Dissertations and Theses


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 8410
  • Publication
    DEI, Here I Come! Five Lessons From Organizational Dynamics For DEI
    (2023-05-15) Dajana D. Denes Walters; Russo, Charline S.
    This Capstone is a reflective summary of the learnings gained during my journey in the Organizational Dynamics graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania. As I have been proactively working on transitioning to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), I decided to collect five valuable lessons from Organizational Dynamics that I want to bring to the next chapter of my professional life. As a result, I pulled common threads from different courses and experiences in the program to create a guidebook for myself and anyone else who is eager to create an inclusive, just, and safe work environment for all. Each lesson explores a different concept together with a method (or methods) that can be used to put it in practice and its DEI application(s). The concepts—including curiosity, transformative learning, contained chaos, implicit bias, and feedback—create a broad spectrum of organizational solutions for building a human-centered and learning-oriented organization where everyone can thrive.
  • Publication
    Combating McCarthyism: A Comparative Analysis of Truman and Eisenhower’s Approaches
    (2024) Jeremy Ashe; Eisenhower, David
    McCarthyism was a prominent force in early 1950s American politics, spearheaded by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. Both President Harry S. Truman and President Dwight D. Eisenhower acknowledged the dangers associated with this type of demagoguery and attempted their own unique approach to combating it. Specifically, Truman’s approach directly and publicly confronted McCarthy, while Eisenhower’s approach silently and bureaucratically undermined McCarthy’s influence in Congress and the Republican party. Although there is extensive literature on McCarthyism, Truman’s approach, and Eisenhower’s approach, there is a significant gap in the comparison between the two approaches and in analyzing them in terms of crucial psychological components of McCarthyism, specifically in-group and out-group thinking and anti-intellectualism. This paper seeks to fill that gap by comparing the Truman and Eisenhower approaches and providing additional analysis of their respective effectiveness. This effectiveness is determined by the ability to diminish McCarthy’s appeal among the public and congressional peers and his capacity to shape political landscapes through investigations and agenda-setting. To do so, I examined presidential speeches, press conferences, meeting notes, and political maneuvering in order to investigate each president’s approach. I also applied existing literature on intergroup leadership and misinformation corrections to each approach in conjunction with polling data and shifts in political alliances in order to analyze each approach’s effectiveness. I argue that Truman’s approach failed to stop McCarthy’s political influence in Congress and with the public due to Truman’s lack of ethos and trust among McCarthy supporters and the threatening nature of his attacks. The Eisenhower approach, on the other hand, effectively ended McCarthyism by undermining his support among Republicans, caused largely by Eisenhower’s trust among Republicans and the general public and his savvy political actions that made his agenda more receptive to McCarthy supporters in Congress. Finally, I briefly examine contemporary politics in light of McCarthyism by providing an explanation for Donald Trump’s political prowess through the Truman approach and potential remedies to his power through the Eisenhower approach.
  • Publication
    Utilitarianism and Animal Rights
    (2024-05) Anderson, Dana; Goldman, Loren
    This paper considers two potential methods, both based in utilitarianism, that can be used to grant animals a higher moral status. The first of these methods is an “animal-centric utility” based argument which seeks to decrease harm in non-human animals and increase non-human utility. The second of these methods is an “anthropocentric utility” based argument which seeks to decrease harm in human beings and increase human utility. Though both methods are generally effective at promoting animals receiving a higher moral status, the anthropocentric utility method is ultimately more persuasive for convincing society as a whole. Because of how normalized animal consumption has been throughout history, religious narratives, and human philosophy, the argument to give animals a higher moral status must continue to place homo sapiens at the forefront of the argument; people are more likely to be persuaded to benefit themselves as opposed to benefiting someone - or something – else. This paper analyzes these two methods and provides various avenues for implementing stronger animal rights.
  • Publication
    Welcoming the "Killer Robot": Understanding International Variability in Lethal Autonomous Weapon System Bans
    (2024-05-19) Harrison Montoya, Carmen; Alex, Weisiger
    What explains the variability in between nations' choices to ban lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS)? Also known as "killer robots," LAWS are a class of weapons that are able to engage and destroy a target without the need for human intervention. Despite disagreement on their definition and existence, nations and intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations have already begun debating how LAWS could be used or misused, publicly voicing their stances on the possibility of banning LAWS once they emerge. Stark variations have since developed between stances on a possible ban of LAWS, yet explanations and analyses of nations' stances are lacking. What would compel a nation to legalize the development and use of LAWS or generate bans against them? Employing a comparative case study analysis, my research categorizes stances on LAWS through a nation's humanitarian beliefs, democratic status, and ability to develop LAWS in the near future, theorizing and analyzing which factor would contribute the greatest to a nation's decision to develop or ban LAWS. Cases will encompass the United States, Brazil, China, Russia, and Egypt. Through my comparative case study analysis, I uncover that each hypothesis is proven equally true, and more complex conversations must be had regarding decision-making processes to develop or ban LAWS. Employing these findings, I hope to provide a framework for the likely international development of LAWS and contribute a novel perspective of the future of international security policy and military automation to both academics and policymakers alike.
  • Publication
    (2024-05-18) Randall L. Wilson; Greeson, Johanna
    ABSTRACT THE VOICES OF DETERMINATION: A TWO-ARTICLE EXPLORATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN FATHERS EXPERIENCE WITHIN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM The journey of African American fathers involved in the child welfare permanency process is influenced by the intersection of institutional betrayal, race, and gender. These societal norms work together within the context of the child welfare system to impact the reality of African American fathers. This is due to the absence of equitable child welfare policies and the pervasiveness of informal interpersonal practices that are rooted in unfounded stereotypes, attitudes, and assumptions toward African American males. African American fathers who find themselves engaged in the child welfare permanency process seldom have the opportunity to express their narrative. The "Voices of Determination" study seeks to gain a rich understanding of the individual experiences of African American fathers that stem from persistent societal beliefs about racial and gender inferiority. Its focus is on examining the impact of negative portrayals of African American men's family roles on their children's experiences within the child welfare system. The "Voices of Determination" study utilizes photovoice, a form of participatory photography, as the primary qualitative method and explores the impact of institutional betrayal, race, and gender on the experience of African American fathers aged 18-55 years engaged in the child welfare permanency process in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Using an attachment theoretical lens, the relationship between the child welfare system and African American fathers was examined. To ensure cultural relevance, African American Male Development Theory was integrated to articulate African American men's unique social, intellectual, spiritual, and systems engagement experiences. As part and parcel of the photovoice, participant-centered methods were used to explore the experiences that supported or challenged the child welfare permanency process for 10 African American fathers. Photovoice captioned images and interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. In this exploratory study, African American fathers consistently demonstrated the theme of narrative coherence when discussing their negative relationships with the child welfare system. They coherently described their personal experiences of feeling rejected or neglected by the child welfare system's policies and practices. When they had consistent positive encounters that provided a secure working model, the study participants were able to demonstrate the earned-secure attachment characteristic of narrative coherence. For this study, the secure working model necessary for the coherent narrative was derived through the interactions with the facilitators of the parenting education and support groups and continued with the researcher. The findings of this study shed light on the fourth tenet of the African American Male Development Theoretical perspective. Through their narratives, the fathers defined themselves beyond any socially constructed ideas of innate biological or cultural deficiencies, and instead emphasized their resilience and resistance within the permanency planning process. Although the results of this exploratory study cannot be generalized beyond the men who participated, it offers valuable insight into the experiences of African American fathers who are involved in the process of reuniting with their children within the child welfare system's permanency process. The study suggests areas that require further exploration and research and recommends policy and practice changes within the child welfare system based on the personal experiences of these men who are affected daily. Keywords: AFRICAN AMERICAN FATHERS, CHILD WELFARE PRACTICE, PHOTOVOICE, QUALITATIVE RESEARCH, AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE DEVELOPMENT THEORY, ATTACHMENT THEORY