Implicit prejudice and ethnic minorities: Arab-Muslims in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to examine whether Swedish employers implicitly/automatically hold negative attitudes toward Arab-Muslims, an ethnic minority group subjected to substantial labor market discrimination in Sweden and, more specifically, associate members of this minority group with lower work productivity, as compared with native Swedes.

Design/methodology/approach – Adapted versions of the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald et al., 1998) designed to measure implicit attitudes and productivity stereotypes toward Arab-Muslims were used. Corresponding explicit measures were administered.

Findings – The results clearly show that employers have stronger negative implicit attitudes toward Arab-Muslims relative to native Swedes as well as implicitly perceiving Arab-Muslims to be less productive than native Swedes. Notably, the explicit measures reveal much weaker negative associations.

Practical implications – Since Arab-Muslims are automatically perceived as being less productive, the present findings suggest that negative implicit productivity stereotypes could have significant effects on labor market outcomes, such as when employers make hiring decisions. Given that many hiring decisions are presumably based on “gut-feelings”, implicit attitudes and stereotypes, more so than their explicit counterparts, may exert a substantial impact on how employers contemplate and make decisions regarding human resources.

Originality/value – Whereas traditional research has focused on self-conscious, explicit work-related attitudes toward various ethnic minority groups, the study offers a novel approach to understanding work-related prejudice.

Details

Authors
  • Jens Agerström
  • Dan-Olof Rooth
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology
  • Economics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-55
JournalInternational Journal of Manpower
Volume30
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes