Dr. Alford’s Expertise | MIL


Much research has shown that minority groups suffer from structural constraints that limit their abilities to obtain and sustain leadership roles in organizations. While the literature is limited in this area, there is some agreement that the networks held by minorities in organizations tend to be lower in social capital such that the quantity and quality of resources of available resources are lower than the majority groups in the organization (Kilduff & Tsai, 2003; Khattab, Knippenberg, Pieterse, & Hernandez, 2020). In other terms, minorities do not have strategic engagement with the people and programs in the organization that can facilitate their leadership advancement.

The impact is evident for minority employees. They work to ensure that their credentials are on par or better than their non-minority counterparts. However, despite this, they see lesser qualified non-minority colleagues advance to the roles for which, on paper, they are more qualified.


Dr. Alford has not only lived this experience but has also seen the phenomenon across many different organizations. While there is no simple answer for how minority employees can shift the organizational and often cultural preference for non-minorities in leadership advancement, an opportunity exists for minorities to increase the caliber of their networks. Changing this narrative could include requesting access to mentoring programs, training programs outside the organization with external mentorship opportunities, or taking a more strategic approach with performance review asks.

Dr. Alford has held global director roles and has consulted with dozens of Fortune 500 organizations. He has engaged in many different cultures and leadership discourses. He has helped many minorities re-imagine their brand to become more attractive to the social networks with the power in organizations.

Let’s get started.

Khattab, J., van Knippenberg, D., Pieterse, A. N., & Hernandez, M. (2020). A Network Utilization Perspective on the Leadership Advancement of Minorities. Academy of Management Review, 45(1), 109–129. https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2015.0399

Kilduff, M., & Tsai, W. 2003. Social networks and organizations. London: Sage.

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