Race Matters -- in the Workplace: UVA Study Taps into Emerging Research Field. (Faculty Club)

By Hamilton, Kendra | Black Issues in Higher Education, January 17, 2002 | Go to article overview

Race Matters -- in the Workplace: UVA Study Taps into Emerging Research Field. (Faculty Club)


Hamilton, Kendra, Black Issues in Higher Education


A new study is shedding light on the ways in which Blacks and Whites manage conflict in the workplace. The bottom line, according to the author of the study, Dr. Martin N. Davidson, is that "race matters."

Davidson, associate professor of leadership and organizational behavior at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business Administration, posits a simple yet provocative scenario in "Know Thine Adversary: The Impact of Race on Styles of Dealing with Conflict," forthcoming in the next issue of the journal Sex Roles. Using two study groups -- a group of undergraduate students and a group of middle managers enrolled in an executive education program -- the participants were asked to assume the role of a product design manager at the fictional Ultimate Shoe Company.

The character in the case study had worked extremely hard, in partnership with a merchandising manager, to develop an innovative shoe that eventually brought substantial profits to the company. But rather than winning plaudits for the effort, the character was betrayed by the merchandising manager, who claimed primary credit for the joint success in a presentation before the company's president. The case study ended with the merchandising manager getting the president's congratulations and the product design manager sitting "stunned and angry" all alone in the meeting room.

What happened next, Davidson found, depended to a great extent on not just the race of the person imagining himself to be betrayed but also on the race of the betrayer.

In the first study group, which focused on 95 undergraduates at an "Eastern college," Davidson found that, while there were no differences between the emotional responses of Black and White students, their perceptions of the proper course of action were often significantly different.

Black participants were far more likely to say they would seek a direct confrontation with the offending party than their White counterparts. Similarly, they were far less likely to try to defuse or reduce hostilities in their interactions with the offender, indicating a higher tolerance for strong displays of emotion.

Interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, participants were more likely to show a preference for avoiding a confrontation when the offender was of the same race. That is to say, Whites were less likely to confront Whites over their behavior, and Blacks were less likely to confront Blacks.

The undergraduate study left a few lingering questions -- chief among them the question of "whether or not any of this matters for grown-ups," Davidson explains, hence phase two of the research. That study focused on 152 middle managers -- 96 of them Black, 56 of them White, all of them veterans of an executive education program sponsored by a graduate school of business administration.

The African American managers in this study group were found to be far less likely to opt for direct confrontation than the African American undergraduates, though they still preferred engaging the offending party to a greater degree than did their White counterparts.

By far the most startling finding of the second study, however, was related to the motives attributed to the offending manager.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Race Matters -- in the Workplace: UVA Study Taps into Emerging Research Field. (Faculty Club)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.