2021 Funded Research

BLACK, LATIN, ASIAN, AND WHITE MOTHERS IN THE WORKPLACE: WHY THE MOTHERHOOD PENALTY ONLY APPLIES TO SOME RACES AND NOT ALL*

Existing research suggests that employers discriminate against mothers such that mothers are less likely to get hired compared to non-mothers, and if hired, they are offered lower wages (Correll, Benard, & Paik, 2007). People assess mothers as less competent than non-mothers (Cuddy, Fiske, & Glick, 2004). One explanation for this bias is that motherhood is a “status characteristic”. Status characteristic theory defines a status as a categorical distinction among people such as a personal attribute (e.g., gender, physical attractiveness) or role (e.g., motherhood, manager), that has a cultural perception or belief attached to it. People associate greater status worthiness and competence to some characteristics (e.g., non-mothers) than others (e.g., mothers). Thus, being viewed as a parent in the workplace is disadvantageous for women. However, most of the research examining the motherhood premium has been conducted with white women, and it remains unclear if Black, Asian, and Latin mothers may incur a similar hiring and wage penalty as White mothers. Intersectional theory posits that social identities, such as race or gender, do not operate as mutually exclusive entities; instead, identities and categories intersect and reciprocally shape social perceivers’ impressions and social targets’ experiences (Crenshaw 1989). Drawing from intersectional theory, through a series of experimental and field studies, I am examining whether the motherhood premium that White women suffer from, applies differently to non-White women. By doing so, I more precisely identify the mechanism through which the motherhood penalty operates.

Research conducted by Sreedhari Desai, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Crist W. Blackwell Scholar, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

*This proposal was awarded funding from the new partnership with Deloitte and the Center for Leadership and Change Management 

THROUGH A TRAUMA-INFORMED LENS: ADDRESSING DISCRIMINATION AND TRAUMATIC STRESS OF BLACK AND LATINX WOMEN AT WORK*

Black and Latinx women often experience symptoms of traumatic stress (e.g., avoidance and hyperarousal) when exposed to gendered racism in the workplace (Moody & Lewis, 2019; Velez et al., 2018). Given the double bind of being both a woman and a person of color, they are faced with greater incidents of workplace sexual harassment, hostility, discrimination, inadequate support, and career-limiting setbacks than White women, which negatively impacts their mental health (Berdahl & Moore, 2006).  Despite such harmful experiences, organizations often ignore its trauma-inducing practices, while placing the onus for resilience-building onto its Black and Latinx women workers. Coping strategies unique to Black and Latinx women (e.g., self-silence and Strong Black woman)  intended to relieve such work-related stressors have, instead, been found to heighten distress symptoms (Watson-Singleton, 2017). Studies on trauma of Black and Latinx women outside of the workplace revealed that appropriate social support attenuates maladaptive coping, as well as enhances emotional processing and well-being (Ajrouch et al., 2010; Aranda et al., 2001; Catabay et al., 2019).  For this reason, it is imperative that Black and Latinx women also receive adequate workplace support through a trauma-informed lens to reduce psychological demands and increase resources when enduring harmful work environments.  The aims of this study are (1) to examine the effect of workplace discrimination practices for Black and Latinx women on traumatic stress (intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognition and mood, anhedonia, dysphoric arousal, hyperarousal, and emotional processing); (2) to explore how workplace support mitigates the relationship between discrimination and traumatic stress symptoms; and (3) to assess the effect of specific employment support on workplace functioning (sense of belonging, absenteeism, and turnover intentions). Findings will help cultivate workplace interventions with a trauma-informed approach to address the needs of Black and Latinx women and enhance their career advancement and well-being.

Research conducted by Erica M. Johnson, LSW, PhD Candidate, Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University.

*This proposal was awarded funding from the new partnership with Deloitte and the Center for Leadership and Change Management 

HOW PERCEPTIONS OF WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE DIFFER BY RACIAL CATEGORY: AN EXAMINATION OF ASIAN AMERICAN WOMEN AS COMPARED TO WHITE AND BLACK AMERICAN WOMEN*

Organizational research has documented differences between perceptions of men and women at work and differences between Black and white workers. Far less research has examined other demographic groups, such as Asian Americans. With the increasing heat of “Anti-Asian hate”, we plan to study the role and perceptions of Asian American women in the workplace. Through a series of studies, we will examine differences in how Asian American women are perceived as compared to White and Black American women at work. We will examine perceptions of competence, social skills, and leadership skills across different demographic groups. Our goal is to document the different perceptions, challenges and opportunities, Asian American women face at work.

Research conducted by Coral Zheng, incoming Doctoral Student, Cambridge Judge Business School and Professor Sunita Sah, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations, Cornell University.

*This proposal was awarded funding from the new partnership with Deloitte and the Center for Leadership and Change Management 

THE PATH FOR WOMEN OF COLOR (WOC) TO ASCEND IN HEALTHCARE: STAKEHOLDER PERSPECTIVES IN NURSING*

Over 53% of women that held CEO roles had a clinical background, and 43.9% of them were nurses. Yet, this pipeline from bedside nursing to executive leadership has not effectively included WOC.  BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) make up 23.6% of the nursing workforce, but only 19% of first- and mid-level managers 14% of hospital board members and 11% of executive leaders.

No one sat down with me and said, Hey girl, this is how you play the game. This is how they do it, and this is how they win.” In her book The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table, author Minda Harts shares candidly with women of color how to play the game. Playbooks like this are essential for women of color (WOC) to succeed in any corporate sector.

This pilot study will build upon our prior work, with a focus on advancement of WOC along the nursing pipeline. To develop such a playbook, by women of color, for women of color, this study aims to understand the nuanced personal, interpersonal and organizational experiences of WOC in one of the largest industries (healthcare), inside one of the largest occupations within that industry (nursing).  We seek to understand the pathway for advancement along this trajectory from pre-nursing positions to executive leadership  of WOC by gathering the stakeholder perspectives of the following four key groups: (1) WOC in healthcare support positions (e.g., nursing assistants, medical assistants, and technicians), as this group currently mirrors the diversity of the population we serve and offer a natural entry-point into professional bedside clinical nursing; (2) nurses practicing clinically at the bedside; (3) nurses in middle management; and (4) nurses in executive leadership roles with varying scopes (e.g., roles in executive clinical nursing leadership, operations, finance, human resources, or strategy).  We will conduct semi-structured interviews to elicit nuanced details on their perceptions of the following:  1) the structural and cultural barriers they face in the workplace; 2) recommendations for organizational strategies; and 3) potential policy changes that can break down barriers and promote equity for and inclusion of WOC in healthcare leadership.

We anticipate that the results of this pilot study will inform strategic interventions designed to mitigate barriers and create opportunities for advancement of WOC along this pathway from pre-nursing positions to executive leadership.

Research conducted by Larissa Morgan, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, Nursing Professional Development Specialist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Adjunct Professor at the School of Nursing; Rebecca Trotta, PhD, RN, Executive Director of the Abramson Family Center for Nursing Excellence at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing; Dr. Jaya Aysola, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Equity Advancement and Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity.

*This proposal was awarded funding from the new partnership with Deloitte and the Center for Leadership and Change Management

UNDERREPRESENTED NEWCOMERS AND THE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF IDENTITY SHOCKS*

Onboarding processes are naturally laden with difficulties for newcomers. While adapting to an unfamiliar environment, new employees are tasked with assimilating socially as they gain knowledge around both formal and informal role expectations (Saks & Gruman, 2012). Underrepresented newcomers can face additional challenges (Hurst, Kammeyer-Mueller, & Livingston, 2012). Their underrepresented identities create nuanced hurdles for adjustment given the salience of an added distinction between themselves and the established members. One nuance to their adjustment includes shocks to their underrepresented identities. Identity shocks or offenses reflect experiences that make the newcomer’s underrepresented identity salient in an adverse way. These shocks likely vary across the source (e.g. colleague, supervisor), the impact (e.g. innocuous, harmful), and the perceived intent (e.g. tone deaf, overt). Moreover, these categorical differences likely have varying impacts on the newcomer’s adjustment. Through qualitative means, this work seeks to explore how these categorical distinctions around an identity-based shock for underrepresented newcomers impacts their socialization experience, particularly their social integration and adjustment.

Research conducted by Tianna Barnes, Provost Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Management, The Wharton School.

*This proposal was awarded funding from the new partnership with Deloitte and the Center for Leadership and Change Management 

MENTORSHIP SEEKING DURING CAREER SHOCKS: DO WOMEN OF COLOR HAVE MORE PRE-WORK?*

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted life as we know it and made diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in the US workplace more salient. Existing literature suggests that the career shocks created by the pandemic will disproportionately impact the careers of women and individuals from historically marginalized groups. Mentorship may address some of the career challenges that women and individuals from historically marginalized groups currently face. However, we do not fully understand how the intersection between gender and race influences how professional women of color obtain mentorship when experiencing career shocks. Our mixed-methods research seeks to understand how professional women of color seek and obtain mentorship as they transition back to working in person following remote work policies implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research conducted by Chantal van Esch, Department of Management and Human Resources California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Pomona, California; William Luse, Department of Management and Leadership University of La Verne, California; Cleopatre Thelus, School of Social Science, Policy, and Evaluation Claremont Graduate University.

*This proposal was awarded funding from the new partnership with Deloitte and the Center for Leadership and Change Management

UTILIZING COMPUTER VISION AND MACHINE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES TO REDUCE RACIAL HIRING INEQUALITY IN THE AMERICAN LABOR MARKET*

Organizations are increasingly engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. In response to social and political unrest, industry leaders are grappling with how to manage uncomfortable conversations and initiate necessary work in service of their underrepresented employees. With these initiatives comes reflection and revision around hiring and selection. It is within this space that my research calls attention. Implicit bias, microaggressions and other expressions of prejudice present themselves in selection decisions. Previous work addresses these biases at varying stages of the selection process, from application reviews to face-to-face job interviews. Yet, less attention has centered on the biases present in viewing applicant photos, particularly applicant attire in online job search platforms. In this work, I focus on job seeker attire in online job-seeking profile photos. I examine how varying signals of professionalism through attire in profile photos present unique challenges for minority applicants. For example, I consider the extent to which attire may positively or negatively impact the likelihood of employment. From this work, I hope to draw attention to hiring discrimination in a novel form by considering how decision makers examine online profile photos – an issue that is particularly relevant in the digital age of job selection.

Research conducted by Tiantian Yang, Assistant Professor, Department of Management, The Wharton School.

*This proposal was awarded funding from the new partnership with Deloitte and the Center for Leadership and Change Management 

WHAT DOES NOT KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER: HOW DO PAST EXPERIENCE OF OVERCOMING ADVERSITY LEAD TO BETTER PERFORMANCE AT WORK INSTEAD OF BURNOUT?

Organizational leaders and followers alike gain skills and “toolkits” that they use to navigate organizational life from their past experiences in life (Martin & Cote, 2019). However, not everyone has the same past experiences. Whereas some organizational members may come from relatively adversity-free backgrounds, others may have overcome various forms of adversity in the past. How do these past experiences of overcoming adversity shape the ways organizational members effectively navigate and lead organizations? The limited organizational scholarship on past adversity has characterized it as something to cope with, positing that how past adversity is perceived is key to organizational member’s coping effectiveness (Stephens, Townsend, Hamedani, Destin, & Manzo, 2015; Vogel and Bolino, 2020). Yet artists, popular press, and lay theory have long professed German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche’s aphorism that “what does not kill you makes you stronger.” We will build on theories of work enrichment (Greenhaus & Powell, 2006; Rothbard, 2001) and post-traumatic growth (Vogel & Bolino, 2020) to empirically examine how overcoming adversity in the past can make employees “stronger” in organizations.This will be done via a series of experiments and field studies.

Research conducted by Arianna Beetz, Doctoral Candidate, The Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania.

WHEN HELPING HURTS: ANTICIPATORY AND REACTIVE HELPING, RECIPIENT SELF-THREAT, AND HELPER OUTCOMES

Organizational research has documented how those who help receive positive treatment and outcomes in return (e.g., Podsakoff et al., 2009). However, because the literature suggests that most helping at work is reactive (i.e., employees give assistance after an explicit request), it has prevented thorough investigation of anticipatory helping—anticipating the needs of others and offering or providing assistance without being asked. We argue that such anticipatory helping may result in less positive outcomes for helpers. Through a series of experiments and field studies, we are examining why and when help recipients react more negatively toward helpers who engage in anticipatory helping. By doing so, we more precisely identify the distinct forms of helping at work (anticipatory vs. reactive) and when they lead to more (versus less) beneficial outcomes for helpers.

Research conducted by Michael Parke, Assistant Professor of Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.