Reversing the Queue: Performance, Legitimacy, and Minority Hiring

42 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2010

See all articles by Andrew Hill

Andrew Hill

Harvard Business School

David A. Thomas

Harvard Business School

Date Written: September 16, 2010

Abstract

Studies of minority hiring have found that poor-performing firms or firms in highly competitive contexts are more likely to hire minority candidates. However, most work has examined hiring for entry and mid-level positions, not senior management. Management positions differ in terms of the amount of uncertainty in identifying candidates qualified for the job; in the intensity of external evaluations of both managerial and firm performance; and in the level of accountability for that performance. Furthermore, the influence of senior minority managers on hiring practices may differ substantially, depending on where a manager sits in the firm’s hierarchy. Examining hiring practices on coaching staffs of teams in America’s National Football League, from 1970-2007, we find that better-performing teams are less likely to hire minorities to fill lower-level and mid-level coaching positions (as predicted by prior literature on labor queues), but that such teams are more likely to hire minorities into leadership positions. We also find that minority head coaches hire more minorities for subordinate coaching jobs, but that the presence of a minority offensive or defensive coordinator (with a white head coach) is a significant, negative predictor of minority hiring in junior and mid-level positions.

Suggested Citation

Hill, Andrew and Thomas, David A., Reversing the Queue: Performance, Legitimacy, and Minority Hiring (September 16, 2010). Harvard Business School Organizational Behavior Unit Working Paper No. 11-032. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1678586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1678586

Andrew Hill

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

David A. Thomas (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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