Sex bias in hiring: Effects of job demands and applicant competence
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Managers in a large corporation evaluated application materials representing one of eight hypothetical job candidates. In order to examine the effects of two types of information on sex bias, three factors were manipulated in a factorial design: (1) Applicants were either male or female engineers; (2) they appeared highly competent or moderately competent based on academic performance; (3) they were applying for an engineering job that entailed either technical engineering tasks or managerial tasks in addition to the technical tasks. Greater discrimination against women occurred in evaluations for the technical-managerial job, even with highly competent applicants. These results are explained in terms of ambiguity: Because it was not obvious that applicants would succeed on the additional managerial tasks, the evaluators resorted to stereotypes in order to make their predictions.
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