Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Adult Education and Human Resource Development

First Advisor's Name

Thomas G. Reio, Jr.

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Hyejin Bang

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Valentina Bruk-Lee

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Sarah Mathews

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


names, self-presentation, social identity, social penetration, suitability for employment, self-disclosure, ethnically identifying names, stereotyping, microaggressions, category cues, stigma

Date of Defense



The overarching purpose of this collected papers dissertation was to explore the perspectives and experiences related to names in social and professional settings for persons with ethnically identifying names. The first paper was an integrative literature review. The second paper was a qualitative study utilizing the phenomenological approach. Both studies utilized self-presentation theory, while Study #2 added social penetration theory and social identity theory. Self-presentation theory posits that people put forth a public face to show that they possess desirable characteristics to observers. Social penetration theory is centered on the concept of self-disclosure and the notion that people carefully construct their level of disclosure based on the interaction and how they wish it to proceed. Finally, social identity theory puts forth that people categorize others to determine with whom to align themselves and whom to exclude. These theories undergirded the studies and directed the inquiry.

Study #1 reviewed literature to determine if names and self-presentation were studied within HRD. Only one study was found. The extant literature was largely quantitative, focused on job market reactions to applicant names, and assumed characteristics. Overall, the studies were focused on how best to present an applicant based on their name and the possible consequences of self-presentation in undesirable categories (e.g., minority applicants with “unique” or “ethnic” names). The literature indicated that applicants best presented when they utilized names that indicated non-minority ethnicity (e.g. White).

Study #2 explored the opinions, experiences and behaviors of interview participants with ethnically identifying names related to social identity, self-presentation and social penetration. This study consisted of interviewing 15 people of either Asian, African, Caucasian or Latino/Hispanic ethnicity. Findings suggested that names did matter to the participants and that their behaviors and opinions related to their self-presentation and self-disclosure were colored by their experiences as someone with an ethnically identifying name; both professionally and socially.

Overall, the findings of these studies are a starting point into the HRD literature to inform organizational research and practice. Additional research is needed to create a more comprehensive picture of the issues involved and work towards best practices and interventions.





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