Kecia Thomas, Ph.D.

  • Professor
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program
  • Sr. Advisor to the Dean for Inclusion & Diversity Leadership
  • Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 1993

Laboratory Webpage

Research Interests

My research program focuses on understanding the psychology of workplace diversity, specifically how individuals and organizations resist or demonstrate readiness for diversity. My work is also concerned with the organizational experiences of marginalized groups, namely people of color, women, and sexual minorities and the impact their work and professional experiences has on their career mobility and overall well-being. My instructional program includes courses in the Psychology of Prejudice, Race and Identity, Diversity in Organizations, Organizational Effectiveness and Change, Program Evaluation, and Organizational Theory. RED provides my students and me the unique opportunity to integrate these programs of research and instruction in order to further the diversity and effectiveness missions of UGA units, non-profit institutions, school districts, and traditional workplaces through workshop delivery, meeting facilitation, and diversity climate assessments.

Selected Publications

Books Authored or Co-authored

Thomas, K. M. (2005). Diversity Dynamics in the Workplace. San Fransisco: Wadsworth.

Volumes Edited

Thomas, K.M. (2008). Diversity Resistance in Organizations. [Applied Psychology Series]. NYC: LEA-Taylor Francis.

Thomas, K.M. & Proudford, K.L. (eds.) (1999). Organizational Outsiders Within. [special issue of Journal of Career Development] NYC: NY: Kluwer Academic/Human Sciences Press.

Book Chapters

Harrison, M.S., Reynolds-Dobbs, W., & Thomas, K.M. (2008). Skin color bias in the workplace: The media's role and implications towards preference. In R. Hall's (Ed.), Colorism: Global Perspectives on How Skin Color Still Matters. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellon Press.

Munoz, C & Thomas, K.M. (2006). LGBTQ Issues in Organizational Settings: What HRD Professionals Need to Know and Do. In R. Hill's (Ed). Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism in Organizational Settings (New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education p. (85-96). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Thomas, K.M. & Davis, J.L. (2006). Best practices in diversity management. In M. Karsten's (Ed.), Gender, Race, & Ethnicity in the Workplace: Issues and Challenges for Today's Organizations., vol 3, 69-84. Praeger/Greenwood.

Thomas, K.M. (2006). Diversity in organizations. In. J. Greenhaus & G. Callanan's (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Career Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Thomas, K.M. & Chrobot-Mason, D. (2005). Demographic group based discrimination: Theories and conclusions. In R. Diboye & A. Colella's (Eds.), Discrimination at Work: The Psychological and Organizational Bases (p 63-88) [part of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology's Frontiers Series]. Mahwah, NJ: LEA.

Thomas, K. M., Mack, D.A., & Montagliani, A. (2004). Challenging diversity myths: A critical analysis of backlash. In P. Stockdale's & F. Crosby's (Eds.), The Psychology and Management of Diversity in Organizations (p 31-51). Blackwell Publishers.

Peer-reviewed articles since 2000

Plaut, V.C., Thomas, K.M., & Goren, M.J. (2009). Is multiculturalism or colorblindness better for minorities? Psychological Science 20(4), 444-446.

Harrison, M.S. & Thomas, K.M. (2009). The hidden prejudice in selection: A research investigation on skin color bias. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 39(6), 727-744.

Hu, C., Thomas, K.M., & Lance, C.E. (2008). Intentions to initiate mentoring relationships: Understanding the impact of race, proactivity, feelings of deprivation, and relationship roles. Journal of Social Psychology, 148(6), 727-744.

Reynolds-Dobbs, W., Harrison, M.S., & Thomas, K.M. (2008). From mammy to superwoman: Images that hinder Black women's career development. Journal of Career Development, 35(2), 129-150.

Avery, D. R., Tonidandel, S., Thomas, K. M., Mack, D. A., & Johnson, C. D. (2007). The MEIM & ME: Assessing the multigroup ethnic identity measure for measurement equivalence. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 67(5), 877-888.

Thomas, K.M., Willis, L.A., & Davis, J.L. (2007). Mentoring minority graduate students: Issues and strategies for institutions, faculty, and students. Equal Opportunities International, 26(3), 178-192.

Thomas, K.M., Hu, C.Y., Gewin, A.G., Bingham, K.L., & Yanchus, N. (2005). The roles of protege race, gender, and proactive socialization attempts on peer mentoring. Advances in Human Resource Development, 7(1), 540-555.

Thomas, K.M. & Lambert, T.A. (2005). The importance of service learning in doctoral education and training. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 9(1), 238-242.

Thomas, K.M., Bierema, L., & Landau, H.I. (2004). Advancing women's leadership in academe: New directions for research and HRD practice. Equal Opportunities International 7/8, 62-77.

Avery, D. R., & Thomas, K. M. (2004). Blending content and contact: The roles of diversity curriculum and campus heterogeneity in fostering diversity management competency. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 3, 380-396.

Thomas, K.M. (2003). [Review of the book, A Broken Silence: Voices of African American Women in the Academy]. Gender and Society, 17(4), 650-651.

Chrobot-Mason, D.L. & Thomas, K.M. (2002). Minority employees in majority organizations: The intersection of individual and organizational racial identity in the workplace. Human Resource Development Review, 1(3), 323-344.

Thomas, K. M. & Landau, H. (2002). OD students as engaged learners and reflective practitioners: The roles of service-learning. Organizational Development Journal, 20(3), 88-99.

Thomas, K.M. (2002). An unintended lesson in diversity: Black and White Students' reactions to September 11, 2001 [9/11 montage]. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1(1), 32.

Mack, D. A., Johnson, C. D., Green, T. D., Parisi, A. G., & Thomas, K. M. (2002). Motivation to control prejudice as a mediator of Whites' ethnic identity and affirmative action attitudes. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(1), 1-33.

Wayne, J. H., Riordan, C. M., & Thomas, K. M. (2001). Is all sexual harassment viewed the same? The effects of the harasser's and target's race and gender on mock juror decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 179-187.

Dean, K., Thomas, K. M., Holliday-Wayne, J., & Mack, D. (2000). An examination of happiness, racism, and demographics on judgments of guilt. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30(4), 814-832.

Perkins, L. A, Thomas, K. M., & Taylor, G. A. (2000). Advertising and recruitment: marketing to minorities. Psychology and Marketing. [Special Issue on Emerging Topics in Marketing], 17(3), 1-21.

Contracts & Grants

Contextual Processes and Rural African American Emerging Adults. Brody, G., Beach, S., Murry, V., & Thomas, K.M. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Amount awarded: $ 841,000. April 2008-March 2013.

Enhancing participation and quality of the undergraduate experience for minorities in food agricultural sciences. L. Wicker, K.M. Thomas, J. Bertrand, R. Walcott, P. Thomas, W. Vencill, J. Mulligan, J. Johnson, J.C. Diaz-Perez. USDA (HEC). Amount awarded: $149, 313. August 2008- July 2010.

The Climate for Diversity & Learning. Thomas, K.M., Plaut, V.C., & Harris, T.M. Terry College Executive MBA program. Amount awarded: $4928.86 (2007-2008)

Diversity Climate Assessment. Thomas, K.M. & Plaut, V.C. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Amount awarded: $8123.18 (2007-2008).

Creating a Climate for Professionalism. Thomas, K.M. & Harrison, M.S. Central State Hospital (Milledgeville, GA). Amount awarded: $850.00. (2007).

Graduate Students for Research and Engagement in Diversity [G-RED] Fellowships. Reynolds-Dobbs, W. & Thomas, K.M. American Psychological Association, Committee on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training [CEMRRAT]. Amount awarded: $500.00. (2007-2008).

Seed Grants for Graduate Student Diversity Research: Research and Engagement in Diversity [RED] Fellowships. Thomas, K.M. UGA President's Venture Fund. Amount awarded: $3000.00. (2006-2008).

Seed Grants for Graduate Student Diversity Research: Research and Engagement in Diversity [RED] Fellowships. Thomas, K.M. American Psychological Association, Committee on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training [CEMRRAT]. Amount awarded: $4000.00. (2006-2008).

The Intersection of Diversity and Learning: A National Conference. Hill, J., Thomas, K.M., Fecho, R., Guy, T., & Oliver, J.P., National Science Foundation. Amount awarded: $47, 593. (2005-2006).

Enhancing the climate for diversity and ethnic minority psychology. Thomas, K. M., Bingham, K., & Hu, C.Y. Granting agency: Committee for Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training, American Psychological Association. Amount awarded: $4000.00 (2002-2003).

Guidelines for service learning in I/O psychology. Thomas, K. M., Lambert, T. A., & Yanchus, N. Granting agency: Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. Amount awarded: $2500.00. (2002).

Guidelines for preparing engaged scholars: A model for faculty development in psychology. Nelson, P., Duffy, D., & Thomas, K. M. Granting agency: Campus Compact. Amount awarded: $5000.00. (2002).

Service learning in industrial/organizational psychology. Thomas, K. M. Granting agency: UGA Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, UGA. Amount awarded: $800.00. (2001).

Supporting service learning in applied psychology. Thomas, K. M. Granting agency: UGA Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. Amount awarded: $500.00. (2001).

A new model of training in psychology: A service-learning incubator. Thomas, K. M., Phelps, R. E., Grantham, T., & Hu, C.Y. Granting agency: Science directorate, American Psychology Association & the National Science Foundation. Amount awarded: $1500.00. (2001).

Preparing future psychology faculty. Phelps, R. E., Thomas, K. M. & Grantham, T. Granting agency: American Psychological Association/Preparing Future Faculty Foundation. Amount awarded: $41,000. (2000). Dates: 6/2000-5/2003.

A formative assessment of the multicultural initiative. Thomas, K. M. Granting agency: College of Education, University of Georgia. Amount awarded: $15,000.00. (1999). Dates: June 1999-June 2000.

Cross-regional study of diversity resistance. Thomas, K. M. Awarding agency: Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, University of Georgia. [Grant awarded as part of the M.G. Michael Award]. Amount awarded: $2,500.00. (1999). Dates: April 1999-June 2000.

Evaluation of the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities at the University of Georgia. Thomas, K. M. & Eby, L. Granting agency: Supplemental grant from the Fund to Improve Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). Amount awarded: $12,000.00. (1997). Dates: September 1997-May 2000.

Doctoral Dissertations Supervised

Roote, B. (2009). Understanding performance evaluation bias in evaluations of gay managers. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Georgia.

Harrison, M. (2008). The role of affirmative action stigma on minority professionals personal and professional identities. Doctoral dissertation. University of Georgia.

Hudgies-Smith, Kalisha. (2007). The role of compressed work scheduling on work-life balance and perceptions of organizational support. Doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia.

Reynolds Dobbs, Wendy. (2007). The differential role of ethnicity on women's workplace experiences. Doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia.

Davis, Jimmy L. (2006). Does who I am determine how I develop? A two-stage study of promotion and development decisions. Doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia.

Gewin, Amanda G. (2005). Emotional intelligence: An examination of current issues. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Georgia.

Munoz, Corey. (2005). A multi-level examination of career development barriers for gay and lesbian employees. Doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia.

Landau, Harriet. (2004). Multicultural readiness and emotional intelligence in recruitment. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Georgia.

Sarabia, Christina L. (2002). The role of career development influences on organizational attachment. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Georgia.

Perkins, Lesley A. (2001). A two stage examination of minority attraction. Doctoral dissertation. University of Georgia.

Williams, Kimberly L. (1999). The role of employees' perceptions and attitudes on organizational productivity. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Georgia.

Mack, Dan A. (1999). Understanding the complexities of Whites' Affirmative Action Attitudes: The role of values, receptiveness to dissimilar others, other group orientation, and gender. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Georgia.

Wayne, Julie H. (1998). The effects of cross-race and same-gender interactions on juror decisions in a sexual harassment case. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Georgia.

Brown, Stephanie A. (1997). Intergroup anxiety in Whites: The impact of the motivation to control prejudice and Black ethnic identity. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Georgia.

Chrobot, Donna L. (1997). The role of ethnic identity on the quality of cross-race relationships: A study of supervisory psychosocial support and subordinate perceptions of psychological empowerment. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Georgia.

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