Organizational Characteristics as a Justification of Employment Discrimination
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This research explores the processes behind discrimination within organizations using the Justification-Suppression (JS) model. According to the JS model, internal cognitions, called justifications, can disinhibit prejudice and cause discrimination. The policies and characteristics of an organization can be a source of the justifications that lead to discrimination within organizations. To explore this hypothesis, participants completed a hiring simulation task. In this experiment, the racial makeup of the company was manipulated so that the company was either homogeneously White or racially diverse. In addition, company communications, in the form of e-mails, were manipulated to change the company's tolerance for discrimination. Both the demographics and communications manipulations led the participants to discriminate in their hiring decisions. When both demographics and communications indicated discrimination was acceptable, the degree of discrimination was greater than when there was a single source of justification. This implies that an organization's characteristics can lead to increased discrimination.