Expanding Theories of Career Development: Adding the Voices of African American Women in the White Academy Academic Article uri icon


  • Many theorists have proposed models to explain career development. The appropriateness of these models for women and minority groups, however, has been widely criticized. Changes in the composition of the workforce, including the increased number of minority professionals in majority organizations, call for new ways of theorizing career development. Using a bicultural framework, this study examined the professional development history of five tenured African American women at a predominantly White university to explore how minority professionals develop competencies to meet career expectations in White organizational cultures. The findings indicate that race, culture, and identity play a vital role in the career development of minority professionals in majority organizations. An important finding is the way the women accessed the power of their bicultural life structure to develop strategies for maintaining successful careers in White organizational cultures.

published proceedings

  • Adult Education Quarterly

author list (cited authors)

  • Alfred, M. V.

citation count

  • 56

complete list of authors

  • Alfred, Mary V

publication date

  • February 2001