Black women in leadership roles are judged less harshly for behaving assertively than are white women or black men, says a new study by three academics.
The researchers asked 84 online participants (none black; 64% women) to evaluate a written description of a fictional supervisor who gave a negative performance review to an employee. In each scenario, the supervisor was described as one of eight combinations of black, white, female, male, and what the researchers called “dominant” or “communal.”
The dominant supervisors said thing things like, “I demand that you take steps to improve your performance,” and “I am a tough, determined boss and intend to do everything in my power to ensure that your performance improves ,” while the communal supervisors said, “I encourage you to take steps to improve your performance,” and “I am a caring, committed boss and intend to do everything in my power to ensure that your performance improves.”
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