Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Aby Sene-Harper

Committee Member

Lauren Duffy

Committee Member

Matthew Brownlee

Committee Member

Lori Dickes


According to the 2020 U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, the National Park Service (NPS) was ranked the 353rd best place to work out of the 411 government agencies surveyed, with an engagement score of 61.3%, which was lower than the 69.0% average amongst government agencies. This survey is performed annually and asks employees to score their employer in the following categories: leadership, empowerment, pay, teamwork, innovation, recognition, response to COVID-19, and work-life balance. The scores are divided by a quartile key. In every category except “innovation,” the NPS landed in the lower quartile, causing the need to address organizational culture and the lack of employee satisfaction in the NPS to remain a pressing issue. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the workplace experiences and needs of Black employees in the NPS, along with decision-making by managers. Furthermore, it examined job satisfaction at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) using descriptive statistics in a pilot study. The literature review expands on the history of the conservation movement, the job satisfaction model, and the creation of the NPS. In conclusion, this dissertation will utilize organizational theories to better understand human capital and the employment trajectory of those who pursue a career in the NPS.

Author ORCID Identifier




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