Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics, College of Liberal and Professional Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Science in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania

Advisor: Dana Kaminstein


This capstone is a qualitative exploratory research study that examines how leaders of teams and organizations create the conditions for inclusive environments. Fifteen study participants representing four racial groups and four different industries were interviewed individually to better understand their inclusion experiences and how they were affected emotionally by inclusion/exclusion in the workplace. Themes from the research indicate that employees feel included when they experience having voice, when others see them as credible, and when they have friendly coactive relationships with their colleagues and leaders. Furthermore, the results of the study show that leaders with formal authority played an important role in creating inclusion experiences for their subordinates. Specifically, leaders who created voice space, conferred informal authority on employees, coached and developed employees, and built vulnerable and safe relationships, positively influenced the inclusion experience. Also, the study results suggest that inclusion affects employee motivational energy, self-confidence in a person’s capability, and their sense of value and purpose.


diversity, inclusion, voice, inclusive leadership, confidence, motivation



Date Posted: 05 February 2021