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Female tokens in high-prestige work groups: Catalysts or inhibitors of group diversification?

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  • Duguid, Michelle
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    There is a popular theory-based assumption that women, who are numerical minorities in high-prestige work groups, will advocate for other women as potential work group peers. However, these individuals may face special challenges in fulfilling this role. I examine how the prestige accorded to the work group and their numerical representation interact to impact women's concerns about being considered valued members of their groups and hence, their propensity to support other women in the selection process. I conducted three studies which showed that women will abdicate the opportunity to support highly or moderately qualified female candidates as potential work group peers. Furthermore, the concern that a highly qualified female candidate will be seen as more of a valued group member (competitive threat) and that a moderately qualified female candidate will adversely affect their value by reinforcing negative stereotypes about their demographic category (collective threat) partially mediated the relationship between numerical representation and work group prestige and women's preference for other women as work group peers.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 116 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 (September)
    Pages: 104-115

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:116:y:2011:i:1:p:104-115
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    1. Lewis, Amy C. & Sherman, Steven J., 2003. "Hiring you makes me look bad: Social-identity based reversals of the ingroup favoritism effect," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 262-276, March.
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