Academic journal article Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table

Relationship between Self-Image and Attitudes about Working with Other Races

Academic journal article Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table

Relationship between Self-Image and Attitudes about Working with Other Races

Article excerpt

Relationship between Self-image and Attitudes about Working with Members of Other Racial Groups

The workforce is becoming increasingly diverse and often employees find themselves working with persons demographically dissimilar to themselves, e. g., persons of racial groups different than theirs. Identifying factors that may affect working relationships among employees who differ in terms of race may help employers create synergistic workplace environments (Umphress et al. 2007, 396). One's self-image of his or her personality may be one such factor. Rosenfield et al's. (1981, 17) found that White students' attitudes toward minorities were predicted by their self-image. The current study examined the relationship between self-image and attitudes about working with Whites and African-Americans.

Self-image is personality from the actor's perspective (Hogan 1996, 163). While utility of personality measures for personnel selection was questioned in the past (Guion and Gottier 1965, 135), personality assessment has become an accepted means to increase the predictive validity of multi-test selection procedures (Guion and Highhouse 2006). Selection procedures may include tests of cognitive ability, personality, and physical abilities. In fact, Hogan and Holland (2003, 100) argue that personality tests' validities can be improved when predictors and criteria are aligned by using socioanalytic theory and when performance criterion measures are narrowly defined. The current study was designed to examine the validities of very specific self-image dimensions as predictors of performance narrowly defined as attitudes about working with/for persons of different racial groups.


According to socioanalytic theory (Hogan 1996, 163), self-image is one's perception of his or her personality and it shapes the person's social behavior, as he or she strives for acceptance and status in society. In the current study, self-image referred to respondents' perceptions of themselves, including self-efficacy (Bandara 1977, 191), self-esteem (Jensen et al. 1982), self-concept (Banks 1975, 82), and self-identity (Rice et al. 1974). While these terms may evoke various connotations, Spitzer et al. (1966, 265) found they overlap greatly and are used interchangeably in the literature. They all refer to self-ascribed personal characteristics.

In an interesting study by Hogan and Holland (2003, 100), the researchers found that personality measures may be better predictors of job performance than past research has indicated. They attribute their findings to their use of socioanalytic theory to align predictors and criteria. Hogan and Holland (2003, 100) conducted a meta-analysis of 43 studies, all which had used the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) to predict job performance. The HPI, a 206-item true-false questionnaire designed to predict occupational performance, is based on the Big Five personality model (Digman 1990, 417). The researchers had subject matter experts classify criteria used in the studies as either "getting along" or "getting ahead" and identify the one HPI personality construct most similar to each performance criterion. They found that validities of personality dimensions (e. g., adjustment and ambition) were higher when performance criteria were more narrowly defined (e. g., shows positive attitude and values productivity), than when general criteria were used (e. g., getting along or getting ahead).

Attitudes and Contextual Performance

Socioanalytic theory (Hogan 1996, 163) argues that career success is greatly influenced by motives of getting along and getting ahead. Similarly, other researchers (Borman and Motowidlo 1993, 71; Motowidlo et al. 1997, 71) argue that personality uniquely contributes to job success. Campbell et al's. (1993, 35) theory of performance and McCrae and Costa's (1996, 51) framework for personality note the importance of self-image to performance. …

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