Current Projects

I use qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as experiments, to answer pressing questions about race, diversity, and inequality within organizations.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters (*equal authorship):

Okuwobi, Oneya F., Ruth Powell, and Miriam Pepper. 2020. “Ethnic Diversity and Leadership Roles among Australian Protestant Churchgoers in Mono-ethnic and Multi-ethnic Congregations” (Forthcoming at Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion)

Melamed, David, Christopher W. Munn, Leanne Barry*, Bradley Montgomery*, and Oneya F. Okuwobi*. 2019. “Status Characteristics, Implicit Bias, and the Production of Racial Inequality.” American Sociological Review.

Okuwobi, Oneya F. 2019. “’Everything that I’ve Done has Always been Multiethnic’: Biographical Work Among Leaders of Multiracial Churches” Sociology of Religion 80(4): 478-495.

Okuwobi, Oneya F. 2017. “‘How Great is Our God’- Multicultural Worship as a Reflection of Contemporary Diversity Discourse.” in Contemporary Christian Culture: Messages, Missions, and Dilemmas. edited by O. O. Banjo and K. M. Williams. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.


The Costs of Diversity: How Employees of Color Experience Organizational Diversity Policies

My dissertation sheds light on how those who are the object of diversity policies experience them. I use semi-structured interviews with employees of color across three organization types, namely corporations, multiracial churches, and universities, to determine how organizational diversity initiatives contribute to marginalization. This dissertation consists of three sections. In the first, I elucidate the costs of diversity, such as loss of identity, as distinct from those associated with being a token or other effects resulting from the racialized structure. These costs result from an aspect of diversity ideology that requires commodification of people of color to accrue the benefits of being diverse to organizations. In the second section, I provide an ideology of diversity from the perspective of people of color, filling a gap remaining from previous work on diversity ideology that focuses primarily on white people and institutions. Finally, in the third section, I draw from theory on racialized organizations to show how diversity may be used to limit the options of people of color. This dissertation is part of an emerging focus on the intersection between organizational and race theory and contributes to our discipline by revealing hidden causes of stratification. Furthermore, by illustrating he negative consequences of diversity policies as they are currently enacted, I cast doubt on organizational theories claiming such policies are merely ineffective. 


My work on the Religious Leadership and Diversity Project under Dr. Korie Edwards has examined (1) To what extent do leaders of multiracial organizations promote structural attributions of racial inequality? and (2) What factors promote or constrain the leader’s efforts in this direction? These questions are critical because what happens in multiracial organizations matters for racial inequality (Edwards 2008). When organizational discourse obscures structural understandings of race, multiracial organizations are likely to reify the existing racial hierarchy (Dovidio et al. 2015). This work has resulted in one publication in Sociology of Religion and one manuscript under review.


In my work as a GRA for Dr. Vincent Roscigno, my research has examined the impact of proximate workplace relationships on worker attitudes, well-being, and health.  This work has resulted in two manuscripts in preparation:


Roscigno, Vincent and Oneya F. Okuwobi. (Under Review). “Social Relations, Status Variations & Worker Well- Being.”

Crowley, Martha, Vincent Roscigno, Oneya F. Okuwobi, and Amanda Wyant. In preparation. “Job Insecurity, Managerial Incompetence, and Workers’ Mental/Physical Health.


In my work as a GRA with Dr. David Melamed I investigate key assumptions of status characteristic theory using an experimental design. I also researched asymmetry in status deconstruction. Skills include study recruitment, designing and conducting experiments. This work has resulted in one publication in American Sociological Review and one manuscript under review.


NCLS research produces The National Church Life Survey, which is the most comprehensive study of congregational wellbeing, spirituality and church health in the world. Given the high proportion of ethnically-diverse churches in Australia, I am partnering with this organization to examine inequality within multiethnic churches. This work has resulted in one publication.