Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice (M.S.)

Degree Program

School of Criminal Justice


This research explores the impact of race and offender status on the hiring decisions of small business hiring managers. Cover letters, resumes, and surveys were distributed by mail to small business hiring managers in the Grand Rapids area to assess their reactions to and opinions of prospective applicants with varying racial and criminal backgrounds. The null hypothesis was supported. Respondents did not demonstrate a strong overall preference for candidates of a particular race group or offender status. The largest concern with this study is a limited sample size despite a fairly strong response rate. Social desirability bias may also limit the findings.