Double standards and selection
Dissertation advisor: Dr. Lisa Slattery Walker
In this dissertation, I use status characteristics theory and the theory of double standards to investigate whether and to what extent race leads to the use of double standards in evaluating objectively measured task-related performance. I devised and conducted a two-design experimental study using job application files. In the first design, 43 respondents selected job applicants differentiated by performance, as indicated by relative class standing, and by race and performance. Results from this design indicated that respondents did use double standards to assess similar performances by white and black applicants. Respondents assessed the task-related performance of the white applicant with a lenient standard; however, respondents used a stricter standard to assess the similar task-related performance of the black applicant. In the second design, 53 respondents selected job applicants differentiated by performance, as indicated by relative class standing, and by race and performance. In this design, I informed respondents that they might have to justify their selection decisions. Results indicated that increasing respondent accountability lead to a decrease in the use of racial double standards. I provide explanations for the results obtained, implications for theory and organizations, limitations of this study and suggestions for future research.