Princeton University Library Catalog

Leading On Thin Ice: The Effect of Race and Gender on Evaluations of Imperfect Leaders

Caton, Spencer [Browse]
Senior thesis
Shelton, Nicole [Browse]
Fiske, Susan [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year:
56 pages
Summary note:
There is a wealth of literature on the challenges facing women and minority groups in their quest for leadership positions in business, politics, and other domains. However, less research addresses the challenges they face once they reach these positions. Still less addresses the unique problems of double minority group members in these positions. This study was designed to address some of these gaps. Our research question is: How are double minorities evaluated relative to single minorities and majority group members after committing a competency-related error? We addressed this question through a survey-based experiment. Princeton University students and online survey takers rated targets on various leadership qualities before and after they had committed an error. The results supported the idea that double minorities were buffered from relatively negative leadership evaluations at baseline but lost that relative advantage once they committed a competency-related error. However, our theoretical bases for these hypotheses were not supported as the effects were seen across high- and low-status conditions. Future experiments are proposed to address these mixed findings.