Management Equal Employment Opportunity
Leonard Bierman
  • LAST REVIEWED: 20 October 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0077


Equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws prohibit employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, age, religion, disability, and national origin; in the United States, these laws apply to employers with fifteen or more employees. The concept means that all employees shall have an “equal opportunity” based hypothetically on their skills and performance to obtain employment and advance on the job once they have obtained such employment. In practice, though, the concept is much more complicated. In most family businesses (of which there are many), for example, family relationships/nepotism tend to play a major role in employment decisions, creating a high degree of “unequal employment opportunity” for non-family members. Moreover, the concept of “affirmative action,” discussed below, involves giving preferential treatment to members of certain groups such as veterans, those with disabilities, etc.—again something the opposite of providing “equal” opportunity to all. Our analysis, however, basically tracks the legal definition of “equal employment opportunity” in most of the developed world, which is essentially that employers must not discriminate (i.e., they should provide equal opportunity) in employment on the basis of race/color, sex, religion, age, etc.

General Overviews

Because of the highly legalistic nature of the field, many of the general overview books dealing with the topic are legally oriented in nature. Lindemann, et al. 2012, authored in conjunction with the American Bar Association, is perhaps the most authoritative of these works. This fifth edition, multivolume treatise is highly comprehensive in nature. Gutman, et al. 2011 is an easy-to-read overview of the field primarily from an industrial psychology/personnel psychology perspective. Finally, Paetzold and Willborn 2012 reviews the field from a statistics perspective, providing considerable insight into the importance of statistical analyses in the field today.

  • Gutman, Arthur, Laura L. Koppes, and Stephen J. Vodanovich. EEO Law and Personnel Practices. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2011.

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    This book provides a comprehensive overview of equal employment opportunity principles, court cases, and legal practices from an industrial psychology perspective. It is meant for use by scholars, students, and practicing managers.

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  • Lindemann, Barbara T., Paul Grossman, and C. Geoffrey Weirich, eds. Employment Discrimination Law. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: Bloomberg BNA, 2012.

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    This edited text is the classic EEO legal reference work, providing a comprehensive multivolume analysis of all the important principles. It is updated regularly by the American Bar Association.

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  • Paetzold, Ramona L., and Steven L. Willborn. The Statistics of Discrimination. Eagan, MN: Thomson/West, 2012.

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    This book provides an excellent overview of the use of statistics in the field of equal employment opportunity, as well as in discrimination cases. As will be seen in the following discussions, statistics are playing an increasingly important role in this field.

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Reference Works

Some books that provide general overviews, such as Paetzold and Willborn 2012 (cited under General Overviews), also provide excellent reference works for the field. In addition, Dipboye and Colella 2005 presents an excellent psychological and organizational review of the topic of discrimination at work by leading industrial psychology scholars, in particular. Moreover, Jones 2012 focuses on the topic of employment discrimination from a nepotism/family business perspective. Both works were published in conjunction with the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).

  • Dipboye, Robert L., and Adrienne Colella, eds. Discrimination at Work: The Psychological and Organizational Bases. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2005.

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    This classic edited volume contains eighteen chapters dealing with the issue of discrimination at work from different perspectives and was written by numerous leading scholars, particularly from the field of industrial psychology.

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  • Jones, Robert G., ed. Nepotism in Organizations. Organizational Frontier Series. New York: Routledge, 2012.

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    This edited reference work from the important aforementioned SIOP Organizational Frontier series examines the interesting interconnection between equal employment opportunity and workplace nepotism, as well as related topics such as “word-of-mouth” hiring.

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Journals are the most commonly used reference sources in studying the topic of equal employment opportunity, particularly in studying and analyzing this topic from a management/managerial studies perspective. Leading academic journals in this area are published by the Academy of Management (AOM), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Strategic Management Society (SMS). Articles referenced in the following sections on the topic of equal employment opportunity have been published over roughly the past twenty years in the top scholarly journals of these organizations, i.e., the AOM (the Academy of Management Journal, the top empirical journal, and the Academy of Management Review, the top theoretical journal), the APA (the Journal of Applied Psychology), and the SMS (the Strategic Management Journal). Articles from six other prominent organizations, organizational behavior publications, and other journals are also referenced in this section.

General Theory of Discrimination/Diversity Issues

Numerous articles survey the general topic of workplace diversity and how it impacts management and competitiveness. Powell and Butterfield 1994 examines the ability of women to reach the highest ranks of the US federal government’s career civil service, i.e., the Senior Executive Service (SES). Wright, et al. 1995 looks at the stock market’s reaction to US Department of Labor announcements that companies have won government affirmative action and other awards. Ibarra 1993 touches on the important issue of social “networks” and how they impact women and racial minorities in the workplace. Comer 1994 investigates the important issue of workplace drug testing and how such testing may affect employee privacy and other rights. Madera and Hebi 2012 looks at employment interviews and the role of stigmatization in such interviews. Hom, et al. 2008 looks at people who already had jobs and then quit and the fact that women and minority group members tend to quit corporate jobs more than other groups do. Morgan and Vardy 2009 presents an economic analysis of employee job searches and the “signals” minority group members present in such searches. Finally, Solnick and Schweitzer 1999 experimentally investigates the fascinating role of physical attractiveness in obtaining employment.

  • Comer, Debra R. “A Case against Workplace Drug Testing.” Organization Science 5.2 (May 1994): 258–267.

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    Article investigating drug testing in the workplace, specifically how testing may violate current and prospective employees’ right to privacy and how drug testing may adversely affect their work attitudes and behaviors.

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  • Hom, Peter W., Loriann Roberson, and Aimee D. Ellis. “Challenging Conventional Wisdom about Who Quits: Revelations from Corporate America.” Journal of Applied Psychology 93.1 (January 2008): 1–34.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.93.1.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses a study done involving twenty corporations and the data on what type of workers quit in these corporations. It was found that women and minorities tend to quit more than other groups do, which hampers progress toward a more diversified workforce in corporate America.

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  • Ibarra, Herminia. “Personal Networks of Women and Minorities in Management: A Conceptual Framework.” Academy of Management Review 18.1 (January 1993): 56–87.

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    This article focuses on the organizational context in which interaction networks are embedded and how that context produces unique constraints on women and racial minorities, causing their networks to differ from those of their white male counterparts.

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  • Madera, Juan M., and Michelle R. Hebi. “Discrimination against Facially Stigmatized Applicants in Interviews: An Eye-Tracking and Face-to-Face Investigation.” Journal of Applied Psychology 97.2 (March 2012): 317–330.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0025799Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this study, participants viewed a computer-mediated interview of an applicant who was or was not facially stigmatized and who either did or did not acknowledge the stigma. The results revealed that the participants with facially stigmatized applicants paid more attention to the stigma, which led participants to recall fewer interview facts, which in turn led to lower applicant ratings.

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  • Morgan, John, and Felix Vardy. “Diversity in the Workplace.” American Economic Review 99.1 (March 2009): 472–485.

    DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.472Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of minority representation in the workplace when employers engage in optimal sequential search for job applicants. The study finds that minorities convey noisier signals of ability than mainstream job candidates do, which makes it harder for minorities to change employers’ prior beliefs.

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  • Powell, Gary N., and D. Anthony Butterfield. “Investigating the ‘Glass Ceiling’ Phenomenon: An Empirical Study of Actual Promotions to Top Management.” Academy of Management Journal 37.1 (February 1994): 68–86.

    DOI: 10.2307/256770Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examines promotion decisions for US federal government Senior Executive Service (SES) positions in a cabinet-level department, while particularly investigating women’s advantage/disadvantage in the workplace.

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  • Solnick, Sara J., and Maurice E. Schweitzer. “The Influence of Physical Attractiveness and Gender on Ultimatum Game Decisions.” Organizational Behavior & Human Decisions Processes 79.3 (September 1999): 199–215.

    DOI: 10.1006/obhd.1999.2843Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article presenting an experiment conducted to investigate the influence of physical attractiveness and gender on ultimatum game decisions.

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  • Wright, Peter, Stephen P. Ferris, Janine S. Hiller, and Mark Kroll. “Competitiveness Through Management of Diversity: Effects on Stock Price Valuation.” Academy of Management Journal 38.1 (February 1995): 272–287.

    DOI: 10.2307/256736Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article investigates the impact that announcements of US Department of Labor awards for exemplary affirmative action programs had on the stock returns of winning corporations and the effect that announcements of damage awards from the settlement of discrimination lawsuits had on the stock returns of corporations.

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Adverse Impact/Statistical Information

Statistics play an important role in analyzing equal employment opportunity/employment discrimination issues. Roth, et al. 2006 looks at the 4/5ths rule used by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in determining statistical adverse impact, i.e., the rule that creates an initial presumption of discrimination if the hiring rate for a given minority group is less than 80 percent of that for non-minority hires. Biddle and Morris 2011 looks at adverse impact statistical analysis using the Lancaster mid-P statistical test.

  • Biddle, Dan A., and Scott B. Morris. “Using Lancaster’s Mid-P Correction to the Fisher’s Exact Test for Adverse Impact Analyses.” Journal of Applied Psychology 96.5 (September 2011): 956–965.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0024223Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviews Lancaster’s mid-P test used to analyze adverse impact data.

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  • Roth, Philip L., Philip Bobko, and Fred S. Switzer. “Modeling the Behavior of the 4/5ths Rule for Determining Adverse Impact: Reasons for Caution.” Journal of Applied Psychology 91.3 (May 2006): 507–522.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.91.3.507Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The article discusses the EEOC’s 4/5ths rule and how, through several simulations, it was found that the rule often resulted in false-positive readings of adverse impact even when there were no underlying (population) standardized group differences between subgroups.

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Sex Discrimination/Gender Discrimination

The issue of sex/gender discrimination is very widely analyzed in the leading management journals. Indeed, its proportionate (statistical!) representation in leading journal articles is far larger than its statistical representation in terms of “real-world” discrimination charges brought to government agencies. For example, of the approximately 100,000 discrimination charges brought annually to the government agency regulating these issues in the United States—EEOC releases FY 2013 Enforcement and Litigation Data, February 5, 2014, Charge Statistics FY 1997–FY 2013—over 35 percent involve alleged race/color discrimination, with sex, age, and disability discrimination charges in considerably lower numbers. In contrast, if general theory of discrimination articles dealing with sex discrimination topics (such as articles dealing with “glass ceiling” issues) are counted, almost half of all the articles dealing with the topic of equal employment opportunity in the leading management journals address sex/gender discrimination topics. Long story short, sex/gender discrimination has been a very widely examined topic by management scholars. Ohlott, et al. 1994 studies the issue of why relatively few women have been promoted to senior management positions and the developmental differences between these women and their male counterparts. Ryan and Haslam 2007 looks at the interesting issue of why women who are promoted to senior leadership positions are being appointed to “precarious” ones, i.e., the so-called “glass cliff.” Berdahl 2007 examines sexual harassment and the desire of the harasser to protect/enhance his or her own sex-based status. Nguyen and Ryan 2008 examines the issue of stereotype threats and how they impact the test performances of minorities and women. Heilman, et al. 1988 studies the valuation of female applicants for nontraditional jobs. Ely 1995 looks at the issue of gender identity at work and how the representation of women in workplace upper echelons impacts their identity. Hotchkiss and Pitts 2007 presents an economic analysis of wage differences between men and women and the role of employment history in this dynamic. Phillips 2005 looks at Silicon Valley (California) law firms and the persistence of gender inequality in those professional firms.

  • Berdahl, Jennifer L. “Harassment Based on Sex: Protecting Social Status in the Context of Gender Hierarchy.” Academy of Management Review 32.2 (April 2007): 641–658.

    DOI: 10.5465/AMR.2007.24351879Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article investigates sex-based harassment. The author proposes that sex-based harassment is fundamentally motivated by the harasser’s desire to protect or enhance his or her own sex-based status.

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  • Ely, Robin J. “The Power in Demography: Women’s Social Constructions of Gender Identity at Work.” Academy of Management Journal 38.3 (June 1995): 589–634.

    DOI: 10.2307/256740Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Study that examined how women’s proportional representation in the upper echelons of organizations affects professional women’s social constructions of gender difference and gender identity at work.

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  • Heilman, Madeline E., Richard F. Martell, and Michael C. Simon. “The Vagaries of Sex Bias: Conditions Regulating the Undervaluation, Equivaluation, and Overvaluation of Female Job Applicants.” Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes 41.1 (February 1988): 98–110.

    DOI: 10.1016/0749-5978(88)90049-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article presents a study that sought to identify the conditions under which women are undervalued, equally valued, and overvalued relative to men when seeking nontraditional jobs.

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  • Hotchkiss, Julie L., and M. Melinda Pitts. “The Role of Labor Market Intermittency in Explaining Gender Wage Differentials.” American Economic Review 97.2 (May 2007): 417–421.

    DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.2.417Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article focusing on the difference in wages between men and women suggests that a combination of increased absences and intermittent employment history plays a major role in explaining the wage gap between the sexes.

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  • Nguyen, Hannah-Hanh D., and Ann Marie Ryan. “Does Stereotype Threat Affect Test Performance of Minorities and Women? A Meta-Analysis of Experimental Evidence.” Journal of Applied Psychology 93.6 (November 2008): 1314–1334.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0012702Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article involves a study of stereotype threat, which is the predicament in which members of a social group deal with the possibility of being judged or treated stereotypically, or of doing something that would confirm the stereotype.

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  • Ohlott, Patricia J., Marian N. Ruderman, and Cynthia D. McCauley. “Gender Differences in Managers’ Developmental Job Experiences.” Academy of Management Journal 37.1 (February 1994): 46–47.

    DOI: 10.2307/256769Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine reasons why so few women have been promoted to senior management positions by surveying male and female managers about developmental components in their current jobs.

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  • Phillips, Damon J. “Organizational Genealogies and the Persistence of Gender Inequality: The Case of Silicon Valley Law Firms.” Administrative Science Quarterly 50.3 (September 2005): 440–472.

    DOI: 10.2189/asqu.2005.50.3.440Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of organizational theory on genealogical persistence of gender inequality that emphasizes the routines and experiences that founders of Silicon Valley law firms transfer from their parent firms to their new firms.

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  • Ryan, Michelle K., and S. Alexander Haslam. “The Glass Cliff: Exploring the Dynamics Surrounding the Appointment of Women to Precarious Leadership Positions.” Academy of Management Review 32.2 (April 2007): 549–572.

    DOI: 10.5465/AMR.2007.24351856Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The article explores the “glass cliff” form of discrimination and outlines strategies for eliminating such discrimination.

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Sexual Harassment

The number of sexual harassment charges brought to government agencies has soared in recent decades. Part of this relates to judicial recognition of causes of action based on “environmental sexual harassment.” These are cases in which no overt sexual demands are made, but there is an alleged hostile and harassing sexual environment, e.g., pervasive sexual jokes and innuendo in the workplace. Lim and Cortina 2005 examines the boundaries of such less than clear sexual harassment, looking at the differences between plain workplace “incivility” and actual sexual harassment. Munson, et al. 2001 examines the very important issue of sexual harassment in the military and the critical impact of such harassment on female armed forces members.

Pregnancy Discrimination

With women increasingly a part of the workplace (as opposed to a century or so ago when women primarily worked in the home), pregnancy discrimination has become an increasingly important issue. In the United States, a formal Pregnancy Discrimination Act was enacted in 1978 specifically stating that the term “sex discrimination” clearly includes discrimination against employees on the basis of pregnancy. Hebl, et al. 2007 looks at the reactions toward both pregnant employees and pregnant store customers in an interesting field study. Heilman and Okimoto 2008 examined the important issue of what happens when “mothers” apply for job promotions to traditionally male positions.

  • Hebl, Michelle R., Eden B. King, Peter Glick, Sarah L. Singletary, and Stephanie Kazama. “Hostile and Benevolent Reactions Toward Pregnant Women: Complementary Interpersonal Punishments and Rewards That Maintain Traditional Roles.” Journal of Applied Psychology 92.6 (November 2007): 1499–1511.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.92.6.1499Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This field study investigating behavior toward pregnant women in nontraditional and traditional roles, as job applicants and as store customers, respectively. Store employees exhibited more hostile behavior toward pregnant (vs. nonpregnant) applicants and more benevolent behavior toward pregnant (vs. nonpregnant) customers.

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  • Heilman, Madeline E., and Tyler G. Okimoto. “Motherhood: A Potential Source of Bias in Employment Decisions.” Journal of Applied Psychology 93.1 (January 2008): 189–198.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.93.1.189Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses two studies in which job incumbents applying for promotions to traditionally male positions demonstrated bias against mothers in competence expectations and in screening recommendations.

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Sexual Orientation Discrimination

An increasing amount of management journal literature is available on the topic of sexual orientation discrimination. Such discrimination is frequently not illegal, although increasing numbers of jurisdictions, especially at the state/local levels, have been amending their laws to provide employees such protection. Creed, et al. 2002 looks at the role of gay employees in the workplace from a social identity perspective. Ragins and Cornwell 2001 studied perceived workplace sexual orientation discrimination using a sample of 534 gay/lesbian employees. Chuang, et al. 2011 investigates the important issue of same-sex partner health benefits from an organizational perspective. Ragins, et al. 2007 looks at stigma theory and the fear of disclosing a gay identity at work.

  • Chuang, You-Ta, Robin Church, and Ron Ophir. “Taking Sides: The Interactive Influences of Institutional Mechanisms on the Adoption of Same-Sex Partner Health Benefits by Fortune 500 Corporations, 1990–2003.” Organization Science 22.1 (January/February 2011): 190–209.

    DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1090.0521Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Investigates the interactive influences of institutional mechanisms—coercive, mimetic, and normative—on the diffusion of controversial and social stigmatized practice, same-sex partner health benefits, in Fortune 500 corporations. The article explores the diffusion of these benefits using data on cumulative adoptions by similar others, state laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation, and overall tenor in press coverage of the benefits.

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  • Creed, W. E. Douglas, Maureen A. Scully, and John R. Austin. “Clothes Make the Person? The Tailoring of Legitimating Accounts and the Social Construction of Identity.” Organization Science 13.5 (September/October 2002): 475–496.

    DOI: 10.1287/orsc.13.5.475.7814Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article exploring the legitimating accounts for and against policies precluding workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, focusing on how agents working at both the national level and within organizations use broader cultural accounts in building their legitimating accounts in local settings.

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  • Ragins, Belle Rose, and John M. Cornwell. “Pink Triangles: Antecedents and Consequences of Perceived Workplace Discrimination against Gay and Lesbian Employees.” Journal of Applied Psychology 86.6 (December 2001): 1244–1261.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.86.6.1244Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses a model in which perceived sexual orientation discrimination was tested in a national sample of 534 gay and lesbian employees.

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  • Ragins, Belle Rose, Romila Singh, and John M. Cornwell. “Making the Invisible Visible: Fear and Disclosure of Sexual Orientation at Work.” Journal of Applied Psychology 92.4 (July 2007): 1103–1118.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.92.4.1103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses the use of the stigma theory in a study done to examine the fears underlying the disclosure of a gay identity at work.

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Race Discrimination

Discrimination against others on the basic of their race/color and racial stereotyping have deep historical and other roots throughout the world. In many countries, the actual enslavement/slavery of given racial minorities was actually legal for many years. Race/color discrimination charges, as noted above, are typically the most prevalent ones brought to government agencies. The topic is well presented in the leading management journals, but (see Sex Discrimination/Gender Discrimination) its representation in this academic literature is considerably lower than that of sex discrimination (although “real-world” charges in the area far exceed those of sex discrimination). Powell and Butterfield 1997 looks at the impact of race on promotions to top management positions in a federal government department. Butterfield and Powell 2002 looks at the race/gender of decision makers in a government department and how that impacts actual promotions to top management. Stauffer and Buckley 2005 studies the important issue of potential racial bias in supervisory ratings of employees. Rotundo and Sackett 2000 studies the issue of rater race and supervisory ratings. Brief, et al. 2000 examines the topic of obedience to authority as a possible explanation for certain types of “modern racism.” Buckley, et al. 2007 conducts a field study of race and interviewing ratings. James 2000 examines differences on the job between black and white managers from a social capital/discrimination perspective. Goldsmith, et al. 2006 presents a fascinating economic study of skin tone/skin shade and workplace discrimination.

  • Brief, Arthur P., Joerg Dietz, Robin Reizenstein Cohen, S. Douglas Pugh, and Joel B. Vaslow. “Just Doing Business: Modern Racism and Obedience to Authority as Explanations for Employment Discrimination.” Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes 81.1 (January 2000): 72–97.

    DOI: 10.1006/obhd.1999.2867Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses the effects of prejudice in the form of modern racism and business justifications by authority figures to discriminate against minorities in hiring situations.

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  • Buckley, M. Ronald, Katherine A. Jackson, Mark C. Bolino, John G. Veres III, and Hubert S. Field. “The Influence of Relational Demography on Panel Interviewing Ratings: A Field Experiment.” Personnel Psychology 60.3 (Autumn 2007): 627–646.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2007.00086.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article discussing an examination of the influence of relational demography (assessor race, candidate race, and the racial composition of rating panels) in structured interview settings involving five four-person panels of all possible racial compositions. The panels rated participating police officers’ responses to a complex, structured interview question during a promotion process.

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  • Butterfield, D. Anthony, and Gary N. Powell. “Exploring the Influence of Decision Makers’ Race and Gender on Actual Promotions to Top Management.” Personnel Psychology 55.2 (Summer 2002): 397–428.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2002.tb00115.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article discussing a study of the effects of decision makers’ race and gender on promotion decisions involving applicants of diverse race and gender for top management positions in a cabinet-level US federal department.

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  • Goldsmith, Arthur H., Darrick Hamilton, and William Darity Jr. “Shades of Discrimination: Skin Tone and Wages.” American Economic Review 96.2 (May 2006): 242–245.

    DOI: 10.1257/000282806777212152Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article discussing a study that used data from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality, which includes data on skin shade for each respondent, to examine issues of race and inequality in the United States. The study looks at issues including whether skin tone differences among blacks continue to be an issue after the civil rights movement.

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  • James, Erika Hayes. “Race-Related Differences in Promotions and Support: Underlying Effects of Human and Social Capital.” Organization Science 11.5 (September/October 2000): 493–508.

    DOI: 10.1287/orsc.11.5.493.15202Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study deals with two alternative explanations for disparity in reported work-related experiences and outcomes between black and white managers, treatment discrimination because of race, and differences in human and social capital.

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  • Powell, Gary N., and D. Anthony Butterfield. “Effect of Race on Promotions to Top Management in a Federal Department.” Academy of Management Journal 40.1 (February 1997): 112–128.

    DOI: 10.2307/257022Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines how race affects promotion decisions for top management positions in governmental positions.

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  • Rotundo, Maria, and Paul R. Sackett. “Effect of Rater Race on Conclusions Regarding Differential Prediction in Cognitive Ability Tests.” Journal of Applied Psychology 84.5 (October 2000): 815–822.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.84.5.815Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article outlines research comparing ability–performance relationships in samples of black and white employees that allowed for between-subjects and within-subjects comparisons under two conditions: when all employees were rated by a white supervisor and when each employee was rated by a supervisor of the same race.

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  • Stauffer, Joseph M., and M. Ronald Buckley. “The Existence and Nature of Racial Bias in Supervisory Ratings.” Journal of Applied Psychology 90.3 (May 2005): 586–591.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.90.3.586Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines research on the mistaken belief that supervisory ratings of job performance are not biased on the basis of race.

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Age Discrimination

With medical and other advances, the world is facing an increasingly aging workforce. In the United States, workers aged forty and above are specifically statutorily protected against age discrimination in the workplace. Although to date the literature on this topic in the leading management journals has been fairly limited, it is a topic area likely to command greater attention in the future. Barnum, et al. 1995 looks at the interplay between race/sex discrimination and age discrimination. Perry, et al. 1996 looks at older worker stereotypes and different factors that inhibit/facilitate the use of such stereotypes. Avery, et al. 2006 studies employee expression and the aging workforce. Finkelstein, et al. 1995 creates simulated employment contexts and then analyzes age discrimination in these contexts.

  • Avery, Derek R., Patrick F. McKay, and David C. Wilson. “Engaging the Aging Workforce: The Relationship between Perceived Age Similarity, Satisfaction with Coworkers, and Employee Engagement.” Journal of Applied Psychology 92.6 (November 2006): 1542–1556.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.92.6.1542Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses a study that examines how individual or situational factors relate to engagement or meaningful employee expression.

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  • Barnum, Phyllis, Robert C. Liden, and Nancy Ditomaso. “Double Jeopardy for Women and Minorities: Pay Differences with Age.” Academy of Management Journal 38.3 (June 1995): 863–880.

    DOI: 10.2307/256749Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines the relation of age to pay rates for 197 Hispanic, black, and white nonmanagerial workers of both sexes. Disparity between the pay rates of women and minority group members, relative to white men, increased with age when organizational tenure, education, and skills were controlled.

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  • Finkelstein, Lisa M., Michael J. Burke, and Nambury S. Raju. “Age Discrimination in Simulated Employment Contexts: An Integrative Analysis.” Journal of Applied Psychology 80.6 (December 1995): 652–663.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.80.6.652Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article involves a study testing in-group bias, job information, salience, and job stereotype hypotheses regarding age discrimination in simulated employment settings. In general, it was found that younger raters tended to give less favorable ratings to older workers when they were not provided with job-relevant information about the workers and when they concurrently rated old and young workers.

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  • Perry, Elissa L., Carol T. Kulik, and Anne C. Bourhis. “Moderating Effects of Personal and Contextual Factors in Age Discrimination.” Journal of Applied Psychology 81.6 (December 1996): 628–647.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.81.6.628Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article presents research on the personal and contextual factors that inhibit or facilitate the use of older worker stereotypes in a selection context.

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Disability Discrimination

In recent years increasing attention has been paid to the issue of disability discrimination. In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act became law in 1990. Laws in this area are complex in that they not only prohibit “discrimination” but also generally mandate that disabled workers be “reasonably accommodated” on the job, as long as such accommodation (e.g., an alteration of typical work hours) does not cause the employer “undue hardship.” Thus, in a sense, these regulations can involve a sort of preferential treatment/affirmative action for disabled workers. Baldridge and Veiga 2001 examines the role of disability reasonable accommodation pursuant to the US Americans with Disabilities Act. Mobius and Rosenblat 2006 presents an experimental economic analysis of the impact of employee physical appearance in the workplace. Florey and Harrison 2000 looks at how managers respond when employees seek disability accommodations on the job from a psychological perspective. Colella 2001 examines the important issue of how other workers perceive the fairness of workplace accommodations received by fellow workers that have disabilities. Agerström and Rooth 2011 looks at obesity in the workplace and stereotypes surrounding the same.

  • Agerström, Jens, and Dan-Olof Rooth. “The Role of Automatic Obesity Stereotypes in Real Hiring Discrimination.” Journal of Applied Psychology 96.4 (July 2011): 790–805.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0021594Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article focusing on a study that examines whether automatic stereotypes captured by the implicit association test can predict real hiring discrimination against the obese.

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  • Baldridge, David C., and John F. Veiga. “Toward a Greater Understanding of the Willingness to Request an Accommodation: Can Requesters’ Beliefs Disable the Americans with Disabilities Act?” Academy of Management Review 26.1 (January 2001): 85–99.

    DOI: 10.5465/AMR.2001.4011956Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article focuses on factors influencing a reasonable accommodation requester’s likelihood of seeking an accommodation in the workplace.

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  • Colella, Adrienne. “Coworker Distributive Fairness Judgments of the Workplace Accommodation of Employees with Disabilities.” Academy of Management Review 26.1 (January 2001): 100–116.

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    This article discusses a model of when and how coworkers judge the distributive fairness of workplace accommodations of employees with disabilities.

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  • Florey, Anna T., and David A. Harrison. “Responses to Informal Accommodation Requests from Employees with Disabilities: Multistudy Evidence on Willingness to Comply.” Academy of Management Journal 43.2 (April 2000): 224–233.

    DOI: 10.2307/1556379Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The article explains how the authors developed and tested hypotheses outlining the psychological process involved when managers receive requests for accommodations from employees with disabilities.

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  • Mobius, Markus M., and Tanya S. Rosenblat. “Why Beauty Matters.” American Economic Review 96.1 (March 2006): 222–235.

    DOI: 10.1257/000282806776157515Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses a study conducted on the beauty premium in an experimental labor market in which “employers” determine wages of “workers” who perform a maze-solving task. The study finds that physically attractive workers are (wrongly) considered more able by employers.

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Religious Discrimination

Very little management academic literature is available on the topics of religious discrimination. Mentzer, et al. 2002 is one exception. That said, it is a very important topic, particularly in various places in the world where blatant differences in workplace treatment relate to one’s religious orientation.

  • Mentzer, Marc S., Gary R. Weaver, and Bradley Agle. “Religiosity and Ethical Behavior in Organizations: A Symbolic Interactionist Perspective.” Academy of Management Review 27 (October 2002): 77–97.

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    The authors investigate the impact of religious beliefs on the workplace, specifically focusing on ethical behavior in the workplace in regard to religion.

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International Discrimination

Relatively little literature discusses the challenges that international employers face in different types of equal employment opportunity regulations/laws throughout the world. Posthuma, et al. 2006, however, represents one important exception to this rule.

  • Posthuma, Richard A., Mark V. Roehling, and Michael A. Campion. “Applying U.S. Employment Discrimination Laws to International Employers: Advice for Scientists and Practitioners.” Personnel Psychology 59.3 (Autumn 2006): 705–739.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2006.00051.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article providing guidance to assist employers on which US employment discrimination laws apply to certain international employers. Guidelines are provided to lead employers through the various decisions that must be made to determine whether US discrimination laws apply in a wide range of international employment situations.

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Ethnic/National Origin Discrimination

A much larger, and somewhat related, academic literature has developed with respect to ethnic/national origin discrimination. Government agencies have also been receiving increasing numbers of charges in this area (over 10 percent of the charges brought to the EEOC in the United States deal with this topic). Of particular concern in the United States and elsewhere after the 9/11 bombings has been employment discrimination against Muslims and others with Middle Eastern backgrounds. Yates, et al. 1998 studied cross-cultural impacts on the issue of “overconfidence.” Purkiss, et al. 2006 looks at the issue of ethnic/national origin biases in job interviews. Schneider, et al. 2000 studied ethnic slurs/jokes and other kinds of ethnic harassment on the job. Sanchez and Brock 1996 looks at workplace perceived discrimination against Hispanic workers. King and Ahmad 2010 conducted an experimental study regarding discrimination against Muslim employees.

  • King, Eden B., and Afra S. Ahmad, “An Experimental Field Study of Interpersonal Discrimination toward Muslim Job Applicants.” Personnel Psychology 63.4 (Winter 2010): 881–906.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2010.01199.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Research study conducted that examines religious discrimination, specifically Muslim, in employment settings. Concludes that stereotype content models are complementary indicating that Muslims may face challenges to employment that reflect a lack of acceptance of this religious identity.

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  • Purkiss, Segrest, L. Sharon, Pamela L. Perrewe, Treena L. Gillespie, Bronstron T. Mayes, and Gerald R. Ferris. “Implicit Sources of Bias in Employment Interview Judgments and Decisions.” Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes 101.2 (November 2006): 152–167.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2006.06.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examines implicit sources of bias in employment interview judgments and decisions. The study examines accent and name as sources of bias that may trigger prejudicial attitudes and decisions.

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  • Sanchez, Juan I., and Petra Brock. “Outcomes of Perceived Discrimination among Hispanic Employees: Is Diversity Management a Luxury or a Necessity?” Academy of Management Journal 39.3 (June 1996): 704–719.

    DOI: 10.2307/256660Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article defining the perceived discrimination of Hispanics and its influence on employee outcomes outside of other work stressors.

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  • Schneider, Kimberly T., Robert T. Hiltan, and Phanikiran Radhakrishnan. “An Examination of the Nature and Correlates of Ethnic Harassment Experiences in Multiple Contexts.” Journal of Applied Psychology 85.1 (February 2000): 3–12.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.85.1.3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, the authors examine the nature and correlates of ethnic harassment experiences in four predominantly Hispanic samples of working men and women using a newly developed scale. It was found that most experiences of ethnic harassment in the workplace during the study included verbal ethnic harassment such as ethnic slurs, derogatory ethnic comments, or ethnic jokes.

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  • Yates, J. Frank, Ju-Whei Lee, Hiromi Shinotsuka, Andrea L. Patalano, and Winston R. Sieck. “Cross-Cultural Variations in Probability Judgment Accuracy: Beyond General Knowledge Overconfidence?” Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes 74.2 (May 1998): 89–117.

    DOI: 10.1006/obhd.1998.2771Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article summarizing a study that sought to determine whether cross-cultural variations in overconfidence extend to judgments about the kinds of events that bear upon practical decisions and to aspects of accuracy other than overconfidence.

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Affirmative Action

The topic of “equal employment opportunity” is in many ways quite complex. In addition to prohibiting discrimination against certain groups/people, it also, in certain circumstances, actually involves giving preferences to certain groups/people. The term “affirmative action” encompasses this latter phenomenon. Government regulations, for example, may mandate that certain groups (e.g., veterans and those with disabilities) receive preferences with respect to job hiring or perhaps even promotions. One possible repercussion of such practices, though, is that other groups/individuals may feel some degree of resentment toward those receiving preferential treatment. For these and other reasons, it is thus a fascinating topic for academic exploration and one commanding increasing coverage in the leading management academic journals. Harrison, et al. 2006 conducted a meta-analysis with respect to understanding attitudes toward affirmative action programs over multiple decades. Heilman, et al. 1996 studied how males may view affirmative action benefits given females. Evans 2003 looks at the important issue of stigmatization and affirmative action. Unzueta, et al. 2008 investigates the impact of affirmative action quotas and white male self-esteem. Heilman, et al. 1997 studied the issue of stigma and competence with respect to affirmative action. Smith 1993 presents an economic analysis of wage stagnation and affirmative action. Rodgers and Spriggs 1996 presents an economic analysis of how federal government contractors treat African American employees pursuant to federal government affirmative action mandates.

  • Evans, David C. “A Comparison of the Other-Directed Stigmatization Produced by Legal and Illegal Forms of Affirmative Action.” Journal of Applied Psychology 88.1 (February 2003): 121–130.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.88.1.121Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, the author examines whether the stigmatization of African Americans would differ under hiring policies that represented legal and illegal levels of racial preference according to federal regulations.

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  • Harrison, David A., David A. Kravitz, David M. Mayer, Lisa M. Leslie, and Dalit Lev-Arey. “Understanding Attitudes Toward Affirmative Action Programs in Employment: Summary and Meta-Analysis of 35 Years of Research.” Journal of Applied Psychology 91.5 (September 2006): 1013–1036.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.91.5.1013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors summarize and estimate relationships of affirmative action program attitudes with structural features of such programs, perceiver demographic and psychological characteristics, interactions of structural features with perceiver characteristics, and presentation of affirmative action program details to perceivers.

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  • Heilman, Madeline E., Caryn J. Block, and Peter Stathatos. “The Affirmative Action Stigma of Incompetence: Effects of Performance Information Ambiguity.” Academy of Management Journal 40.3 (June 1997): 603–625.

    DOI: 10.2307/257055Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article focuses on a study involving male and female managers who reviewed information about the job performance of a person portrayed as either a man or a woman and, if a woman, whether she was an affirmative action hire.

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  • Heilman, Madeline E., Winston F. McCullough, and David Gilbert. “The Other Side of Affirmative Action: Reactions of Nonbeneficiaries to Sex-Based Preferential Selection.” Journal of Applied Psychology 81.4 (August 1996): 346–357.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.81.4.346Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article focusing on a study of 162 male undergraduates in an experiment designed to investigate how the experience of unfair treatment affects the reactions of nonbeneficiaries of sex-based preferential selection in terms of responses to the work task, characterizations of the woman beneficiary, and prosocial orientation to the work setting.

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  • James, Erika Hayes, Joerg Dietz, Arthur P. Brief, and Robin R. Cohen. “Prejudice Matters: Understanding the Reactions of Whites to Affirmative Action Programs Targeted to Benefit Blacks.” Journal of Applied Psychology 86.6 (December 2001): 1120–1128.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.86.6.1120Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article focuses on two studies in which the effects of equal employment opportunity/affirmative action policies on whites’ job-related attitudes were examined.

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  • Rodgers, William M., III, and William E. Spriggs. “The Effect of Federal Contractor Status on Racial Differences in Establishment-Level Employment.” American Economic Review 86.2 (May 1996): 290–293.

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    Article discussing research by economists who found that employers’ treatment of African Americans is different from their treatment of other workers in the United States.

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  • Smith, James P. “Affirmative Action and the Racial Wage Gap.” American Economic Review 83.2 (May 1993): 79–84.

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    This article attempts to identify reasons for wage stagnation among males of different races. The article also addresses affirmative action policies related to this stagnation.

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  • Unzueta, Miguel M., Brian S. Lowery, and Eric D. Knowles. “How Believing in Affirmative Action Quotas Protects White Men’s Self-Esteem.” Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes 105.1 (January 2008): 1–13.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2007.05.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Studies examining evidence that quota beliefs protect white men’s self-esteem by boosting their sense of self-competence. Studies 2 and 3 involve the belief in and use of affirmative action quotas.

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