An examination of the mediators and moderators in the relationship between justifications, organizational contexts, and discrimination in personnel selection

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University of Alabama Libraries

Discrimination research has largely focused on what has been called old-fashioned racism. However, research exploring modern racism is a burgeoning area. This dissertation attempted to extend and build theory on modern racism by explaining when justifications and organizational contexts can lead people to discriminate in personnel selection situations. Explicit and implicit justifications are examined and tested using directives from leaders, coworkers, and customers. Additionally, two organizational contexts, diversity climate and the hiring context, are examined to determine when they may lead to discrimination. Three-way interactions are hypothesized among modern racism, submissiveness to authority, and agreeableness that are posited to affect one's propensity to discriminate. Finally, two mediation processes, stereotype activation/application and casuistry, are hypothesized as the psychological processes that explain the decision making process. Binary logistic regression was used to test the hypotheses. Results from three lab studies revealed that explicit coworker justifications led to both the selection of fewer and more Black job applicants. Stereotype activation/application mediated the relationship between explicit justifications and organizational contexts on the selection of Black job applicants but not between implicit justifications and Black job applicants. A complete discussion of the results along with the theoretical and managerial implications, limitations, and directions for future research are also presented.

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Management, Organizational behavior