Important News about Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Employees who have autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are entering the workforce in record numbers. Yet, employers and coworkers may not know how to relate to people with this diagnosis, especially considering that people with ASD vary greatly on the extent of their mental and social abilities. This uncertainty can negatively affect the careers of people with ASD, especially as people with ASD are stigmatized or stereotyped. New research (Johnson & Joshi, 2016) conducted a two part investigation of employees with ASD in order to discover some of the factors that may lead to these unfortunate and ineffective workplace outcomes.
Discrimination Can Block Pathways into Organizations
Discrimination in the workplace is unfortunately still a problem that needs a solution. There is inescapable evidence that many types of people experience discrimination at various decision points in a career. For example, selection, salary negotiation, and promotions, are all decision points that provide an opportunity for measurable discrimination to appear. New research (Milkman, Akinola, & Chugh, 2015) focuses instead on career “pathways,” or the process that leads up to obtaining a job. If someone has a clear pathway to a job, they may be more likely to be hired when the selection decision is made. However, a pathway can be blocked with obstacles (such as discrimination) that make it difficult for a person to succeed at a later decision point.
Stereotypes and Employment Discrimination Against Cancer Survivors
Employment discrimination harmfully affects many types of people, and new research indicates that cancer survivors may be among the victims. This is especially troubling, because after a cancer diagnosis, people must overcome many challenging obstacles to enter and remain in remission. Yet, these same individuals may also have a more difficult time obtaining employment. A recent study (Martinez, White, Shapiro, & Hebl, 2016) examined the stereotypes associated with cancer survivors and the workplace-related implications of these stereotypes for both individuals and organizations.
Getting Credit for Speaking Up: Sub-Conscious Bias and Employee Voice
Employee voice refers to the feedback provided by employees to improve organizational functioning. You might also think of it simply as “speaking up.” Not only is it critical for organizational improvement and success, but the extent to which employees speak up can affect the way they are evaluated by their managers. In a fair workplace, the employees who speak up the most would get the most credit. However, not all employees are recognized for their input equally.
Ethnic and Gender Discrimination When Reviewing Job Resumes
Job resumes are essential in making hiring decisions as they provide necessary information about applicants during the initial screening stages. However, resume screening is highly susceptible to psychological biases, and raters or screeners may rely on mental shortcuts that lead to inaccurate assessments, especially when relevant applicant information appears to be lacking. New research (Derous, Ryan & Serlie, 2015) explored how characteristics of the job and rater attitudes (ethnic prejudice, sexism) combine to influence the decisions of recruiters when limited information was provided in resumes.
Diversity Training: Are All Methods Equal?
Diversity training has an important purpose. As the workplace becomes increasingly diverse, employees are expected to frequently interact with coworkers, customers, and supervisors who are different from them. The nature of the workforce itself is continually changing, characterized by a higher percentage of female employees, racial or ethnic minority employees, and older employees. As a result, human resource managers have prioritized diversity training programs as a way to respond and adapt to the shifting workforce.
However, very little I/O psychology research has focused on best practices for implementing diversity training programs. A recent study aimed to fill this gap in the research by examining three distinct diversity training methods to determine which strategies are the most effective for changing or improving diversity-related attitudes.
Stigma-by-Association: How Follower Characteristics Influence Evaluation of Leaders
Evaluation of leaders is becoming an increasingly important workplace topic. This is especially so, because some research suggests that racial disparities within the US workforce have increased over the last decade, as some minority groups are greatly underrepresented in positions of management. There may be a number of reasons for this, but new research (Hernandez, Avery, Tonidandel, Hebl, Smith, & McKay, 2015) suggest that one reason could be biased appraisals of leaders (i.e. evaluations of performance, value and competence) that occur due to characteristics of individuals in the group. This means that the racial composition of the leader’s group, influences opinions of that leader’s effectiveness.
Obesity in the Workplace: Discrimination Against Employees and Customers in a Retail Setting
Obesity in the workplace continues to be a pressing issue because obesity rates continue to rise across the United States. This creates concerns for the two-thirds of the adult population that can be considered obese or overweight, as well as the organizations that employ them. In addition to the physical consequences of being overweight, heavy individuals may also be the victims of stigmatization and prejudice. Common stereotypes associated with heavy individuals purport that they are less hardworking, less conscientious, and less happy than non-heavy individuals are. Because weight is not a protected class under federal discrimination law, obese individuals may also feel that their weight affects their work experiences through both formal (i.e., overt) and informal (i.e., subtle) discrimination.
Reducing Stereotyping: What You’re Doing May Not be Working
Stereotypes are quite common, but they are not always bad. Sometimes, we can stereotype someone in a positive way, and sometimes stereotypes are helpful because they reduce the amount of critical thinking a person has to do. The danger is when stereotypes are inaccurate or negative. This can lead to discriminatory behavior in the workplace. Organizations spend large sums of money every year on reducing stereotyping with training that aims to raise awareness and minimize their negative effects. A recent study by Duguid and Thomas-Hunt (2014) investigated whether creating greater awareness of stereotyping and encouraging resistance to them was the best way of curbing their harmful effects.
Avoiding Adverse Impact: Selection Procedures That Increase Organizational Diversity
Using cognitive tests as part of an employee selection process will generally help more than various other methods (such as interviews) to ensure the selection of better performing individuals. There are some methods that are slightly better predictors of performance, but cognitive tests have proven to be a mainstay.
Unfortunately, the use of such tests can lead to discriminatory hiring practices against minority groups, who often score below their white counterparts due to a variety of factors.