Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Martha Hardesty

Second Advisor

Thelma Obah

Third Advisor

Jackie Mattila


Organizational Leadership


Through a case study of the Midwestern region of a large retail banking organization, this thesis set out to explore how the organization has worked to create an inclusive culture, as well as the associated challenges, measurement opportunities and outcomes of those activities. Though this case study focused on these efforts across the Midwestern region, the organization itself is one ofAmerica’s largest financial institutions and employs over 275,000 team members. A comprehensive literature review, conceptual and relational content analyses of the organization’s website, and interviews with seven leaders from the region were used in this research.

The results of this research coincide with existing theoretical literature and add a practical perspective that connects existing theory to practice. As Chavez & Weisinger (2008) suggest, an organization can create an inclusive culture by “draw[ing] out and act[ing] on the unique perspectives” of its diverse workforce (p. 332). This case study explores how a region of one organization has done this. More specifically, this study highlights the important roles that cultural awareness, affinity groups and diverse groups and communities have played in the creation of an inclusive culture within the organization. This study also addresses the array of measurements that the organization has used in gauging the success of its inclusion efforts. It also outlines a number of positive outcomes of the organization’s efforts, including affirmative community response and increased business development, among others. Furthermore, this study notes the challenges this organization has faced with time and support to create an inclusive culture. Lastly, this study also presents a number of opportunities for future research around the topic of inclusive culture.