Degree Name

Master of Arts

Document Type


Date Created



Work and occupations are among the oldest and most salient concepts studied in sociology. Sociology as a field has largely focused on organizations from a macro perspective; primarily looking at organizational systems and institutionalized systems of oppression. Conversely, in conjunction with other disciplines such as psychology, sociology has maintained a presence in the more micro space, focusing on individualized interaction and behaviors. However, there is a distinct lack of meso-level research about the impact of group dynamics and social interaction in the for-profit workplace. Since 2010, there have only been 89 articles published about groups and their interactions in the workplace in 11 of the flagship journals for the discipline. The lack of research at this level has contributed to the consistent underrepresentation of the impact that group dynamics has on organizational change; particularly diversity, equity and inclusion change initiatives. The gap in this area indicates that there is still a piece missing to the puzzle of creating sustainable organizational change and that there is a story for sociology to tell. Social theory can inform change agents about how those dynamics can be used to shape practices that encourage lasting change. In this study, 13 interviews are conducted with individuals who have led diversity initiatives in their workplace. The narratives are used to construct a picture of the meso-level group dynamics that contribute to the successes and failures of change efforts. This insight led to a group dynamics-based model that can be used to design future change initiatives. Overall this study provides a glimpse into the role that sociology should be playing in the public understanding of and knowledge formation of our work-lives.


sociology; diversity; organizational change; meso-level; group dynamics; groups; work; inclusion; workplace; social

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