A Snapshot of SIOP 2016 (Pt. 3) – Fairness

Last month, I-O Psychologists convened in sunny California to share the latest cutting-edge research and plot to take over the world.  In both regards, the 31st annual conference of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SIOP) was a huge success.  

But don’t worry if you didn’t make it, IOatWork is bringing SIOP to you!  We’ve partnered with numerous SIOP presenters, and they’ve provided us with the nitty-gritty on some of the very best presentations, which we now offer to you in a multi-part series.  

So buckle up!  

For the first time ever, SIOP is coming straight into your home or workplace—kind of like a peer-reviewed Kool-Aid Man.  

We hope you enjoy!

A Snapshot of SIOP 2016 Part 3: Fairness from I/O at Work

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.

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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.

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Stereotypes and Employment Discrimination Against Cancer Survivors


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Selection BIAS: Stereotypes and discrimination related to having a history of cancer.
Reviewed by: Kayla Weaver

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.

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Getting Credit for Speaking Up: Sub-Conscious Bias and Employee Voice


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Who gets credit for input? Demographic and structural status cues in voice recognition.
Reviewed by: Lia Engelsted

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.

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Ethnic and Gender Discrimination When Reviewing Job Resumes


Publication: Personnel Psychology (2015)
Article: Double Jeopardy Upon Resume Screening: When Achmed is Less Employable than Aisha.
Reviewed by: Andrew Morris

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.

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Diversity Training: Are All Methods Equal?


Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (2015)
Article: The impact of method, motivation, and empathy on diversity training effectiveness
Reviewed by: Kayla Weaver

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.

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Stigma-by-Association: How Follower Characteristics Influence Evaluation of Leaders


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (2015)
Article: The Role of Proximal Social Contexts: Assessing Stigma-by-Association Effects on Leader Appraisals
Reviewed by: Andrew Morris

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.

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Obesity in the Workplace: Discrimination Against Employees and Customers in a Retail Setting


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Weight isn’t selling: The insidious effects of weight stigmatization in retail settings
Reviewed by: Kayla Weaver

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.

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Reducing Stereotyping: What You’re Doing May Not be Working


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Condoning Stereotyping: How Awareness of Stereotyping Prevalence Impacts Expression of Stereotypes
Reviewed by: Andrew Morris

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.

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