THE ETHNIC ETHICAL LEADER: HOW PERCEPTIONS OF A LEADER'S ETHNICITY AND GENDER ALTER PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR ETHICALITY
Muhammad, Rabiah Sahara
Hanges, Paul J
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The present dissertation examines the role of ethnicity and gender on perceptions of a leaders' ethicality. Based on the literature of social information processing, people are recognized as leaders when the content of a perceiver's prototype matches the target's characteristics, attributes, and behaviors (CABs). With this dissertation, I add to the existing literature by testing whether categorizing someone as a leader is associated with perceptions of their ethicality. The goal of this dissertation is to examine if the most salient leadership CABS reported in the extant leadership literature are those that may be more consistent with stereotypes of White males than other demographic groups. I hope to examine if leaders may be perceived as less ethical as a function of their race or gender due to a mismatch between the perceiver's leadership prototype and the target's leadership CABs. Four studies were conducted to investigate these issues, with a focus on perceptions of leader's ethicality. In Study 1, participants generated the necessary CABS to describe leaders of different ethnicities, genders and contexts and rated these CABS on how much they fit with the idea of the leader. Study 2 exposed participants to a resume that had a description of a leader that varied in the leader's gender and ethnicity (White, Black, and Hispanic). Study 3 was a within-subject experiment that utilized an implicit assessment of participant's attitudes regarding the ethicality the leaders with an Implicit Attitude Test. In study 4, a between-subject design was used to test the role of context in influencing the salience of the ethnic/gender leadership prototypes. Specifically, the situational context (occupation) and ethnicity (specifically Black) were manipulated and MBA students rated the ethicality of the leader. This dissertation represents the first empirical investigation of leader ethicality through the lens of ethnicity and gender.