, Volume 38, Issue 1-2, pp 1-28

Gender Discrimination and the Workplace: An Examination of Rational Bias Theory

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Abstract

Previous research concerning the “rationalbias” theory of workplace discrimination has beenconfined largely to narrow student samples. This studyextends that work with an experimental-survey design in which employed participants were asked bothhow others respond to conditions classically elicitingrational bias discrimination, and how they believepeople behave in their own firms. Participants were 148 men and 158 women (88.6% Caucasian, 4.6%Hispanic, 4% Asian, and 2.8% other racialidentification) with graduate business degrees from apublic university. Results show evidence of continuingdiscrimination, and support the theory predicting rational biasgender discrimination in the workplace. Gender ofrespondent and locus of control (defined by Spector'sWork Locus of Control scale) are also shown to be related to rational bias discrimination.Suggestions are made for further development and testingof rational bias theory.