Leading with a Subordinate Identity: Heightened perceptions of women and minorities’ ethical behavior encourages greater engagement
Despite recent social movements calling for racial and gender equality, white males continue to wield tremendous amounts of authority in America. However, we suggest that individuals may prefer to work for minority leaders (i.e. non-white males) over majority group leaders (i.e. white males). Stereotype content model suggests that low-status groups such as women and racial minorities are stereotyped as warmer than high-status groups (i.e. white males) (Fiske, Cuddy & Glick, 2008). However, when women and underrepresented minorities are in leadership positions, they gain in perceptions of competence and are thus perceived as highly warm and highly competent. Across two studies, we demonstrate that white female, black male, and black female leaders are viewed as warmer, more ethical, and more engaging than white male leaders, but equally competent. Future studies aim to replicate our findings in more consequential settings. Our findings suggest that heightened perceptions of warmth and fairness increase individuals’ desires to work for women and racial minorities.