Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Black Families in Corporate America

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Black Families in Corporate America

Article excerpt

Black Families in Corporate America. Susan D. Toliver. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 1998. 193 pp. ISBN 0-7619-0291-0. $48.00 cloth, $23-95, paper.

Susan D. Toliver's book details her extensive study of Black corporate executives and their families. She begins by reviewing the extant Black family literature and detailing her research methods, then discusses the stresses encountered by her interviewees, the additional problems faced by Black women executives, family relocation difficulties, wives as helpmates, childrearing, and marginality. She concludes with a summary and discussion of her findings. Toliver states that "The objective of this investigation was to identify the sources of stress and strengths of Black corporate managers and their families, and to explore the nature of their experiences" (p. 32).

The sample consisted of 191 mostly middle- and upper-middle level managers at Fortune 100 companies, 142 of them men, and 102 spouses, 98 of whom were wives. (Only 36% of her women managers currently were married, a statistic, if representative, of potential interest to those researching the relationship of marital status to Black women's occupational achievement.) Twenty-three children also were interviewed.

These managers and their families have "made it" in corporate America, with much higher incomes than the overall national average. Their children are likely to attend private schools, and their overall lifestyle is well beyond that of most Americans. In order to be successful, many believe that they must produce more than their White counterparts. Many also credit affirmative action programs as having been necessary for them to have had the opportunity to excel and to be recognized in their fields. …

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