Fit for the Job: Biases and Perceptions of Leadership Performance of Gender-by-Race Groups
Cheung, Joey C.
- Women, especially women of color, remain underrepresented at the top of corporate leadership. Female leaders most often cite discrimination as the significant barrier for career advancement. The aim of this study is to examine the role of perception bias on evaluating leadership performance of different gender-by-race demographic groups. To examine leadership effectiveness, participants were ... read morepresented responses from student leaders who belong to one of four demographic groups (White men, White women, Black women, Asian women). These responses were paired with profiles that either accurately matched the demographic information of the student leader (profile of an Asian woman when an Asian woman provided the responses) or inaccurately matched the demographic information of the student leader (profile of a White man when an Asian woman provided the responses). Participants (N = 182) were randomly assigned to one of eight conditions (4 demographic group x 2 profile match) and were asked to evaluate the student leaders’ leadership performance. The results revealed that responses provided by White men were rated as significantly worse than all three women groups in performance, perceived power, warmth, competence, and confidence. In general, participants evaluated the responses similarly regardless of the accurate or inaccurate profiles, suggesting a lack of bias in evaluating leadership. Because this study is designed for an undergraduate setting, there are limitations to capturing the biases that may occur in upper management. Keywords: perception bias, leadership, stereotypes, intersectionality, gender, raceread less