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Stereotypes about different groups persist in organizations. Employees from such groups may experience stereotype threat, or the concern that they are being judged on the basis of demeaning stereotypes about groups to which they belong. The goal of this focal article is to discuss whether stereotype threat is a useful construct for organizational psychology research and practice. To this end, we focus on consequences other than acute performance deficits in laboratory settings. In particular, we examine studies that highlight the effects of stereotype threat on intrapersonal outcomes (e.g., job attitudes), interpersonal outcomes (e.g., negotiation), and on the relationship between employees and their organization. The research reviewed suggests that stereotype threat is a potentially important phenomenon in organizations, but it also highlights the paucity of research in an organizational context. We provide suggestions for future research directions as well as for the prevention and amelioration of stereotype threat in the workplace.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology,7(2014), 381– 402.
Copyright © 2014 Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 1754-9426/14
Is Stereotype Threat a Useful Construct
for Organizational Psychology Research
and Practice?
The University of Queensland
Stereotypes about different groups persist in organizations. Employees from such groups may experience
stereotype threat, or the concern that they are being judged on the basis of demeaning stereotypes about
groups to which they belong. The goal of this focal article is to discuss whether stereotype threat is a useful
construct for organizational psychology research and practice. To this end, we focus on consequences other than
acute performance deficits in laboratory settings. In particular, we examine studies that highlight the effects of
stereotype threat on intrapersonal outcomes (e.g., job attitudes), interpersonal outcomes (e.g., negotiation), and
on the relationship between employees and their organization. The research reviewed suggests that stereotype
threat is a potentially important phenomenon in organizations, but it also highlights the paucity of research in an
organizational context. We provide suggestions for future research directions as well as for the prevention and
amelioration of stereotype threat in the workplace.
Stereotype threat is the concern of con-
firming or being reduced to a negative
stereotype about one’s group (Steele, 1997;
Steele & Aronson, 1995; Steele, Spencer, &
Aronson, 2002). Over the past 2 decades,
hundreds of laboratory studies have demon-
strated that stereotype threat results in
performance deficits when people attempt
to perform difficult tasks in domains in
which they are negatively stereotyped (for a
meta-analysis, see Nguyen & Ryan, 2008).
For example, when women are reminded of
the stereotype that men are better in math,
they perform considerably worse on a dif-
ficult math test compared to women who
do not receive this reminder (Gresky, Eyck,
Lord, & McIntyre, 2005). Although stereo-
type threat research began with a focus on
Correspondence concerning this article should be
addressed to Courtney von Hippel.
Address: School of Psychology, The University of
Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
We thank Carol Kulik and Paul Sackett for their
helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.
academic tasks, the performance-impairing
effects of stereotype threat have been
replicated across numerous populations
and tasks. For example, White men’s ath-
letic ability (J. Stone, Lynch, Sjomeling, &
Darley, 1999), poor people’s language skills
(Croizet & Claire, 1998), older adults’ mem-
ory (Hess, Auman, Colcombe, & Rahhal,
2003), and women’s driving (Yeung & von
Hippel, 2008) all suffer when they are
reminded about the stereotypes of their
group in these domains.
Despite the vast array of studies demon-
strating performance decrements brought
about by stereotype threat in laboratory
settings, very little research has exam-
ined the antecedents and consequences of
stereotype threat outside the laboratory, par-
ticularly in organizational settings. Indeed,
the field of industrialorganizational (I– O)
psychology has been rather inattentive to
the topic of stereotype threat (for a notable
exception, see Roberson & Kulik, 2007).
One exception to the general dearth of
382 E.K. Kalokerinos, C. von Hippel, and H. Zacher
applied research on stereotype threat is
the debate among personnel selection
researchers on the role of stereotype threat
in high-stakes workplace selection and
higher education admission contexts (Sack-
ett, 2003; Sackett & Ryan, 2012; see also
Sackett, Borneman, & Connelly, 2008;
Sackett & Lievens, 2008; Sackett, Schmitt,
Ellingson, & Kabin, 2001). Specifically,
Sackett and colleagues have argued that
the performance deficits associated with
stereotype threat are less relevant in these
situations because applicants are highly
motivated and incentives exist to do well
(Cullen, Hardison, & Sackett, 2004; Cullen,
Waters, & Sackett, 2006; Sackett, 2003;
Sackett et al., 2001). Consistent with this
argument, a number of papers have failed
to provide evidence for stereotype threat
effects in personnel selection simulations
where participants were either focused
on obtaining a desirable job, gaining a
financial reward, or both (Mayer & Hanges,
2003; McFarland, Lev-Arey, & Ziegert,
2003; Nguyen, O’Neal, & Ryan, 2003;
Ployhart, Ziegert, & McFarland, 2003).
Sackett (2003) suggested that these null
effects demonstrate that studies involving
more “life-like” elements direct attentional
resources away from concerns about racial
stereotyping and toward test performance,
thus eliminating the impact of stereotype
threat. However, the jury is still out with
regard to the impact of stereotype threat in
high-stakes testing. For instance, Steele and
Davies (2003) and Aronson and Dee (2011)
have catalogued a variety of reasons why
these null findings may be flawed.
Sackett and colleagues also noted that
researchers and the popular media have
often misinterpreted Steele and Aronson’s
(1995) seminal stereotype threat study.
In Steele and Aronson’s (1995) research,
African American participants showed
performance decrements compared to
White participants in the stereotype threat
condition, after controlling for prior differ-
ences in SAT performance. In the control
condition there were no performance
differences between African Americans
and White participants after controlling
for these prior performance differences.
Media outlets and researchers often mis-
interpreted these results as suggesting that
eliminating stereotype threat would fully
close the test performance gap between
African Americans and Whites, ignoring
the fact that Steele and Aronson (1995) had
already accounted for much of the existing
performance gap by controlling for prior dif-
ferences in SAT scores (Sackett, Hardison, &
Cullen, 2004; Sackett et al., 2001). What
the study actually demonstrated was that
stereotype threat had an independent effect
above and beyond what would be expected
based on prior SAT score differences.
Despite these various points of con-
tention highlighted by Sackett and
colleagues, they have noted that stereotype
threat may have important and independent
effects on test performance. Nevertheless it
seems these debates have caused many I–O
psychologists to view stereotype threat as a
phenomenon that is confined to laboratory
settings and diverted their attention from
the possibility that stereotype threat may
lead to other important outcomes in organi-
zations. For instance, stereotype threat may
result in unfavorable job attitudes, disiden-
tification at work, altered decision making,
and lowered career aspirations. Given these
wide-ranging consequences of stereotype
threat, the time appears ripe to examine
whether stereotype threat is a useful con-
struct in organizations. The dual aims of
this focal article are to stimulate discussion
about the relevance of stereotype threat
in organizational settings and to highlight
future research directions that could help
determine its organizational significance.
In service of these goals, we focus primarily
on potential employee outcomes other
than immediate performance decrements
and on organizational situations other than
high-stakes personnel selection.
The remainder of this article unfolds as
follows. First, we provide a more detailed
discussion of stereotype threat. Next, we
explore the relevance of stereotype threat
for organizations by identifying the
ways that stereotype threat may impact
Stereotype threat 383
employees. Given these potential conse-
quences of stereotype threat, we then turn
to the question of what factors can cause
stereotype threat in an organizational set-
ting. We end by highlighting the need for
further research that investigates stereotype
threat in applied settings and by urging
practitioners to consider the potential dele-
terious consequences of stereotype threat.
What Exactly Is Stereotype Threat?
Every job involves being judged by other
people, yet employees from negatively
stereotyped groups have the added concern
of being judged on the basis of their group
membership (Roberson & Kulik, 2007).
Stereotype threat is the concern that others
are evaluating you through the lens of
negative group-based stereotypes (Steele,
1997). Importantly, it is not necessary to
actually be stereotyped by others to expe-
rience stereotype threat nor must people
believe the stereotype about their group
or themselves is true. Rather, people need
only worry that they may be stereotyped for
stereotype threat effects to emerge. Con-
sider, for example, the ways that employees
in our research described incidents that
triggered stereotype threat:
I had a big disagreement with my boss
and he upset me so much I left and had
a bit of a cry. I felt weak and girly. I think
he thought of me as a weak woman at the
time, and it was distressing for me,
Because I am now older than many of our
clients, I get the impression it is felt that I
no longer am “in touch” with the clients,
despite the fact my specialist knowledge
means I have a good understanding of my
area. Because my organisation is “inno-
vative,” “cutting edge” and encouraging
of new ideas, it is sometimes assumed
anyone over 40 won’t have any ideas
worth listening to. Or am I just old and
paranoid and idealess?
In neither of these cases is it clear that
the subjective experiences these employ-
ees described reflect actual stereotyping
on the part of their colleagues. Rather, it
is their concern of being stereotyped that
constitutes stereotype threat (nevertheless,
being treated in a stereotypic fashion by col-
leagues does increase the likelihood that
people will experience stereotype threat;
Logel et al., 2009).
It is also important to note that the
accuracy of the stereotype is irrelevant
to whether people experience stereotype
threat. For example, a common stereotype
is that men are better than woman at math,
and this stereotype is matched by data that
show men outperforming women on the
math component of the SAT over the past
40 years (College Board, 2012). Although
these data suggest the stereotype is accu-
rate on average, the data also show that
the performance distributions of men and
women overlap to a substantial degree,
meaning that any individual woman might
be better at math than any individual man.
As a consequence, even if she is talented
at math, a woman might still be susceptible
to stereotype threat. She may worry about
being negatively evaluated in math based
on her group membership (i.e., experience
stereotype threat), and as a result, her per-
formance could suffer. Indeed, it seems it
is these exceptionally talented individuals
who are most susceptible to stereotype
threat (Steele, 1997).
This description of stereotype threat does
not speak to whether stereotype threat is an
acute or a more chronic state. The majority
of research on stereotype threat treats it as
an acute state. Stereotype threat is typically
manipulated in the laboratory by reminding
participants about the underperformance
of a particular disadvantaged group (e.g.,
Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999) or by
reminding participants of their member-
ship in a stereotyped group prior to the
administration of a difficult test (e.g., Steele
& Aronson, 1995). With manipulations
such as these, it is the acute reminder of
participants’ group membership and the
associated stereotypes that lead to stereo-
type threat. For example, in a classic study
by Shih, Pittinsky, and Ambady (1999)
Asian-American women were asked to take
384 E.K. Kalokerinos, C. von Hippel, and H. Zacher
a difficult math test after indicating either
their gender or their ethnicity. Shih et al.
found that their participants performed
worse on a math test if their female identity
was made accessible than if their Asian
identity was made accessible prior to the
test. This research suggests that it is the
acute reminder of stereotyped group mem-
bership that drives stereotype threat and
subsequent performance deficits. Research
in the workplace has also shown acute
effects of stereotype threat when female
accountants were reminded of the low
percentage of female partners in their
firm (von Hippel, Walsh, & Zouroudis,
2011). Data such as these provide evidence
that stereotype threat can be induced by
reminders that people are likely to be the
targets of demeaning stereotypes, but they
do not indicate how transitory the feelings
of stereotype threat are. Further research
is needed to determine whether these
acute manipulations induce lasting or only
fleeting experiences of stereotype threat.
Although the laboratory approach to
stereotype threat has largely treated it as
an acute state, it seems likely that stereo-
type threat can become a chronic state as
well. Many workplaces are replete with
reminders that certain groups are devalued,
such as a small proportion of minorities or
women in the upper echelons of the organi-
zation. Workplaces that contain many such
cues are likely to lead to chronic feelings
of stereotype threat for employees who
belong to devalued or minority groups.
Under situations such as these, employees
may experience stereotype threat from the
moment they walk in the office door each
morning until they leave at the end of the
day. The end result would be the stringing
together of a series of acute experiences
into a chronic state.
Measurement of stereotype threat in
organizations has tacitly endorsed such
a possibility, with items such as, “Some
of my colleagues feel I’m not as commit-
ted because of my age (gender),” that are
intended to tap relatively chronic or at least
recurrent feelings of stereotype threat in the
workplace (e.g., von Hippel, Kalokerinos, &
Henry, 2013). Thus, although it may be rel-
atively uncommon for employees to be
confronted with the type of statements
used in laboratory manipulations (e.g.,
“thank you for completing this test trying
to understand why women do not perform
as well as men”), there are likely to be
subtle and frequent reminders in some
workplaces that create a chronic state of
stereotype threat for members of certain
groups. It is also likely, however, that this
awareness will fluctuate within people and
over time, so that in any given moment
people can experience a greater or lesser
degree of stereotype threat. It is the average
experience of stereotype threat over time
that constitutes a person’s chronic level of
stereotype threat.
Consequences of Stereotype
Threat at Work
In the original theoretical description of
stereotype threat, Steele (1997) described
two types of consequences. First, he pro-
posed that acute experiences of stereotype
threat would lead to performance deficits.
This consequence is now well docu-
mented in the laboratory, but further work
is necessary to establish its relevance in
the field. In contrast, the other conse-
quence proposed by Steele has received
much less attention. Specifically, Steele
(1997) also suggested that chronic experi-
ences of stereotype threat should lead to
disidentification or disengagement from
the stereotyped domain over time. This
possibility is of great potential importance
for organizations, as disengagement from
work is associated with a variety of negative
job attitudes, such as lower job satisfaction
and commitment (Riketta, 2008). Disen-
gagement is also associated with increased
turnover (Harter, Schmidt, & Hayes, 2002),
and thus it is possible that employees might
leave organizations in which they experi-
ence stereotype threat. Although there is
limited research examining the effects of
stereotype threat on these organizational
outcomes, the studies that do exist provide
results consistent with Steele’s theorizing.
Stereotype threat 385
In the following sections, we discuss the
consequences of stereotype threat for intra-
and interpersonal work outcomes as well
as for employees’ relationship with their
employer and provide suggestions for future
Intrapersonal Effects
Job attitudes. Two lines of research have
examined the relationship between stereo-
type threat and job attitudes. First, although
numerous reviews have demonstrated
that age is generally unrelated to job per-
formance (e.g., Ng & Feldman, 2008),
there are nevertheless “persistent negative
perceptions” of older workers (Ostroff &
Atwater, 2003, p. 729). Not only are older
workers perceived to be less productive
than their younger counterparts, they are
also perceived to be less flexible, with
reduced physical and mental capacities,
and reduced willingness to learn new
technologies (Van Dalen, Henkens, &
Schippers, 2010). Beliefs such as these
suggest that older workers are likely to
experience stereotype threat in the work-
place. In a recent test of this possibility
(von Hippel et al., 2013), the relationship
between stereotype threat and job attitudes
was assessed among employees aged 50
and above in Australia and the United
States. Across three diverse samples (i.e.,
traditional office environment, law enforce-
ment, and a general Internet survey) older
employees’ chronic feelings of stereotype
threat were negatively related to job sat-
isfaction and organizational commitment.
These job attitudes, in turn, were related
to an increased interest in resigning and
possibly retiring.
Young adults might also feel age-based
stereotype threat in the workplace, as
younger workers are often perceived to be
less reliable, less committed to the organi-
zation, and less socially skilled (Van Dalen
et al., 2010). Yet young workers are also
expected to climb the career ladder over the
course of their career, and thus youth and
inexperience naturally diminish with time,
whereas age and encroaching retirement do
not. Thus, although younger adults might
feel stereotyped about their youth and
inexperience, they know this problem is
surmountable and that they are also judged
as having a great deal of potential. In sup-
port of this possibility, von Hippel et al.
(2013) also found that younger workers’
(age under 30) chronic feelings of stereotype
threat were unrelated to their job satisfac-
tion, commitment, or intentions to quit.
Secondly, stereotype threat may also
be an explanation for why stereotypes
concerning women can impact their abil-
ity to succeed in male-dominated fields
(Roberson & Kulik, 2007). For example,
women are less preferred as potential hires
in traditionally masculine domains, are
presented with fewer progression oppor-
tunities, and continue to earn less than
their male counterparts in top executive
roles (Catalyst, 2005; Steinpreis, Anders, &
Ritzke, 1999). Similar to research with
older workers, women working in the
legal profession who experienced chronic
stereotype threat in the workplace had
more negative job attitudes and indicated
increased intentions to quit their jobs (von
Hippel, Issa, Ma, & Stokes, 2011).
These studies provide preliminary evi-
dence that the chronic experience of
stereotype threat is associated with unfa-
vorable job attitudes among women in
male-dominated fields and older adults in
the workplace. A limitation of these studies
is that they are based on cross-sectional
data. To better establish causality, future
research should use longitudinal or exper-
imental designs to examine the effects of
stereotype threat on job attitudes. Longi-
tudinal research will also be essential in
understanding how experiences of stereo-
type threat develop and change across
time and across different positions and
organizational contexts. Such research will
be particularly important in understanding
the developmental trajectory of age-based
stereotype threat at work. Using longitu-
dinal designs, research can establish at
what point in workers’ careers they become
sensitive to age stereotypes, how that tim-
ing interacts with the type of position the
386 E.K. Kalokerinos, C. von Hippel, and H. Zacher
workers hold, and when the relationship
between stereotype threat and negative job
attitudes develops.
Professional identities. As noted earlier,
stereotype threat is thought to lead to
disidentification from domains in which
people feel stereotyped (Steele, 1997). In
contrast to the sense of engagement that
arises when employees feel psychologically
safe and secure at work (Kahn, 1990),
employees who feel threatened at work by
negative stereotypes are likely to disengage.
Although such disengagement may be ego
protective in the short term, it typically
comes at a long-term cost because it is
associated with reduced motivation and
performance (Major & Schmader, 1998).
One form of disengagement that may
emerge is related to employees’ pro-
fessional identities, as employees who
perceive that their job requires charac-
teristics that are inconsistent with their
social identity may feel a need to separate
their work self from their true self. For
example, at work a senior manager might
consider herself analytical, independent,
and assertive, as these traits are associated
with managerial success even though these
are stereotypically masculine. When not at
work, this same manager might consider
herself gentle, warm, and tender— traits that
are stereotypically feminine. This identity
separation may be psychologically advanta-
geous, as differentiating between “female”
and “work” selves can help women empha-
size their role as skilled employees in an
organization even when such skills are
counterstereotypic for women. Yet there are
also negative mental health consequences
for people who feel that their true identity
cannot be expressed while enacting another
identity (Settles, 2004; Settles, Sellers, &
Damas, 2002), and thus identity separation
might be potentially problematic for female
Research among female lawyers,
accountants, and managers demonstrates
that both acute and chronic stereotype
threat lead women to separate their female
identity from their work identity (von
Hippel, Issa, et al., 2011; von Hippel,
Walsh, et al., 2011). For example, women
who experienced stereotype threat felt that
their work self and feminine self were in
conflict, and reported that they had to
switch back and forth between these two
selves while at work. These data suggest that
some of the psychological costs that women
encounter due to experiencing stereotype
threat at work are associated with feelings
of interference between different aspects
of their identity and the need to separate
these components from one another. Fur-
thermore, to the degree that women experi-
enced the need to separate their identities,
they also experienced negative job atti-
tudes (von Hippel, Issa, et al., 2011). Thus,
although it might not seem very important to
suppress some aspects of the self in service
of others when at work, the data suggest that
the chronic demand to do so may be costly.
Indeed, other research has demonstrated
that female science students who experi-
enced interference between their female
and science identities reported greater
depression and lower life satisfaction and
self-esteem than women who did not
experience this interference (Settles, 2004).
In summary, some studies in work set-
tings have already demonstrated that both
acute and chronic stereotype threat can
lead to altered professional identities.
These changes may constitute a pathway
that explains negative effects of stereo-
type threat on outcomes such as career
satisfaction or work performance. Never-
theless, additional research is needed to
gain a better understanding of the links
between stereotype threat and changes
in professional identities. Future research
could identify the conditions under which
identity separation induced by stereotype
threat has long-term negative versus pos-
itive consequences. For example, identity
separation may be relatively beneficial for
employees who generally disidentify with
their occupation or organization but are
dependent on their job to have an income.
In addition, some employees typically iden-
tify with just a few of their social groups
whereas others feel that many of their group
Stereotype threat 387
memberships are important. It would be
useful to know whether the number of
social groups that employees belong to
and the relative importance of different
groups for their overarching social identity
influence the effects of stereotype threat on
work outcomes. In this vein, future research
could also examine whether identifying
more strongly with a nonstereotyped group
at work may be protective against identity
separation. Recall that Asian-American
women performed better in mathematics
when their Asian-American identity was
activated than when their female iden-
tity was activated (Shih et al., 1999). This
research suggests that shifting identification
from a negatively stereotyped group to a
positively stereotyped group may prove an
effective strategy for people who experi-
ence stereotype threat at work based on
some of their social identities, but this idea
is yet to be tested.
Career aspirations and leadership. Dis-
engagement may also be manifested in
diminished career aspirations among
employees from disadvantaged groups who
experience stereotype threat. When people
experience stereotype threat they are likely
to feel that they have reduced prospects
in the threatened domain (Steele, 1997).
To persist in the face of challenges, people
must believe they possess the abilities to
achieve (Bandura, 1997). Yet individual
ability is often not enough, as people must
also believe they have the resources and
opportunities to succeed (Steele, 1997).
Employees who feel diminished prospects
in the organization (e.g., reduced career
advancement opportunities) may show con-
comitant decreases in their motivation to
achieve (e.g., lowered career aspirations).
Given the existing “think manager—
think male” stereotype (Koenig, Eagly,
Mitchell, & Ristikari, 2011), the potential
consequences of stereotype threat may
be particularly relevant in the domain of
leadership. If stereotype threat results in
diminished leadership aspirations among
women, it may be a contributing factor
to the underrepresentation of women in
high-ranking leadership roles. Several
laboratory studies have examined the
effects of acute stereotype threat on leader-
ship identification and aspirations, although
there is little research conducted in an orga-
nizational context. For example, invoking
acute stereotype threat by exposing female
university students to threatening gender
stereotypes led them to avoid leadership
roles (Davies, Spencer, & Steele, 2005).
Encouragingly, this effect was eliminated by
informing participants that the leadership
task they were to undertake does not show
gender differences. It seems that creating an
“identity safe” environment allows women
to maintain their leadership aspirations
even in the face of stereotype threat. How
organizations might foster such an environ-
ment is a topic to which we return later in
this article.
Interestingly, not all women find stereo-
type threat equally unnervinghigh self-
efficacy can buffer women against the per-
nicious effects of stereotype threat. Women
who had greater leadership self-efficacy
increased their identification with leader-
ship after an event eliciting stereotype
threat. More efficacious women also
performed better on a simulated hiring
committee and reported greater levels of
well-being after exposure to acute stereo-
type threat compared to women lower in
leadership efficacy (Hoyt, 2005; Hoyt &
Blascovich, 2007, 2010). These findings
indicate that stereotype threat can also
cause some people to redouble their efforts.
Nevertheless, there appear to be impor-
tant boundary conditions to these positive
responses to stereotype threat. For example,
women who were exposed to either acute
stereotype threat or solo status (i.e., being
the only member of one’s social group in
a particular setting or position) reported
greater leadership efficacy and performed
better on a leadership task. But women who
were exposed to both stereotype threat and
solo status reported lower leadership effi-
cacy and performed more poorly on the
leadership task (Hoyt, Johnson, Murphy, &
Skinnell, 2010). Given the paucity of female
leaders, it is likely that many women in
388 E.K. Kalokerinos, C. von Hippel, and H. Zacher
leadership positions fall into this latter cat-
egory of being simultaneously exposed to
threatening negative stereotypes and being
the only female leader in the group.
Stereotype threat has been shown to
have a similar impact on entrepreneurial
intentions. Entrepreneurship is a male-
dominated field, with nearly twice as many
men as women becoming entrepreneurs
(Acs, Arenius, Hay, & Minniti, 2004).
Stereotypes about entrepreneurs are con-
sistent with traditionally “masculine” traits:
Entrepreneurs are viewed as assertive,
achievement-oriented, confident, and high
in risk taking in social and organizational
contexts (Baron, Markman, & Hirsa, 2001).
Hence, it is unsurprising that exposure to a
news article designed to elicit acute stereo-
type threat led to a significant decrease in
entrepreneurial intentions among female
business students (Gupta & Bhawe, 2007).
These studies do not speak directly to
the impact of stereotype threat on the
career aspirations of those who are already
entrenched in their career, however. Across
two different samples of women in the legal
profession, experiences of chronic stereo-
type threat did not impact career aspirations
but were related to lowered confidence
among women that they would ultimately
reach their career goals (von Hippel, Issa,
et al., 2011). This finding is consistent
with laboratory-based research showing
that acute stereotype threat diminishes
self-confidence (Stangor, Carr, & Kiang,
1998) and increases self-doubt (Steele &
Aronson, 1995). Diminished expectan-
cies of reaching one’s career aspirations
can have considerable consequences for
employees, as lowered expectations have
been found to undermine performance by
reducing motivation and effort (Schmitt,
Gielnik, Zacher, & Klemann, 2013). If
women’s effort and motivation dimin-
ish, it may cause other employees to feel
more confident in their original stereotypic
assessment about women and their drive
to succeed. In this manner, a self-fulfilling
prophecy can develop into a downward
spiral of behavior, interpretation, and
In summary, although stereotype threat
may lead to lowered career aspirations
under certain conditions, some women
who experience stereotype threat are more
motivated to pursue their careers. These
inconsistent results may be due to dif-
ferences in the types of samples used to
test these hypotheses. Whereas efficacious
university students seem to react against
a single acute experience of stereotype
threat by reporting more lofty aspirations
(e.g., Hoyt, 2005), women who are already
entrenched in their career have the same
aspirations whether they report chronic feel-
ings of stereotype threat or not. Importantly,
however, working women who experi-
ence more chronic stereotype threat also
report lowered confidence that they will
reach their career goals (von Hippel, Issa,
et al., 2011). Such diminished expectancies
of reaching career aspirations can have
considerable consequences for women
in organizations, as lowered expectations
have been found to undermine perfor-
mance by reducing perseverance in the
face of difficulties (Carver & Scheier, 2002).
It is particularly important to note that
almost all of the research examining lead-
ership and career aspirations has been
conducted in the laboratory using acute
manipulations of stereotype threat with
student samples. Of the studies discussed
above, only the studies by von Hippel, Issa,
et al. (2011) were conducted in organiza-
tional contexts with working women. Given
the potentially negative consequences that
stereotype threat may have for women’s
leadership aspirations, beliefs, and inten-
tions, it is important that this research
is replicated and extended in organiza-
tional settings. Future research should also
examine the boundary conditions and
mechanisms of the negative and positive
relationships between stereotype threat and
career aspirations so appropriate interven-
tions can be put into place. Longitudinal
research could be particularly beneficial for
understanding the differential relationships
between stereotype threat and aspirations,
expectations, and intentions across the
career trajectory. A particularly promising
Stereotype threat 389
avenue for future research is the impact of
stereotype threat on leadership emergence
and success as well as entrepreneurship.
For example, Burgess, Joseph, van Ryn,
and Carnes (2012) recently suggested that
stereotype threat may be a cause for the
underrepresentation of women in lead-
ership positions in academic medicine.
The outcomes of future research may not
only help promote effective leadership and
entrepreneurial behaviors, they could also
help accelerate women’s advancement into
senior leadership positions.
Decision making. Laboratory studies have
shown that stereotype threat can influence
decision making, a finding that may be
particularly important in the organiza-
tional context. Experiencing stereotype
threat appears to deplete people’s cogni-
tive resources, which leads to a reliance
on intuition and affect instead of a more
deliberative processing style (Carr & Steele,
2010; Inzlicht & Kang, 2010). This reliance
on intuition and affect can cause those
experiencing stereotype threat to be more
susceptible to heuristics and biases. Con-
sistent with this possibility, Carr and Steele
(2010) found that women who experienced
acute stereotype threat in academic and
business settings showed greater loss and
risk aversions. In an organizational context,
this could lead decision makers experi-
encing stereotype threat to avoid risky
decisions that may be important. It could
also discourage women and minorities from
entering challenging or difficult roles in an
effort to avoid risk.
In another study, undergraduate women
who experienced acute stereotype
threat showed an increase in inflexible
perseverance— they were more likely to
use strategies that were previously success-
ful but were no longer efficient or correct
(Carr & Steele, 2009). Flexible responding
to a changing environment is important for
decision making, which raises the possibil-
ity that inflexibility may be another route
by which stereotype threat could reduce
optimal decision making. This research is
yet to be extended into organizations, but
given the costs of inflexibility, it is impor-
tant to know if stereotype threat influences
managerial decisions, such as those made
under time pressure or in teams with multi-
ple stakeholders. Future research could also
focus on decision making in specific orga-
nizational settings such as the medical or
financial sectors, with a view to developing
applied interventions. If stereotype threat
influences decision making in the work-
place, the downstream consequences of
such effects should also be investigated. For
example, members of disadvantaged groups
may be less likely to join decision-making
teams. The end result of this process might
be a greater likelihood of disengagement
and the various consequences of stereotype
threat discussed earlier.
Interpersonal Processes
The extant research has largely focused on
intrapersonal consequences of stereotype
threat, but there is some research that also
speaks to potential interpersonal implica-
tions of stereotype threat. Interpersonal out-
comes may arise when employees experi-
ence stereotype threat caused by interac-
tions with other people who are internal
and external to the organization, such as
members of their work group or customers
(Shapiro & Neuberg, 2007). The research
in this area suggests that stereotype threat
may affect group processes such as feed-
back seeking, negotiation, and communica-
tion in organizations.
Feedback seeking and communication.
Research has demonstrated the value of
feedback seeking in the workplace to aid
performance (Ashford & Cummings, 1983).
Yet a study by Roberson, Deitch, Brief, and
Block (2003) found that African Americans
who were the solo in their department
reported higher levels of chronic stereotype
threat, which was in turn related to greater
monitoring of feedback from coworkers and
supervisors. This greater monitoring might
seem beneficial, but chronic stereotype
threat was also related to feedback dis-
counting, including dismissal of feedback,
390 E.K. Kalokerinos, C. von Hippel, and H. Zacher
doubting its accuracy, and questioning the
motives of the source. These findings raise
the specter of problems in the performance
appraisal process, as it is important for
employees from stereotyped groups to trust
the feedback they receive and adapt their
behaviors accordingly.
Interpersonal consequences of stereo-
type threat can also manifest in the manner
in which people make requests in the
workplace. Because female leaders are not
considered to be as effective communica-
tors as male leaders (Still, 2006), women’s
communication styles may reinforce the
stereotype that they are less competent
than men. Women seem sensitive to this
possibility; women in the stereotype threat
condition, who were reminded of the
stereotype that men are better leaders,
adopted a more masculine communi-
cation style (i.e., they were more direct
and assertive while using fewer hedges
and hesitations) compared to women
in the control condition who were not
reminded of this stereotype (von Hippel,
Wiryakusuma, Bowden, & Shochet, 2011).
It is not clear, however, whether adopting a
more direct and assertive communication
style is effective for female employees.
Women who adopt masculine tendencies
often face repercussions for violating pre-
scriptive gender norms (Heilman, Wallen,
Fuchs, & Tamkins, 2004). Inherent in the
stereotyped prescriptions of how men and
women should behave are expectations of
how members of each gender should not
behave. The stereotype that women should
display communal and warm behaviors
also specifies that women should not show
agentic qualities, such as assertiveness,
independence, or dominance (Heilman,
2001). Women engaging in counterstereo-
typic behaviors may be perceived as more
competent than stereotypically feminine
women, but they are subject to social penal-
ties (Heilman, 2001). Therefore, women
who react to gender-based stereotypes of
leadership by adopting a more masculine
communication style may run the risk of
being less effective interpersonally, less
likeable, and less likely to exert influence.
Consistent with this possibility,
when evaluators rated the requests that
women made in the communication
experiment described above (von Hip-
pel, Wiryakusuma, et al., 2011), women
who reacted to stereotype threat by adopt-
ing a more masculine communication style
were seen as less warm and likable. People
also indicated that they were less willing
to comply with the requests made by these
women. Furthermore, this masculine style
did not result in women being viewed as
more competent, suggesting that reacting
to stereotype threat in such a manner may
result in social penalties with few if any
Negotiation. Negotiation skills, which are
regarded as essential for success in vari-
ous organizational settings (Bazerman &
Moore, 2008), are also influenced by
stereotype threat. For example, women
are commonly viewed as cooperative
and collaborative whereas men are seen
as assertive and demanding. Research
has demonstrated that women tend to
fare less well than their male counter-
parts at the bargaining table, where men’s
competitive behavior results in greater
negotiation success (Stuhlmacher & Wal-
ters, 1999; Walters, Stuhlmacher, & Meyer,
1998). Given the widespread stereotypes
about men and women’s negotiation skills,
researchers have examined how stereo-
type threat impacts negotiation strategies.
Across several experiments, Kray and her
colleagues have demonstrated that acute
stereotype threat causes female MBA stu-
dents to change their negotiating tactics
at the bargaining table (Kray, Galinsky, &
Thompson, 2002; Kray, Reb, Galinsky, &
Thompson, 2004; Kray & Thompson, 2005;
Kray, Thompson, & Galinsky, 2001). The
bottom line from these studies is that when
women experience stereotype threat at the
negotiating table they open the negotiation
with more extreme offers. This strategy
results in greater negotiation success for
these women, as their partners respond to
these extreme offers by giving more ground
to reach a consensus. Although these
Stereotype threat 391
women achieved better outcomes when
they reacted to stereotype threat, these
studies did not examine the potential inter-
personal costs for women who adopted a
more masculine negotiation strategy. Given
the social penalties women experienced by
adopting a more masculine communica-
tion style in response to stereotype threat
(von Hippel, Wiryakusuma, et al., 2011), it
seems possible that the strategy adopted by
women in these negotiation studies may not
be as beneficial as it appears. For example,
such women may pay long-term costs if they
have repeated interactions with their nego-
tiation partners. It is also important to note
that this research is lab based. Although
it has clear implications for women in
the workplace, future research needs to
replicate and extend these findings in orga-
nizational contexts. In determining whether
these positive benefits to negotiations repli-
cate in organizations, future research can
also determine if there are unintended con-
sequences of these negotiation strategies
for the women who engage in them.
It is evident from the negotiation research
that there may be costs and benefits to the
experience of stereotype threat, and so it is
important that future research investigates
the divergent consequences of stereotype
threat. Longitudinal research would also be
beneficial in this arena. It is likely that
stereotype threat in organizations may lead
to a self-perpetuating cycle: Women change
their communication and negotiation styles
in response to stereotype threat and then are
likely to face more stereotype threat as a
result of this adaptation. Understanding the
complex coping mechanisms that may arise
to deal with this cycle would be helpful in
developing interventions.
Perceived Relationship With the
The relationship that employees have with
their employing organization (i.e., the
psychological contract) has an impact on
job attitudes, work motivation, well-being,
and performance (Coyle-Shapiro & Con-
way, 2005; Robinson, Kraatz, & Rousseau,
1994). We suggest that stereotype threat
might have a negative influence on psy-
chological contracts, particularly in the
presence of organizational initiatives
targeted at women and minority or non-
traditional employees. Affirmative action
and other equal opportunity programs are
designed to help address the disadvantages
faced by certain groups in the workplace,
yet these policies and programs may engen-
der feelings of stereotype threat among
potential recipients.
By providing some form of assistance to
members of certain groups, equal oppor-
tunity policies and programs highlight the
possibility that these groups may need extra
help in order to advance their careers.
Indeed, targets of these programs may
question their own abilities, as the pres-
ence of these programs suggests that their
group needs additional help in order to
succeed (Kimura, 1997). In addition, recip-
ients of these programs are often evaluated
more negatively by others, even when the
recipients have objectively strong qualifica-
tions (Heilman, Block, & Stathatos, 1997;
Williams, Blair-Loy, & Berdahl, 2013).
Such psychological responses to equal
opportunity programs suggest that these
programs are likely to contribute to feelings
of stereotype threat among intended recipi-
ents, as the mere presence of these policies
brings issues such as race and gender to the
forefront of employees’ minds.
Family-friendly policies are likely to
have similar unintended consequences for
potential recipients. Family-friendly poli-
cies are often directed at women (Sabattini
& Crosby, 2009), as mothers are more likely
than fathers to reduce their work hours
and change their work schedule because of
childcare concerns (Coltrane, 2000). The
existence of family-friendly policies may
serve to encourage and reinforce stereo-
types of women as caregivers (Eagly &
Karau, 2002), which is particularly prob-
lematic in organizations, where caregiving
is seen as incongruent with leadership
roles (Liff & Ward, 2001). In line with this
suggestion, women who choose to work
flexibly face stigmatizing treatment (P. Stone
392 E.K. Kalokerinos, C. von Hippel, and H. Zacher
& Hernandez, 2013). Hence, it is likely that
the provision of family-friendly policies
could lead to stereotype threat, which
in turn could lead women to view these
policies more negatively. Indeed, working
women believe that using family-friendly
policies will hurt them professionally
(Finkel, Olswang, & She, 1994). Stereotype
threat may help to explain why women
perceive negative consequences to these
ostensibly beneficial programs. Such a
possibility would be ironic given that these
policies exist specifically to reduce the gap
between men and women in the workplace.
Research has not directly examined
the relationship between stereotype threat
and reactions to affirmative action and
family-friendly policies, but the related
research outlined above suggests that this is
an important area for future studies. If these
policies designed to help disadvantaged
groups lead to stereotype threat, under-
standing the boundaries of this effect will be
necessary. These programs can be important
for addressing disadvantage in the work-
place, and we are not suggesting that they
should be eliminated. Rather, there may be
ways in which the framing and promotion
of these policies could be conducted to
reduce the potential for stereotype threat.
In summary, further research on stereo-
type threat and different aspects of
employees’ perceptions of their relationship
with their employer is needed. For example,
research could examine how stereotype
threat impacts employees’ perceptions
of organizational support and fulfillment
versus violation of psychological contracts
(Robinson et al., 1994). Employees who
experience stereotype threat may not only
disengage from their work tasks and their
immediate social environment but may also
feel that their organization does not value
their contribution or has breached the psy-
chological contract. Possible reactions of
employees to these perceptions may range
from different types of withdrawal (e.g.,
lateness, absenteeism) to counterproductive
behaviors directed at the organization.
Antecedents of Stereotype Threat
at Work
Given the potential consequences of
stereotype threat in the workplace, it is
important to consider factors that might
cause stereotype threat in the first place.
Practitioners who are aware of these
antecedents could then design work pro-
cesses to minimize the likelihood that
stereotype threat will arise. In Steele’s
original theorizing on stereotype threat,
he and his colleagues (Steele, 1997; Steele
et al., 2002) outlined several factors that are
likely to lead to stereotype threat, including
perceptions of poor prospects and a lack
of feeling of belonging. As noted, how-
ever, most research has taken place in the
laboratory where stereotype threat effects
are brought about artificially. As a conse-
quence, it is unclear which factors are likely
to precipitate feelings of stereotype threat at
work. Although it is unlikely for employees
to experience exactly the same kind of bla-
tant stereotype threat that is induced in the
laboratory, there may be more subtle events
and experiences in the workplace that can
lead people to worry about being evaluated
on the basis of their group membership. For
example, the proportion of other women in
a setting has been shown to affect feelings
of stereotype threat (Inzlicht & Ben-Zeev,
2000; Sekaquaptewa & Thompson, 2003),
and thus the underrepresentation of women
in different settings might lead women to
feel that they do not belong in that context.
Alternatively, because women who work
in male-dominated fields are well aware
of the gender imbalance, they might be
unperturbed in settings that would lead
to stereotype threat in the artificial and
short-term environment of the laboratory.
To assess whether gender imbalance
had an impact on women working in
male-dominated fields, in the context of a
survey of female accountants, von Hippel,
Walsh, and colleagues (2011) highlighted
(or did not highlight) the gender imbal-
ance at the top levels of the organizational
structure. Results of the survey indicated
that women who were reminded of the low
Stereotype threat 393
percentage of female partners in the firm
experienced greater stereotype threat than
women who were not given this reminder
(von Hippel, Walsh, et al., 2011). This
effect emerged despite the fact that the
female accountants were well aware of
the gender ratio of partners at their firm
prior to the reminder. Thus, it seems that
simply working in an organization where
there is a significant imbalance in group
representation in the upper echelons may
lead to stereotype threat for employees
whose group is not well represented, par-
ticularly when this imbalance is brought
to their attention. In light of this finding,
and for many other reasons, it is important
for organizations to work toward greater
representation of disadvantaged groups in
upper management. It is unlikely, however,
that organizations will be able to bring
about immediate change in the group
composition in the upper levels of the orga-
nization. To address stereotype threat as
they work toward this goal, organizations
could instead promote increases in the
numbers of women or minority groups in
higher-level positions and avoid situations
in which skewed gender or race represen-
tations in higher status roles would become
obvious to their employees.
In addition to such situational cues,
Steele et al. (2002) argue that individ-
ual perceptions may influence feelings of
stereotype threat. For example, stigma
consciousness (Pinel, 1999), or the
degree to which people expect to be
the victim of prejudice or discrimination,
may be one individual difference that
could influence perceptions of stereo-
type threat. Consistent with the idea
that individual perceptions may influ-
ence the experience of stereotype threat,
women who expect gender prejudice
exhibit heightened vigilance toward poten-
tial discriminatory cues (Kaiser, Vick, &
Major, 2006). This research suggests that
in the workplace, some people who expe-
rience stereotype threat may benefit more
from interventions than others. Interest-
ingly, research on individual differences
has suggested that people with a high inter-
nal locus of control and a highly proactive
personality may react more strongly to cues
in the environment that suggest stereotype
threat (Cadinu, Maass, Lombardo, & Frige-
rio, 2006; Gupta & Bhawe, 2007). Although
these individual differences typically yield
positive and resilient outcomes in work
settings (Bateman & Crant, 1993; Ng,
Sorensen, & Eby, 2006), they seem to
exacerbate the effects of stereotype threat.
The social comparisons employees make
are related to chronic experiences of stereo-
type threat (von Hippel, Issa, et al., 2011).
Social comparison theory is founded on the
idea that the skills and attributes of others
may be used as an aid to gain a more accu-
rate understanding of the self. That is, indi-
viduals engage in social comparison as a
means of evaluating their own standing on
various dimensions relative to others (Fes-
tinger, 1954). Consistent with this theoriz-
ing, working women use social compar-
isons to gain self-knowledge and to define
themselves relative to others (Isobe & Ura,
2006). Given that men typically earn more
than women, are promoted faster, and are
given work that is of greater value to the
organization (Heilman, 2001), it is likely
to be problematic for women to compare
themselves with their male colleagues. That
is, by engaging in social comparisons with
male colleagues, it may become salient to
women that they are paid less, that they are
climbing the corporate ladder at a slower
rate, and that they are being assigned less
visible projects.
Social comparisons with those who
perform well can be threatening to
self-evaluations (Wills, 1981), and social
comparisons with the higher powered
group might also lead to stereotype threat,
as differences between groups might be
perceived as intrinsically linked to stereo-
types. In support of this possibility, female
lawyers who engaged in social comparisons
with their male colleagues when evaluating
their career progression and developmental
opportunities experienced greater chronic
stereotype threat (von Hippel, Issa, et al.,
2011). Importantly, not all comparisons
394 E.K. Kalokerinos, C. von Hippel, and H. Zacher
are equally unnerving, as women who
engaged in these same comparisons with
their female colleagues did not experience
stereotype threat. Perhaps comparing one-
self to another woman who excels in the
stereotyped area can serve as evidence
that the stereotype is irrelevant or can be
overcome, but at the very least it does not
appear to induce stereotype threat. Future
research in this area should aim to under-
stand more clearly the mechanisms of this
effect and what kind of processes working
women engage in when making these social
comparisons. With a better understanding
of the nature of the comparisons being
made, it will be easier to directly address
these issues by developing interventions.
It is also likely that the behavior of some
colleagues induces more stereotype threat
than the behavior of others. Consistent with
this possibility, Logel et al. (2009) found that
female engineering students who experi-
enced acute stereotype threat in the form of
conversations with sexist male colleagues
showed performance decrements across
several different tasks. Another laboratory
test of this idea demonstrated that exposure
to an acute stereotype threat in the form
of sexism (i.e., by leading participants to
believe the experimenter is sexist) resulted
in lower performance and a reduced sense
of comfort and belonging for women.
Men, in contrast, perform better when they
believe the experimenter is sexist (Adams,
Garcia, Purdie-Vaughns, & Steele, 2006).
This research has not yet been extended
to the workplace, but it is easy to imagine
that interaction with colleagues who hold
more sexist or racist attitudes could lead to
heightened experiences of stereotype threat
for employees from disadvantaged groups.
Although research on the antecedents
of stereotype threat in the workplace is still
in its infancy, the studies reviewed above
suggest that the demographic makeup of
teams, social comparisons with coworkers,
and individual differences in sensitivity to
stereotype threat are important factors that
determine levels of stereotype threat. Thus,
there are links to the work group diversity
literature (van Knippenberg & Schippers,
2007); however, this literature has so far
largely ignored the topic of stereotype
threat. Future research could additionally
examine the factors that make employees
resilient to the experience of stereotype
threat. For example, it may be possible that
awareness of research on stereotype threat
may buffer its deleterious consequences (cf.
Johns, Schmader, & Martens, 2005).
Additional Considerations
for Future Research
The existing research and theory described
above suggest that stereotype threat may
have important consequences for organi-
zations. It is clear, however, that there is
a dearth of research in this area. Although
laboratory-based studies help inform future
research, it is important that direct applied
research is conducted in organizations.
Although we have provided suggestions for
future research directions throughout this
article, there are broader issues that we
think are particularly important to the study
of stereotype threat in the workplace.
First, it is important that future research
aims to understand the differences between
the experiences of acute and chronic
stereotype threat. Of the existing studies
conducted in the workplace, some studies
examine chronic experiences of stereotype
threat using survey methodology (e.g., von
Hippel et al., 2013), whereas others draw
attention to existing discrepancies in the
work environment to create a state of acute
stereotype threat (e.g., von Hippel, Walsh,
et al., 2011). The experience of chronic
stereotype threat is not well understood,
but it is likely to arise from a series of
more acute stereotype threat experiences
in the form of exposure to cues like sta-
tus differences. Organizational research
would benefit from understanding the
development of chronic stereotype threat
by examining employees over the course
of their career. Future research could also
aim to understand the longer term conse-
quences of acute threat experiences, using
experimental, longitudinal, and short-term
experience sampling methodologies.
Stereotype threat 395
Second, research should attempt to
understand how the experiences of stereo-
type threat differ across different disadvan-
taged groups in organizations. Currently,
much of the research is conducted with
women, with very little research exam-
ining other groups likely to be the target
of negative stereotypes, and thus likely
to experience stereotype threat, such as
employees from stigmatized ethnic minori-
ties; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) employees; and older employees.
The content of the stereotypes about each
disadvantaged group is different, yet it is
unclear whether the antecedents and conse-
quences of stereotype threat experienced by
these groups will also differ. It is important
to examine the experiences of stereotype
threat across different groups if organiza-
tions are to develop effective interventions.
The industry itself is also likely to be an
important contextual factor in determining
when stereotype threat is experienced by
members of different groups. For example,
stereotypes of women as communal and
warm suggest that they will be less likely to
experience stereotype threat in an industry
like childcare, although male employees
may well feel threatened in this line of work.
Third, it is particularly important for
future research to determine the causal
nature of the relationship between stereo-
type threat and organizational variables. In
work examining more chronic experiences
of stereotype threat, it is not clear whether
stereotype threat is always the causal vari-
able. It seems likely that there is a feedback
cycle: Employees experience stereotype
threat and begin to have more negative
attitudes, and these negative attitudes in
turn lead them to interpret more situations
through the lens of stereotype threat. Longi-
tudinal research could tease apart such rela-
tionships and also identify points at which
interventions might be maximally effective.
Implications for Organizations
Stereotypes about different groups (e.g.,
women in male-dominated fields, older
employees) have persisted in spite of the
evidence that contradicts these stereotypes
(e.g., Ng & Feldman, 2012) and increasing
calls for diversity (Powell, Butterfield, &
Parent, 2002). The existing laboratory
research, as well as early research in orga-
nizations, suggests that employees who
belong to stereotyped groups are likely
to be vulnerable to stereotype threat. The
evidence reviewed in the previous sections
suggests that stereotype threat can have
detrimental effects on intrapersonal and
interpersonal processes, as well as employ-
ees’ perceptions of their relationship with
their organization. Given these negative
consequences of stereotype threat, it is
important to consider strategies to buffer
employees who are susceptible to it. We
recommend a three-pronged approach,
analogous to strategies that can be found
in the stress management literature (e.g.,
Israel, Baker, Goldenhar, & Heaney, 1996).
First, organizations could aim to prevent
stereotype threat from occurring (primary
prevention). Second, organizations could
find ways to diagnose and treat early
stages of stereotype threat before it has
long-term negative consequences (sec-
ondary prevention). Finally, organizations
could try to undo the consequences among
those who are experiencing the nega-
tive effects of stereotype threat (tertiary
Primary Prevention of Stereotype Threat
The finding that women who compare
themselves to men experience stereo-
type threat (von Hippel, Issa, et al., 2011)
suggests that there are good reasons to
consider the distribution of employees in
marginalized groups at different levels of the
organization (see Brewer, von Hippel, &
Gooden, 1999). When there is greater
diversity at higher levels of organizations,
members of marginalized groups may be
able to engage in social comparisons to
arrive at an accurate self-evaluation without
having to compare themselves to the major-
ity group, thereby minimizing experiences
of stereotype threat. If senior positions filled
by stigmatized group members are placed
396 E.K. Kalokerinos, C. von Hippel, and H. Zacher
primarily in stereotypical roles (e.g., women
in human resources; Asian Americans in
IT), this strategy may be ineffective (Brewer
et al., 1999).
Research also points to the potential for
role models to help alleviate stereotype
threat (von Hippel, Walsh, et al., 2011).
Building on laboratory demonstrations
that comparison with successful women
reduces stereotype threat (Marx & Roman,
2002), von Hippel, Walsh, et al. (2011)
had female accountants read about either
a successful male partner or a successful
female partner in their firm. Those who read
about the male partner experienced signif-
icantly higher levels of stereotype threat
than women who read about a successful
female partner. This study also included an
examination of one possible reason why
comparisons with successful women do not
induce stereotype threat. On the one hand,
successful women may communicate to
other women that they too can succeed
simply by virtue of their shared gender.
Alternatively, it might be the case that suc-
cessful women are nonthreatening because
they often have stereotypically female
characteristics, such as family responsibil-
ities. To examine this possibility, female
employees were presented with either a
male or a female partner from their firm
who either mentioned or did not mention
family activities in his or her work profile. If
successful women are not eliciting stereo-
type threat because they demonstrate that
success is possible even for women who
occupy stereotypically nurturing roles such
as being a mother, then mention of family
should have an impact on whether com-
parisons with women lead to stereotype
threat. Alternatively, if female leaders are
nonthreatening simply by virtue of their
demonstration that women can succeed,
then mention of family should be unnec-
essary for comparisons with successful
women to be nonthreatening. The results
of this study indicated that whether fam-
ily and outside interests were mentioned
did not influence stereotype threat effects;
reading about a female partner did not
induce stereotype threat even when she
did not mention her family and interests
outside work. Furthermore, reading about
a male partner induced stereotype threat
even when he did mention his family and
outside interests. Thus, it seems that suc-
cessful women working in male-dominated
fields serve as evidence that the organiza-
tion is supportive to women and thereby
lessen the threat of gender stereotypes for
other women who are trying to climb the
career ladder.
Nevertheless, laboratory research also
suggests that role models may be less
effective in reducing stereotype threat for
some women. For example, among women
exposed to an acute stereotype threat, those
with low levels of leadership self-efficacy
were less inspired by successful role mod-
els and showed less identification with
leadership, lowered leadership aspira-
tions, and poorer leadership performance
after exposure to a successful female role
model (Hoyt, 2013). Another study found
that women who believe that leaders are
born rather than made were less likely to
show the positive benefits of a female role
model in buffering an acute experience
of stereotype threat (Hoyt, Burnette, &
Innella, 2012). These data suggest that the
effectiveness of female leaders as role mod-
els would be enhanced by concurrently
emphasizing to employees that they can
develop leadership skills themselves.
Secondary and Tertiary Prevention
of Stereotype Threat
We discuss strategies for secondary and
tertiary prevention of stereotype threat
together, given that both types of preven-
tion strategies address broader negative
responses to the stressor (in this case,
stereotype threat). Stereotype threat can
be stressful (Blascovich, Spencer, Quinn,
& Steele, 2001), but social support buffers
the negative consequences of stress. Social
support can increase people’s optimism
(Brissette, Scheier, & Carver, 2002) and
reduce depression (Mickelson, 2001) and
illness (Seeman, 1996). Although there is
little research directly examining the role of
Stereotype threat 397
social support as a buffer to the deleterious
consequences of stereotype threat, the
research that does exist suggests that social
support is beneficial (Cole, Matheson, &
Anisman, 2007). This research, coupled
with the fact that there is unequivocal
support for the benefits of social support
in the workplace (e.g., see Ng & Sorensen,
2008, for a meta-analysis), suggests that
social support is likely to be beneficial for
employees experiencing stereotype threat.
Given the potential stress brought about
by stereotype threat, the utility of differ-
ent coping mechanisms should also be
examined. For example, women who are
threatened with the stereotype that they are
poor at math do not show typical perfor-
mance deficits if they are high in coping
sense of humor (Ford, Ferguson, Brooks, &
Hagadone, 2004). These data suggest that
one manner of coping with stereotype
threat is by using humor to reinterpret the
situation as a challenge rather than a threat
(see Kuiper, Martin, & Olinger, 1993).
Self-affirmation has also been shown
to reduce the negative consequences of
stereotype threat. Self-affirmation theory
proposes that one of our primary social
motivations as individuals is to achieve
and maintain self-integrity and a sense
of self-worth (Sherman & Cohen, 2006;
Steele, 1988). According to this theory,
individuals can overcome threats to their
self-integrity by affirming other positive
aspects of their self-worth (Sherman &
Cohen, 2006). Stereotype threat is a threat
to one’s self-integrity, and research has
demonstrated that allowing individu-
als who experience stereotype threat to
self-affirm can reduce its impact. For
example, African-American students who
affirmed their values at the beginning of the
school semester reduced the “achievement
gap” with White students by 40% compared
to African-American students in a control
condition (Cohen, Garcia, Apfel, & Mas-
ter, 2006; Cohen, Garcia, Purdie-Vaughns,
Apfel, & Brzustoski, 2009; see also Martens,
Johns, Greenberg, & Schimel, 2006, for
similar effects among women in math).
Similarly, in the communication research
described earlier, self-affirmation was
effective for reducing the consequences of
stereotype threat. Women who were threat-
ened by the stereotype that men are better
leaders, but who subsequently had the
opportunity to self-affirm, did not adopt a
more masculine communication style (von
Hippel, Wiryakusuma, et al., 2011). Other
research has successfully reduced stereo-
type threat effects through the blurring of
intergroup boundaries, by having women
focus on the characteristics that they share
with men (Rosenthal & Crisp, 2006). Inter-
ventions such as these could be readily
extended to an organizational context.
Most jobs involve being judged by peers,
supervisors, or customers, yet employees
from negatively stereotyped groups have the
added concern of being judged on the basis
of their group membership. It is the aware-
ness that others may evaluate one through
the lens of negative stereotypes that trig-
gers stereotype threat, regardless of whether
the target believes the stereotype to be
true for themselves (Steele, 1997). Given
the prevalence of negative stereotypes (e.g.,
regarding female abilities in the workplace,
older employees, LGBT employees), it is
likely that many employees will experi-
ence stereotype threat at least occasion-
ally. Thus, although it is commonplace to
experience evaluation apprehension when
being judged, stereotype threat can result
in additional concerns for certain groups
in the workplace. In this focal article, we
have reviewed the growing literature on the
antecedents and consequences of stereo-
type threat and proposed several directions
for future research. The existing research has
important implications for the workplace
but is often conducted in laboratory set-
tings with student samples. It is important
that stereotype threat research is extended
into organizational settings, as the exist-
ing data suggest that stereotype threat is
a concern for organizations who desire to
retain their talent and help them reach their
potential. We hope that this focal article
398 E.K. Kalokerinos, C. von Hippel, and H. Zacher
stimulates further research and constructive
discussions on stereotype threat in the work-
place and that the emerging evidence on
the deleterious consequences of stereotype
threat motivates organizational practitioners
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... A behavioural wording, on the other hand, is expected to be less threatening because the negative trait is less linked to one's dispositions but more to one's behaviour in a certain context ('how one can behave'). For older and younger job seekers we thus expected: Alternatively, research suggested that people might also feel challenged when being faced with negative metastereotypes (Finkelstein et al., 2020;Kalokerinos et al., 2014). Moreover, being exposed to a negative age-related prime actually increased participants' performance on a cognitive task (stereotype challenge effect ;Hehman & Bugental, 2013). ...
... When negatively metastereotyped traits were worded in a behavioural way, younger-aged job seekers felt more challenged by these personality requirements and were thus more attracted to the job than when requirements were worded in a dispositional way. These findings disconfirm assumptions from stereotype threat models (Steele & Aronson, 1995), but support both theoretical assumptions (Alter et al., 2010;Kalokerinos et al., 2014) and empirical findings (Finkelstein et al., 2020;Hehman & Bugental, 2013;Thorsteinson et al., 2004) on challenge reactions, as further discussed below. ...
... As previously suggested by scholars (Finkelstein et al., 2015;Kalokerinos et al., 2014), one might also feel positively challenged when coming across negative metastereotypes, which-remarkably-has been somewhat overlooked in the area of recruitment and selection. By explicitly testing challenge as an alternative to feeling threatened, Study 2 showed empirical evidence for a stereotype challenge effect (Finkelstein et al., 2020;Hehman & Bugental, 2013) among younger job seekers. ...
Age discrimination may explain lower labour market chances of older and younger job seekers. What remains underresearched, however, is how older/younger job seekers might self‐select out from early recruitment procedures due to stigmatizing information in job ads. Building on theories of metastereotypes and the linguistic category model, two experimental studies investigated how personality requirements that older/younger job seekers hold negative metastereotypes about and the way in which these requirements are worded (behavioural vs. dispositional) affected their job attraction. Within‐participant mediation analyses showed that as expected, job attraction was higher for older (N = 123, aged 50 years or more) and younger (N = 151, 30 years or less) job seekers when requirements were worded in a behavioural way (e.g., ‘You can be flexible’), compared with a dispositional way (e.g., ‘You are flexible’). This relation was mediated by perceptions of challenge among younger but not older job seekers. Contrary to expectations, perceptions of threat did not explain the effects of negatively metastereotyped personality requirements on job attraction. Understanding how job seekers perceive information in job ads might help recruiters to design age‐sensitive recruitment policies.
... Women who work in STEM occupations work under conditions of chronic stereotype threat, a state induced by long-term exposure to stereotype-threatening cues (Kalokerinos et al., 2014) because they experience both blatant and subtle cues on an ongoing basis in a domain central to their identity-being a scientist (Cheryan et al., 2017). In turn, exposure to pervasive cues may reinforce implicit stereotypes that women are neither qualified nor suited to excel in scientific work in comparison with men (Hill et al., 2010). ...
... Whereas hundreds of studies elucidate the sources, mechanisms, and consequences of stereotype threat (Nguyen & Ryan, 2008), surprisingly, few examine the specific strategies people engage to cope (Shapiro & Neuberg, 2007). This is curious given how central propositions about threat appraisal and response are to STT (Schmader et al., 2008;Shapiro & Neuberg, 2007;Steele, 1997;Steele et al., 2002) and how prominent calls have been for research about coping strategies and related interventions (Casad & Bryant, 2016;Kalokerinos et al., 2014;Spencer et al., 2016;Walton et al., 2015). ...
This study examines the different ways women in STEM occupations cope with systemic stereotype threat. Although it is theorized that women in the STEM workplace engage multiple and simultaneous strategies (Block, Koch, Liberman, Merriweather, & Roberson, 2011), rarely are coping strategies studied in combination. This leaves us with an incomplete picture of coping behavior. To address this gap, we adopt a person‐centered approach to examine nine multilevel strategies previously identified by Block, Cruz, Bairley, Harel‐Marian, & Roberson (2019). Drawing from a sample of 515 women in male‐dominated STEM, we use latent profile analysis (LPA) to uncover three distinct profiles (Preservationists, Protectors, and Protagonists) which differ by degree of strategy engagement and preferred location of response (intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional). Our findings also show profile membership is differently associated with person‐ (gender centrality, science identity, and stigma consciousness) and work‐related factors (perceived organizational support, negative emotions at work, and exit due to gender‐based bias) relevant to persistence. This work demonstrates the value of a person‐centered approach in distinguishing coping profiles within and between STEM women in a naturalistic context. It also suggests STEM organizations can better support women by tailoring interventions that account for differences in coping behavior.
... Along with the barriers presented by remote contexts, evidence suggests that minority status group members face additional barriers to gaining access to knowledge. Minority status employees may experience stereotype threat -fear of confirming negative stereotypes about an identity group they belong to and an associated pressure to demonstrate competence (Kalokerinos et al., 2014;Kammeyer-Mueller et al., 2011). To avoid confirming negative stereotypes, minority status employees may choose to avoid question asking and help seeking that would otherwise be common for newcomers. ...
... For minority status group members, additional barriers inhibit the development of self-efficacy. For example, stereotype threat is related to reduced self-efficacy (Kalokerinos et al., 2014), and differential treatment from managers and trainers can provide subtle cues that minority status newcomers are not perceived to be as competent as their peers (Kulkarni & Lengnick-Hall, 2011). When newcomers have mentors with shared identity status, fears of confirming negative stereotypes are reduced and mentors can provide newcomers with strategies for navigating situations that undermine self-efficacy (Haynes & Petrosko, 2009;Zheng et al., 2021). ...
Organizations have begun to embrace remote and hybrid work arrangements while simultaneously prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in a post-COVID-19 work era, bringing forth new challenges in socializing organizational newcomers. In this chapter, a DE&I perspective is applied to further understanding of the unique challenges organizations and leaders face in socializing remote workers, encouraging organizations to proactively foster newcomer development of essential cognitive, regulative, and normative knowledge; self-efficacy; and a sense of social inclusion. Evidence-based recommendations are provided to provide a path forward for organizations to socialize organizational newcomers in the new age of remote work in a way that upholds DE&I goals and values.
... Shapiro et Neuberg (2007) (Álvarez-garcía, García, & Núñez, 2015;McEvoy & Welker, 2000;Osborne, 2004). La menace du stéréotype a également des conséquences dans le milieu professionnel en influençant les aspirations professionnelles, les prises de décision ou encore la satisfaction au travail (voir Kalokerinos, von Hippel & Zacher, 2014 pour une revue). ...
Tous les groupes sociaux font face à des stéréotypes négatifs à leur encontre. Ces stéréotypes peuvent parfois représenter un poids pour les individus qui en sont la cible tel que proposé par la théorie de la menace du stéréotype. La menace du stéréotype correspond à la crainte d’être jugé en accord avec un stéréotype négatif associé à son groupe ou encore de le confirmer par son comportement. De nombreuses recherches se sont portées sur les conséquences de la menace du stéréotype. Toutefois, ces dernières portent majoritairement sur les conséquences en termes de performances cognitives. Dans cette thèse, nous faisons l’hypothèse selon laquelle l’agression constitue également une conséquence de la menace du stéréotype. À travers une série d’études, nous avons étudié l’agression comme conséquence de la menace du stéréotype. Ces études ont été menées sur différentes populations afin de déterminer si l’agression était observable chez l’ensemble des individus ou chez les individus appartenant à des groupes stéréotypés comme agressifs. Au cours de ce travail, nous avons aussi exploré le rôle potentiel de mécanismes cognitifs (i.e., accessibilité des pensées hostiles, contrôle de soi) et émotionnels (i.e., colère) dans le lien entre menace du stéréotype et agression. Dans leur ensemble, les résultats ne nous permettent pas de valider de manière consistante notre hypothèse de départ. Toutefois, la prise en compte de la multiplicité des menaces du stéréotype (i.e., la menace est-elle dirigée vers soi ou vers le groupe ?) semble être une piste prometteuse à explorer. Plus largement, nous discutons la nécessité de prendre en compte non seulement la multiplicité des menaces du stéréotype mais également celle des groupes stigmatisés et le contexte sociétal dans lequel ils s’inscrivent.
... More recently, research in organizational psychology and management has focused on the concept of age-based stereotype threat, or the belief and worry that one may be the target of SUBJECTIVE VIEWS OF AGING AT WORK 7 negative stereotypes about one's age group (Kalokerinos et al., 2014). Age-based stereotype threat has been shown to be associated with less favorable job attitudes (e.g., lower job satisfaction) and poorer work mental health and, in turn, higher intentions to resign and retire among older workers (von Hippel et al., 2013). ...
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Employment represents an important life context in which people experience their own and others’ aging, including age-related increases (i.e., growth), stability (i.e., maintenance), and decreases (i.e., loss) in abilities, other characteristics and resources, and functioning. Relationships between chronological age and various work and career outcomes, including job performance, work-related attitudes, and occupational well-being, have been extensively investigated. In addition, a growing number of studies in the fields of organizational psychology and management have focused on workers’ subjective views of aging. The overarching goals of this chapter are to review conceptual and empirical research on the role of subjective views of aging at work and in the transition to retirement, and to outline directions for future theory development and research. The chapter first outlines the scientific and practical importance of considering workers’ subjective views of aging, above and beyond chronological age. Second, conceptual work and empirical findings in three established research areas, including age (meta-) stereotypes and age-based stereotype threat, perceived and subjective age, and occupational future time perspective in the work context are described. The chapter concludes with directions for future theory development and empirical research on subjective views of aging at work and in the transition to retirement. To this end, conceptualizations and research findings on subjective views of aging constructs that have received less attention in the context of work and retirement, including perceived relative age, perceived control over development and essentialist beliefs about aging, awareness of age-related changes, satisfaction with aging, and subjective life expectancy, are summarized.KeywordsEmploymentOrganizationsWork
... More recently, research in organizational psychology and management has focused on the concept of age-based stereotype threat, or the belief and worry that one may be the target of negative stereotypes about one's age group (Kalokerinos et al., 2014). Age-based stereotype threat has been shown to be associated with less favorable job attitudes (e.g., lower job satisfaction) and poorer work mental health and, in turn, higher intentions to resign and retire among older workers (von Hippel et al., 2013). ...
This closing chapter discusses the major advances in theory, research, and practice to show that the field of subjective views of aging (VoA) has indeed reached a qualitatively new developmental stage. At the theoretical level there is an increasing consensus that a lifespan developmental perspective may be most appropriate to study VoA across the adult years and into late life. This perspective can serve as a unifying framework with important implications for the integration of diverse literatures and increased methodological diversity and sophistication. Specifically, the impact of greater methodological diversity and sophistication is seen at the level of empirical research, including the greater diversity in study designs, the emerging focus on multilevel investigations (e.g., the concomitant study of biological, psychological, and social processes), and the translation into areas of intervention and prevention. All these advances bode well for the future of the field of VoA research and lay the foundation for promising future directions.
... By moving beyond a narrow focus on either individual biases or structural disadvantages, this framework offers a more complete approach to understanding how inclusion is both cued and experienced within a broader cultural context. This program of work also addresses recent calls for a deeper examination of social identity threat's replicability (Zigerell, 2017) and impact outside of the lab (Aronson & Dee, 2012;Casad et al., 2016;Kalokerinos et al., 2014). It also provides practical insights into when and why organisational approaches to inclusion will fail or succeed. ...
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We review a program of work articulating the concept of inclusion – and approaches for achieving it – for women working in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) organisations. A multi-level framework is described to characterise inclusion in STEM workplaces. This framework is then used to conceptualise a series of empirical studies exploring women’s experiences of STEM work cultures. Together, these studies show that identity-based inclusion is the product of institutional policies and practices, interpersonal dynamics, and individuals’ beliefs and biases. We then use our multi-level framework to discuss practical insights for creating inclusive cultures in STEM organisations. We offer a series of empirically informed actionable suggestions for spreading and establishing inclusive norms in STEM organisations. Our framework suggests that creating contexts where employees can effectively learn inclusive norms will help organisations construct gender inclusive work cultures in STEM.
... Hence, younger job seekers might be less threatened by such stereotypes because of the prospect that they still have a whole future career ahead of them to prove themselves. Studies have indeed suggested that metastereotypes might not only result in threat, but might alternatively result in feelings of challenge (Finkelstein et al., 2020;Kalokerinos et al., 2014). ...
Both older and younger job seekers face difficulties when entering the workforce. Qualification‐based targeted recruitment (QBTR) might be used to attract older/younger job seekers, yet how this strategy is perceived by older/younger job seekers has not been considered before. The present study fills this gap and investigated effects of negatively metastereotyped information in job ads (i.e., personality requirements or traits) on application intention and self‐efficacy of both older and younger job seekers. An experimental study (Ntotal = 556; 44.6% aged 50 or older, 55.4% aged 30 or younger) showed that negatively metastereotyped traits in job ads (e.g., “flexible”) lowered older job seekers’ application intention and that this effect was mediated by older job seekers’ self‐efficacy regarding that trait. No such effects were found among younger job seekers. Results showed that organizations can fail to attract older candidates because of the traits mentioned in job ads, which is particularly alarming when aiming to target age‐diverse applicants. Suggestions for practitioners and future research are formulated. Research largely overlooked how older and younger‐aged job seekers experience personality requirements in ads. Instead of attracting older job seekers, negatively metastereotyped personality requirements in ads lowered their application intention through lower self‐efficacy. Hence, talented job seekers from underrepresented groups (like older‐aged job seekers) may self‐select out. Organizations should, therefore, avoid metastereotyped personality requirements in job ads. Research largely overlooked how older and younger‐aged job seekers experience personality requirements in ads. Instead of attracting older job seekers, negatively metastereotyped personality requirements in ads lowered their application intention through lower self‐efficacy. Hence, talented job seekers from underrepresented groups (like older‐aged job seekers) may self‐select out. Organizations should, therefore, avoid metastereotyped personality requirements in job ads.
We examine whether, relative to their global peers, the financial performance of firms from developing countries leads to increases in human rights abuses. We also study the institutional conditions that qualify this relationship. Based on a combination of behavioral and neo-institutional theories, we suggest there is a positive relationship between financial performance and human rights misbehavior as home country liabilities motivate firms to misbehave to achieve their primary goal of economic leadership. We also suggest that strong regulatory and normative pressures attenuate the abovementioned positive relationship, as failure to comply with norms endangers such firms’ secondary goal of achieving international legitimacy. Our analysis, based on a sample of 245 large companies from eight developing countries studied over a 20-year period, supports our hypotheses. Our empirical results suggest that such companies misbehave when they endeavor to strike a balance between maintaining their global economic leadership and sustaining their social legitimacy.
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Many organizations offer justifications for why diversity matters, that is, organizational diversity cases. We investigated their content, prevalence, and consequences for underrepresented groups. We identified the business case, an instrumental rhetoric claiming that diversity is valuable for organizational performance, and the fairness case, a noninstrumental rhetoric justifying diversity as the right thing to do. Using an algorithmic classification, Study 1 (N = 410) found that the business case is far more prevalent than the fairness case among the Fortune 500. Extending theories of social identity threat, we next predicted that the business case (vs. fairness case, or control) undermines underrepresented groups' anticipated sense of belonging to, and thus interest in joining organizations-an effect driven by social identity threat. Study 2 (N = 151) found that LGBTQ+ professionals randomly assigned to read an organization's business (vs. fairness) case anticipated lower belonging, and in turn, less attraction to said organization. Study 3 (N = 371) conceptually replicated this experiment among female (but not male) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) job seekers. Study 4 (N = 509) replicated these findings among STEM women, and documented the hypothesized process of social identity threat. Study 5 (N = 480) found that the business (vs. fairness and control) case similarly undermines African American students' belonging. Study 6 (N = 1,019) replicated Study 5 using a minimal manipulation, and tested these effects' generalizability to Whites. Together, these findings suggest that despite its seeming positivity, the most prevalent organizational diversity case functions as a cue of social identity threat that paradoxically undermines belonging across LGBTQ+ individuals, STEM women, and African Americans, thus hindering organizations' diversity goals. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
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The authors examined how gender stereotypes affect negotiation performance. Men outperformed women when the negotiation was perceived as diagnostic of ability (Experiment 1) or the negotiation was linked to gender-specific traits (Experiment 2), suggesting the threat of negative stereotype confirmation hurt women's performance relative to men. The authors hypothesized that men and women confirm gender stereotypes when they are activated implicitly, but when stereotypes are explicitly activated, people exhibit stereotype reactance, or the tendency to behave in a manner inconsistent with a stereotype. Experiment 3 confirmed this hypothesis. In Experiment 4, the authors examined the cognitive processes involved in stereotype reactance and the conditions under which cooperative behaviors between men and women can be promoted at the bargaining table (by activating a shared identity that transcends gender).
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Connie White-Williams,1 Kathleen L Grady,2 Pariya Fazeli,1 Susan Myers,1 Linda Moneyham,3 Karen Meneses,3 Bruce Rybarczyk4 1University of Alabama Medical Center, Birmingham, AL, USA; 2Division of Cardiac Surgery, Department of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA; 3School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA; 4Department of Psychology, Clinical Psychology Program, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA Abstract: The purpose of this research was to examine whether satisfaction with social support and coping effectiveness mediate the relationship between stress and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) 5 years after heart transplantation. Data were collected from 212 heart transplant patients (80% male, 92% white, mean age 59.9 years) at four United States sites using the Heart Transplant Stressor Scale, Social Support Index, Jalowiec Coping Scale, and Quality of Life Index. Using Baron and Kenny's approach, a series of regression equations for mediation revealed that both satisfaction with social support and coping partially mediated the relationship between perceived stress and HRQOL. Understanding the relationships of social support, stress, and coping on patients' HRQOL is important for the development of interventions to provide optimal patient care. Keywords: heart transplantation, social support, coping, stress, mediation
A role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders proposes that perceived incongruity between the female gender role and leadership roles leads to 2 forms of prejudice: (a) perceiving women less favorably than men as potential occupants of leadership roles and (b) evaluating behavior that fulfills the prescriptions of a leader role less favorably when it is enacted by a woman. One consequence is that attitudes are less positive toward female than male leaders and potential leaders. Other consequences are that it is more difficult for women to become leaders and to achieve success in leadership roles. Evidence from varied research paradigms substantiates that these consequences occur, especially in situations that heighten perceptions of incongruity between the female gender role and leadership roles.
Cognitively loaded tests of knowledge, skill, and ability often contribute to decisions regarding educpation, jobs, licensure, or certification. Users of such tests often face difficult choices when trying to optimize both the performance and ethnic diversity of chosen individuals. The authors describe the nature of this quandary, review research on different strategies to address it, and recommend using selection materials that assess the full range of relevant attributes using a format that minimizes verbal content as much as is consistent with the outcome one is trying to achieve. They also recommend the use of test preparation, face-valid assessments, and the consideration of relevant job or life experiences. Regardless of the strategy adopted, it is unreasonable to expect that one can maximize both the performance and ethnic diversity of selected individuals.
Optimism is expecting good things to occur in one's life. Such positive expectations are associated with higher subjective well-being, even under conditions of stress or adversity. In contrast, pessimists respond to adversity with more intense negative feelings. There are also differences in the manner in which optimists and pessimists try to cope with adversity. Optimists tend to put the best face on the adversity, but they acknowledge its existence and its importance, and they try to do as much as possible to resolve whatever problems can be resolved. Pessimists are more likely to distance themselves from the problem and put off doing anything about it as long as possible. They are also more likely to give up trying, if things remain difficult. Some kinds of problem solution is proactive, engaged in before the problem arises. Optimists also tend to engage in such proactive efforts, including taking actions to minimize various kinds of health risks. Perhaps, as a consequence of these preventive steps, optimists also tend to have better health than pessimists. They seem to heal faster from wounds, and there is some evidence that when they are seriously ill they experience slower disease progression. It has been suggested that optimists sometimes are no better off than pessimists, and sometimes are worse off: that their confidence can get them into situations where it is difficult to cope effectively. Evidence of such negative effects of optimism does exist, but it is relatively sparse.
The vast majority of stereotype threat research has been done in laboratory settings, and the focus of the chapter is on generalizing findings to the use of cognitive ability tests in high-stakes settings, such as personnel selection and admission for higher education. We first discuss some mischaracterization of the research findings on stereotype threat. Next, we discuss concerns regarding the generalizability of research findings to operational testing contexts, focusing on the degree to which boundary conditions for the experience of stereotype threat are met in high-stakes settings, and on the possibility of overcoming the inhibitory effects of experienced threat in high-stakes settings. We then review the limited existing research conducted in operational settings, including experimental, quasi-experimental, and observational studies. Our assessment is that research to date has not provided evidence of consistent and replicable threat effects in high-stakes settings, and that more research in operational testing settings is needed.