Addressing the Challenge of Appointing More Public Sector Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) Chief Executives Through Utilising an Appreciative Inquiry Research Framework

  • Owen Williams

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The primary research objective of this study is to identify an approach to address the challenge of appointing more public sector Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) Chief Executives Officers (CEOs) to at least reflect the prevailing UK BAME working age population percentage of 14%. This is achieved through placing greater emphasis on the role and accountability of senior gatekeepers and challenging the inherently negative discourse of the extant literature by applying an appreciative inquiry research framework, which is used to explore the thoughts of present-day senior gatekeepers and ultimately leads to the development of a BAME CEO ‘Enhanced prospects model’.

The construction of this model is pulled together by virtue of seven qualitative research interviews - framed through a 5-D appreciative framework - with a set of unique senior gatekeepers. The uniqueness of these gatekeepers is marked by the fact that they have recruited and selected at least one BAME CEO across the public sector, which for the purposes of this study is defined as UK local government and NHS provider organisations.

Key elements of the BAME CEO ‘Enhanced prospects model’ include the championing of a more appreciative discourse alongside an umbrella theme for senior gatekeepers linked to greater personal accountability. The need for greater gatekeeper ‘ownership’ is identified along with key gatekeeping activities, which include:

• limiting ‘conscience cleansing’ behaviours;
• becoming ‘skilled diversiasts’ and;
• proactively ‘headhunter shaping’.

Importantly, the developed model does not strive to replace previous scholarly and practitioner attempts to impact on the career prospects of BAME people, but it does seek to broaden the metaphorical bandwidth of the debate with the expected effect of enhancing the prospects of appointing more BAME CEOs across the public sector.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChris Cowton (Main Supervisor)

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