Denying white privilege in organizations: The perception of race-based advantges as socially normative
Two studies investigated the predictions that privileged group members tend to perceive their unearned advantages as normative for organization members in their workplace (Hypothesis 1) and that this perception limits their ability to perceive the ways in which their unearned advantages accrue to endow their group with privileged status. The concept of White privilege in organizational settings was used for Study 1 which included both Black and White employees who worked in a single organization and in Study 2 which included White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian respondents who worked across an array of industries. In Study 1, survey data was used to demonstrate that Whites experienced more unearned (race-based) advantages in the workplace than did Blacks. However, Whites were less likely to report an awareness of White privilege than were Blacks. Furthermore, qualitative data analysis provided convincing support that White employees perceived that their race-based advantages were normative and available to most organizational members; whereas Blacks did not share these perceptions. In Study 2, survey data replicated Study 1 findings and demonstrated that while minority status in an identity domain other than race increased the likelihood that individuals of a minority race would perceive White privilege, minority status in another identity domain did not affect the likelihood that White individuals would recognize White privilege. Implications for perspective-taking and intersectionality of social identities are discussed.
Academy of Management 2007 Annual Meeting: Doing Well by Doing Good, Aom 2007