Discrimination-Reducing Measures at the Relational Level
29 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2009 Last revised: 6 Dec 2010
Date Written: January 2, 2009
Social scientists have shown that bias and stereotypes are executed and reinforced not only in moments of decision making, like hiring or promotion, but also in day-to-day interactions and social relations (or lack thereof) at work. This article argues that discrimination-reducing measures taken by employers should address the relational level in addition to the individual level of discrimination. The authors discuss existing measures for reducing employment discrimination as focusing too narrowly at the individual level of discrimination. Building on the social science literature on the influence of job segregation on interactions, they then present research supporting the idea that restructuring work away from the traditional bureaucratic model can reduce inequality by changing the context of social relations and interactions from segregated/stereotype reinforcing to integrated/stereotype challenging. They provide suggestions for several other organizational changes that may lessen discrimination at the individual level and consider the legal implications of the measures that they identify.
Keywords: discrimination, implicit bias
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