Saturday, March 23, 2013

Media Portrayal of Race in Sports Reveals Biases in the Corporate World

"The U.S. may have its first black president and the Fortune 500 its first black female chief executive, but African-American CEOs continue to remain a rarity, a mere one percent of the chiefs of those 500 largest companies. How could this be at a time when diversity is a principal watchword of corporate America?   

A new study by Andrew Carton, assistant professor of management and organization at Smeal, and Ashleigh Shelby Rosette of Duke University provides fresh perspective on this anomaly in a way that suggests how difficult change will be. Findings suggest that what steers people's perceptions of African-Americans are stereotypes about blacks' leadership failings, biases whose persistence depends less on rigidity than on a mental flexibility that may not even be conscious." 

Cam Newton

"Buried in these press reports is a consistent pattern of associating losses with failed leadership when quarterbacks are black but not when they are white, and associating victories with quarterbacks' native athletic ability when they are black but not when they are white." 

You can find more of the summary on my Facebook page, At The Barbershop, here a couple very important paragraphs from the study.

"Black quarterbacks were perceived to be significantly more incompetent than whites when their respective teams lost, but this difference was not found when their respective teams won," write the researchers. 

For example, black quarterbacks of defeated teams were more likely than defeated white quarterbacks to be tasked by reporters for making bad decisions under pressure. In contrast, the study found that a winning black quarterback was more likely than a victorious white quarterback to be described by such phrases as "very dangerous on the run" or "making plays with his feet."   

Findings highlight ways in which corporations can manage perceptions of race among CEOs by instituting "perception-based reform" in addition to, or as alternative to, traditional diversity initiatives.

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