated multiple regression. Leader race was not statistically significantly related to leader career derailment potential while leader composure was. A statistically significant interaction between leader race and leader composure in predicting boss-rated leader career derailment potential existed when peers were rating leader composure, but not when direct reports were rating leader composure. However, the relationship was stronger for Whites than African Americans; under low composure, African American leader career derailment potential was lower than Whites, but the reverse was true under high composure. The present multivariate study is the first to demonstrate the inverse relationship between leader composure and leader career derailment potential as well as the moderating effect of leader race. The results suggest that African Americans reaching leadership positions may be highly qualified and may depend on composure as a resource.



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