OPEN PloS one | 15 Jan 2014
S Gündemir, AC Homan, CK de Dreu and M van Vugt
Across four studies, we found evidence for an implicit pro-White leadership bias that helps explain the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in leadership positions. Both White-majority and ethnic minority participants reacted significantly faster when ethnically White names and leadership roles (e.g., manager; Study 1) or leadership traits (e.g., decisiveness; Study 2 & 3) were paired in an Implicit Association Test (IAT) rather than when ethnic minority names and leadership traits were paired. Moreover, the implicit pro-White leadership bias showed discriminant validity with the conventional implicit bias measures (Study 3). Importantly, results showed that the pro-White leadership bias can be weakened when situational cues increase the salience of a dual identity (Study 4). This, in turn, can diminish the explicit pro-White bias in promotion related decision making processes (Study 4). This research offers a new tool to measure the implicit psychological processes underlying the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in leadership positions and proposes interventions to weaken such biases.
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