Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Paul Attewell

Committee Members

Philip Kasinitz

William Kornblum

Subject Categories



This qualitative study analyzes the perspective of urban postal workers regarding their experiences in a diverse workplace. It will describe the social relations of workers and shows how race, gender, and class are implicated in those relationships. The research design involves in-depth interviews, participant-observation, and analysis of postal and postal union literature. The theoretical framework undergirding this research is multidimensional; theories of diversity in the workplace will be incorporated with race, class, and gender theories. The premise of this research is that diversity problems are rooted in the organizational structure. Power differences are inherent in hierarchically arranged bureaucratic settings and traditionally white male dominated organizations, which are under a process of workforce diversification, are resistant to cultural change.

In these organizations, structural differences in power and access to social resources work their way out in social diversity conflicts. These differences are exacerbated because the organization is paradoxically diverse. That is, the organization is diverse at the national level but is highly segregated by race, class, and gender in local urban areas contributing to elements of occupational integration, tokenism (Kanter, 1977), and resegregation (Reskin & Roos, 1990). This organizational context contributes to the "paradoxes of diversity" which is a theoretical framework developed in this study to examine employee perceptions of inter and intra-group relations within an urban postal facility. This study adds to our knowledge of diversity in organizations by examining employee relations in a post-civil rights workplace. It represents a shift from the single ingroup-outgroup dimension to a sociological focus on understanding how job structures and employee perceptions have implications for workplace diversity.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.

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