A New Perspective on Preferential Treatment: The Role of Ambiguity and Self-Efficacy
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- Brutus, S. & Ryan, A.M. Journal of Business and Psychology (1998) 13: 157. doi:10.1023/A:1022950705299
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Knowledge of being selected preferentially has been shown to have negative effects. This study examined how changing the operationalization of preferential treatment to allow for perceptions of ambiguity in the nature of the selection decision may lead to changes in research conclusions. Eighty-four female undergraduates were led to believe they were selected to perform a mathematical task based on their merit, direct preferential treatment, or a more ambiguous or indirect preferential treatment. Results indicated that participants' self-efficacy levels affected their interpretations of the manipulation and performance. Implications for the study of preferential treatment are discussed.