When Excuses Don't Work: the Persistent Injustice Effect Among Black Managers

Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 154, No. 43, pp. 154-183, 1998

30 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2006

See all articles by Martin N. Davidson

Martin N. Davidson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Ray Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the underlying dynamics of the differences between blacks' and whites' responses to social accounts-explanations or excuses for negative actions and events. Across four studies we found that when black respondents observed unjust behaviors toward a hypothetical black victim, social accounts had a weak impact on perceptions of injustice, confirming the presence of what we call the persistent injustice effect. We also found that social accounts have a weaker impact on perceptions of injustice than on disapproval of the harm-doer and posit that the persistent injustice effect results from a combination of in-group identification with the victim and the respondent's personal experiences with injustice. These two factors, we theorize, combine to create greater empathy for the victim.

Keywords: race,black,justice,excuses,social accounts,empathy,diversity

Suggested Citation

Davidson, Martin N. and Friedman, Raymond A., When Excuses Don't Work: the Persistent Injustice Effect Among Black Managers. Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 154, No. 43, pp. 154-183, 1998 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=938154

Martin N. Davidson (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4483 (Phone)
434-243-5020 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/Davidson.htm

Raymond A. Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-3992 (Phone)
615-343-7177 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://mba.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/rfriedman.cfm

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