New Book From UVA Darden Professor Explores Critical Role of Race in the Workplace

By Dave Hendrick

Why, despite widespread diversity and inclusion efforts, are there fewer black men and women in corporate leadership roles today than in the early 2000s?

What accounts for the fact that there are no black women among Fortune 500 CEOs?

Why is it so hard to talk frankly about race at work?

A new book co-edited by University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Laura Morgan Roberts dives into these and other pressing issues related to race in the workplace. In Race, Work and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience (Harvard Business Review Press, 2019), Roberts and her co-editors, Harvard Business School Professor Anthony Mayo and Morehouse College President David Thomas, brings together groundbreaking research and a multitude of perspectives and methodologies across 23 essays exploring the experiences of black professionals in a broad spectrum of industries.

In addition to articles co-authored by Roberts, the volume includes contributions from Darden Professor and Global Chief Diversity Officer Martin Davidson and Postdoctoral Fellow Courtney McCluney.

“Despite the central role race has played in America and the American economy, it remains under explored territory in the modern workplace,” said Roberts. “We hope this volume offers a critical accounting of the state of race, work and leadership, with viable strategies for true empowerment and inclusion.”

The volume includes the voices of higher education administrators, CEOs, chief diversity officers, activists and entrepreneurs, among others. Their essays in the book explore topics including:

  • Workplace engagement
  • Developing and retaining diverse talent
  • Designing diversity programs for true inclusion
  • Managing diverse teams
  • Lessons in advancing black leadership

In addition to insights broadly applicable to a range of workplaces, the book includes sector-specific material related to professional development and advancement in a number of industries, including health care, law and financial services.

Roberts, who joined Darden ahead of the 2019–20 academic year, is the author of numerous research articles, teaching cases and practitioner-oriented tools, and the co-editor of Positive Identities and Organizations and Positive Organizing in a Global Society.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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