Study Finds Minority Managers Who Hire Minorities Are Likely to Be Rated Less Competent

coloradouniversityA new study, led by researchers at the Leeds School of Business at University of Colorado at Boulder, included an experiment where hundreds of participants were asked to evaluate a fictional hiring decision by a manager in a corporate setting. Participants read a description of the hiring decision that included a photo of the manager that indicated his or her ethnic identity. The participants were then given a questionnaire about the hiring decision.

The results showed that minority managers were rated as less effective when they hired a minority applicant for the open position than minority managers who hired a White person for the post. For White managers, there was no difference in competency rating on whether they hired a minority or non-minority candidate.

The results led the authors to conclude that “for all the talk about how important diversity is within organizations, White executives aren’t rewarded career-wise, for engaging in diversity-valuing behavior, and non-White executives actually get punished for it.”

The authors write that “it’s risky for low-status group members to help others like them. And this can lead to minorities choosing not to advocate for other non-Whites once they reach positions of power, as they don’t want to be perceived as incompetent.”

The study, “Does Diversity-Valuing Behavior Result in Diminished Performance Ratings for Nonwhite and Female Leaders?,” was published on the website of the Academy of Management Journal. It may be accessed here.

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  1. Good afternoon. I am writing on behalf of the President/CEO of the National Urban League. We are interested in obtaining a copy of your study regarding minority managers hiring minorities. Could you possibly assist with this request?

    Thank you.

    Catherine Ortiz

    • There is information on accessing the study at the end of the article. Or, if you prefer, you can contact the authors directly.

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