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

Björklund, Fredrik LU ; Bäckström, Martin LU and Wolgast, Sima LU (2012) In The Journal of Psychology: International and Applied 146(6). p.579-594
Abstract
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... (More)
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. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
recruitment, norms, person-organizational fit, bias, discrimination
in
The Journal of Psychology: International and Applied
volume
146
issue
6
pages
579 - 594
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • wos:000308984600002
  • scopus:84866605468
ISSN
1940-1019
DOI
10.1080/00223980.2012.658459
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
11053356-38b4-4ce4-9b72-009cfaa8d7b9 (old id 2295037)
alternative location
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00223980.2012.658459
date added to LUP
2012-02-22 10:55:50
date last changed
2017-01-01 05:38:23
@article{11053356-38b4-4ce4-9b72-009cfaa8d7b9,
  abstract     = {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.},
  author       = {Björklund, Fredrik and Bäckström, Martin and Wolgast, Sima},
  issn         = {1940-1019},
  keyword      = {recruitment,norms,person-organizational fit,bias,discrimination},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {579--594},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {The Journal of Psychology: International and Applied},
  title        = {Company norms affect which traits are preferred in job candidates and may cause employment discrimination},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00223980.2012.658459},
  volume       = {146},
  year         = {2012},
}