Company norms affect which traits are preferred in job candidates and may cause employment discrimination

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Company norms affect which traits are preferred in job candidates and may cause employment discrimination

AU - Björklund, Fredrik

AU - Bäckström, Martin

AU - Wolgast, Sima

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - This study investigated a possible mechanism behind employment discrimination. Participants completed a recruitment task where emphasis on cohesion (employees should “fit in”) vs. fairness (everybody should be treated equally) was manipulated by describing the norms of a fictitious company differently. There was a comparatively stronger preference in the cohesion condition for traits and interview questions related to social competence (e.g. friendliness, gregariousness, empathy). Furthermore, participants in the cohesion condition primarily pictured socially competent employees, whereas those in the fairness condition primarily pictured employees possessing productivity-related characteristics (e.g. education, experience and talent). The norm effect was moderated by participants’ awareness of the applicants’ ethnicity. When expecting applicants with foreign backgrounds, participants in the cohesion condition showed increased preference for selection methods related to social competence. Implications for recruitment practices are discussed.

AB - This study investigated a possible mechanism behind employment discrimination. Participants completed a recruitment task where emphasis on cohesion (employees should “fit in”) vs. fairness (everybody should be treated equally) was manipulated by describing the norms of a fictitious company differently. There was a comparatively stronger preference in the cohesion condition for traits and interview questions related to social competence (e.g. friendliness, gregariousness, empathy). Furthermore, participants in the cohesion condition primarily pictured socially competent employees, whereas those in the fairness condition primarily pictured employees possessing productivity-related characteristics (e.g. education, experience and talent). The norm effect was moderated by participants’ awareness of the applicants’ ethnicity. When expecting applicants with foreign backgrounds, participants in the cohesion condition showed increased preference for selection methods related to social competence. Implications for recruitment practices are discussed.

KW - recruitment

KW - norms

KW - person-organizational fit

KW - bias

KW - discrimination

U2 - 10.1080/00223980.2012.658459

DO - 10.1080/00223980.2012.658459

M3 - Article

VL - 146

SP - 579

EP - 594

JO - The Journal of Psychology: International and Applied

T2 - The Journal of Psychology: International and Applied

JF - The Journal of Psychology: International and Applied

SN - 1940-1019

IS - 6

ER -