Invisible men and women: A status report on race as a variable in organization behavior research


  • An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Career Division Workshop of the 1988 Academy of Management Meeting. We are grateful to Clayton Alderfer and David Thomas for their suggestions in revising the manuscript.


Twenty-five years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, the full integration of racial minorities in the Unites States workforce has still not been achieved. Recent demographic trends indicating that the workforce will be increasingly composed of racial minorities make this a critical issue for academics and practitioners alike. This paper reports on a review of journal research addressing issues of race in organizations. Articles published in twenty major outlets for organization behavior research between 1964 and 1989 were reviewed. Data on the quantity, types and topics of published work are presented. Results indicate that the amount of total published research is small relative to the importance of the topic, that the recent trend is for less rather than more research, that the designs and research questions have been very narrow, and that the topics covered are not representative of the domain of organization behavior. Based upon the findings, some suggestions for future research are offered.