Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Raymond Mendl, Elizabeth Shoenfelt, John O'Connor

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Despite the controversy surrounding Affirmative Action (AA), relatively little research has appeared about attitudes towards these programs. In this research, an exploratory approach is implemented to assess the support of personnel managers for the theory of AA as well as the mechanisms designed to carry it out. Also, the relationship to Supreme Court decisions, relevant legislation, and numerous demographic, attitudinal, and organizational variables are examined for their impact on Affirmative Action attitudes. A questionnaire was utilized to assess support for AA and its correlates. The majority of personnel managers indicate support for both AA in theory and the mechanisms required to carry these programs out. This research indicates either very small or no differences exist between support for AA concepts versus AA mechanisms, support for gender -based versus race-based AA, or support reported by private sector versus public sector personnel managers for AA. How personnel managers perceive the impact of Court Decisions and the 1991 Civil Rights Act on AA implementation, although small, was found to be a significant correlate of AA attitudes. The race of the respondent was found to be the most significant determinant of AA attitudes. Although minorities were found to be more supportive than nonminorities, both were found to register support for these programs.


Business | Civil Rights and Discrimination | Human Resources Management | Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Law | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences