A Snapshot of SIOP 2016 (Pt. 4) – Diversity

Last month, I-O Psychologists met in California to share the latest cutting-edge research. The 31st annual conference of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SIOP) was a huge success. 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.


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

Last month, I-O Psychologists met in California to share the latest cutting-edge research. The 31st annual conference of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SIOP) was a huge success. 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.

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

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.


Evaluate Leaders

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.FB

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

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.



Is It Lonely At the Top? The Victimization of High Performers

High Performers are defined as the group of talented employees that increase both team and organizational performance.

Previous research has suggested that individuals high on cognitive ability are more likely to experience workplace victimization, and High Performers might be the target of interpersonal harm.

The current study by Eugune Kim and Theresa Glomb extends this line of research by examining the extent to which High Performers are victimized due to group members’ envy, and whether work group identification can reduce this potential negative consequence of high performance.


Getting the Benefits of Age Diversity in the Workplace

Increasing age diversity can be a bane in terms of communication across generations and differences in cultural and social preferences. Turnover is another point of concern with which organizations with aging employees must contend. However, having a large work force with increasing age diversity also has many benefits that are often overlooked. Age diversity in the workplace provides a larger spectrum of knowledge, values, and preferences.


Workplace Discrimination Against Non-Native Speakers

When employees appear destined for top-level management but are never actually chosen, they are said to suffer from the “glass ceiling effect”. Traditionally, research has documented a glass ceiling effect for women, but other groups are similarly discriminated against. Although research has shown that people speaking with a foreign accent are subject to discrimination, little is known about why this occurs. New research by Huang, Frideger, and Pearce (2013) seeks to explain why.


Should Your Spouse Interview for You? (IO Psychology)

How well can your spouse sing your praises? Well enough to help you get that job you’ve always wanted?

This article discussed the ethical and legal issues surrounding spousal interviews for employment. Ever heard of it? Some companies are choosing to include spousal interviews as a part of their hiring process, especially for sales roles. As sales jobs can include varying hours and unpredictable income, some organizations want to make sure that the spouse fully understands and is on board with what could come. I don’t personally know of any organizations doing this, but it honestly scares the crap out of me (that is one of those phrases I should probably try to stop using).


When women don’t reach the C-suite as often as men, benevolent sexism may be to blame

Topic: Gender, Discrimination, Development
Publication: Journal of Management (NOV 2012)
Article: Benevolent sexism at work: Gender differences in the distribution of challenging developmental experiences
Authors: King, E. B., Botsford, W., Hebl, M. R., Kazama, S., Dawson, J. F., & Perkins, A.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

woman_working_on_laptopWomen are breaking the glass ceiling and entering higher levels of organizations. To be successful, women need to get the same developmental experiences as men, and both men and women seem to be getting about the same number of developmental experiences. But if this is the case, why then are there fewer women than men reaching the very highest levels of the organization?


Size Matters in Court? Determinations of Adverse Impact Based on Organization Size (IO Psychology)

Topic: Assessment, Discrimination, HR Policy, Statistics

Publication: Journal of Business Psychology (JUN 2012)

Article: Unintended consequences of EEO enforcement policies: Being big is worse than being bad

Authors: R. Jacobs, K. Murphy, and J. Silva

Reviewed By: Megan Leasher


Adverse impact occurs when neutral-appearing employment practices have an unintentional, discriminatory effect on a protected group. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is charged with enforcing all federal legislation related to employment discrimination and adheres to the 1978 Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures for “rules of thumb” on inferring whether adverse impact is present.


Discrimination in selection: Who’s most at risk? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Discrimination
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (MAY 2012)
Article: Multiple categorization in resume screening: Examining effects on hiring discrimination against Arab applicants in field and lab settings
Authors: Eva Derous, Ann Marie Ryan, & Hannah-Hanh D. Nguyen
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

You’re probably aware that discrimination can occur during selection. However, in recent years, various predictions have been made regarding who is most likely to be discriminated against, and why. The multiple minority status hypothesis (MMS) posits that someone who is a member of more than one minority group (e.g., an Arab woman in the United States) is more likely to be discriminated against than someone who is only part of one minority group (e.g., an Arab man in the U.S.). Another perspective is the ethnic prominence hypothesis (EP), which suggests that numerical minority status (in other words, women are not counted as a minority) leads to stereotyping. In a series of recent studies in the Netherlands, Eva Derous and her colleagues studied discrimination against Arabs and tested the MMS and EP perspectives.


Unconscious Stereotyping in Selection

Topic: Discrimination, Selection, Human Resource Management
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: The Role of Automatic Obesity Stereotypes in Real Hiring Discrimination
Authors: J. Agerstrom, D.O. Rooth
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Research by Agerstrom and Rooth (2011) has shown that if hiring managers harbor negative stereotypes about obese people, they will also be more likely to actually discriminate against them. What makes this study interesting is that these stereotypes were held unconsciously.


Are Women at a Loss in the Workplace due to Breadwinning at Home?

Topic: Gender
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (WINTER 2011)
Article:  A Woman’s Place and a Man’s Duty:  How Gender Role Incongruence in One’s Family Life Can Result in Home-Related Spillover Discrimination at Work
Author:  Marıa del Carmen Triana
Reviewed By:  Kerrin George

The lack of adherance to stereotypical gender is one source of gender discrimination in the workplace.  In light of the increasing yet still minority number of women who are becoming the primary earners in dual-earner, heterosexual couples, a question arises:  Does this change from the traditional expectation that males should be the breadwinners lead to discrimination at work against the men and women in these relationships ?