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Publication

Ideology shapes how workers perceive and react to workplace discrimination: An experimental study on parenthood discrimination

Heiserman, Nicholas
Simpson, Brent
Abstract
Employers use ideologically-tinged rhetoric to justify workplace discrimination. We argue that workers will be less likely to label biased treatment against them as discriminatory when they subscribe to those ideologies as well. We tested this prediction and the consequences of labeling for work attitudes and performance using an experiment that assigned parents to a low-status position in a work group, varying whether the decision invoked biased, ideological assumptions about parenthood. As expected, ideology drove mothers' (but not fathers’) labeling. Mothers were less likely to label biased treatment against them as discriminatory when they were conservative and when they subscribed to separate spheres and ideal worker ideologies. Mothers who labeled their treatment as discriminatory had more negative work attitudes than those who did not, but also tended to appeal the decision. Ideology thus shapes whether people label discrimination when it occurs as well as their subsequent work attitudes and justice-seeking behaviors.
Date
2022-01-29