Perceptions of Male Racial Minorities in Leadership Positions

By: Benjamin Alford '17

Advising Faculty: Jason Nier

The aim of the present study was to examine racial biases, particularly those against Asian Americans in leadership positions, and the intersection of race, leadership, and impression formation. Ninety participants were presented a photo and vignette of either a hypothetical Asian American leader, Black leader, or White leader. Participants then proceeded to answer questions probing their impressions of the leaders, such as perceived competence. Contrary to the hypothesis that the White leader would receive the most favorable ratings across all dependent variables, the findings illustrated that the White leader only scored higher on perceived friendliness than the Black leader and the Asian American leader. Additionally, the Asian American leader did not receive higher ratings than the Black leader on perceived friendliness, perceived competence, and perceived legitimacy, thus showing no support for the hypothesis that the Asian American leader would score higher on all three variables than the Black leader. Lastly, the Black leader did not receive higher ratings than the Asian American leader on charismatic leadership and willingness to follow, contrary to the hypothesis that the Black leader would score higher than the Asian American leader on both variables. Overall, the findings showed partial support for the first hypothesis and no support for the second and third hypotheses. Implications for reducing racial biases and promoting inclusion in the workplace are discussed.

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Related Fields: Psychology