Stereotype Threat at Work (Strategies for reducing stereotype threat…
Stereotype Threat at Work
Definition: "the psychological experience of a person who, while engaged in a task, is aware of a stereotype about his or her identity group suggesting that he or she will not perform well on that task." (p.26)
Been documented in a large number of groups across wide diversity range
Not only applies to disadvantaged groups
Results are based on comparison to other groups
First test on stereotype threat asked students to take a test
Instructions were difficult for each random group
Results: White students performed about equally well regardless of the description of the test. Black students did worse under "ability test" condition compared to "problem-solving" condition
Conditions for stereotype threat
"Occurs when doing well on the task requires an ability on which, according to the stereotype, the person performing the task is a direct "test" of the stereotyped ability."
Easier tasks show less stereotype threat.
Personal task investment
Defined: How important a task is to an individual's self-esteem and identity
Those heavily invested in a task are more "negatively affected by stereotype threat"
Most important condition for stereotype threat: stereotype relevance
Three conditions that highlight stereotype threat:
Difficult, stereotype relevant task
Context reinforces stereotype
Strategies for reducing stereotype threat
Provide task strategy
Create a successful strategy
Reduce stereotype relevance
Provide alternative explanation for task difficulty
Remove people from token situations
Boost role model visibility
Two implications for Diversity Mgmt
Acknowledge Stereotypes. Address directly
Be explicit and open to discussion
Shift focus from mgr to environment
Environment is target of change. Mgrs focus on environment to reduce stereotype threat.