The White standard: racial bias in leader categorization.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In 4 experiments, the authors investigated whether race is perceived to be part of the business leader prototype and, if so, whether it could explain differences in evaluations of White and non-White leaders. The first 2 studies revealed that "being White" is perceived to be an attribute of the business leader prototype, where participants assumed that business leaders more than nonleaders were White, and this inference occurred regardless of base rates about the organization's racial composition (Study 1), the racial composition of organizational roles, the business industry, and the types of racial minority groups in the organization (Study 2). The final 2 studies revealed that a leader categorization explanation could best account for differences in White and non-White leader evaluations, where White targets were evaluated as more effective leaders (Study 3) and as having more leadership potential (Study 4), but only when the leader had recently been given credit for organizational success, consistent with the prediction that leader prototypes are more likely to be used when they confirm and reinforce individualized information about a leader's performance. The results demonstrate a connection between leader race and leadership categorization.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rosette, AS; Leonardelli, GJ; Phillips, KW

Published Date

  • July 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 93 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 758 - 777

PubMed ID

  • 18642982

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1854

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-9010

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/0021-9010.93.4.758


  • eng