Perceptions of Racism and Illusions of Equity
Women in Management Review
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to address an under-represented aspect of the literature on gender and work – how Black and White women managers perceive the influence of racism in the workplace. Design/methodology/approach – Data were gathered using a survey instrument and compared using ?2 analyses. Theoretical constructs of aversive racism, White racial identity, and White privilege frame the discourse and the proposed model. Findings – Compared to their White counterparts, more Black respondents perceived racism in their workplaces, were supportive of affirmation action, and saw racial as well as gender disparities in work effort required for success. In contrast, many White participants did not perceive workplace racism, saw little need for affirmative action initiatives, and seemed to hold an illusion of equity regarding work effort. Research limitations/implications – One is a small response percentage for Black participants. Two, members of the organizations selected may not be representative of the general population. Future research should be conducted within organizations and include other under-represented groups to guide organizational responses to combined race/ethnicity and gender concerns. Practical implications – Even well-meaning White women may be perpetuating racial inequities and inadvertently hurting their sisters of color by not acknowledging the pervasive influence of race on gender experience. Similarly, if organizations address only gender issues and do not acknowledge the additional constraints of race for women of color, careers of talented women and organizations that need their expertise will suffer. Originality/value – The perceptions of racism model suggests potential antecedents for the illusion of equity perceived by White respondents.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Organizational Behavior and Theory
Linda M. Hite (2006).
Perceptions of Racism and Illusions of Equity. Women in Management Review.21 (3), 211-223.