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Encouraging and promoting a diverse corporate environment is a welcome trait in America, unless you are a woman or a minority leader.
According to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado and University of Texas, women and minorities who promote diversity from corporate leadership positions tend to get lower evaluations from their bosses and colleagues than their equally diversity-valuing white or male counterparts.
“Our findings suggest that non-white and women leaders may increase their own chances of advancing up the corporate ladder by actually engaging in a very low level of diversity-valuing behaviour,” the report stated.
“By downplaying their race and gender, these leaders may be viewed as worthy of being promoted into the highest organisational echelons.”
Of the 362 executives polled in total for the research, women and non-whites alike were rated by their peers as significantly more valuing of diversity than white males were, but their efforts only earned them disfavour from their bosses.
According to the report, white males who valued diversity received a significant boost to their ratings in terms of their warmth and performance.
In contrast, for women executives specifically, diversity was negatively related to ratings for both variables, and for ethnic minorities it led to a negative effect on their performance ratings.
“Minority and women leaders’ engagement in diversity-valuing behaviour may be viewed as selfishly advancing the social standing of their own low-status demographic groups.”
The report also highlighted while the great majority of managers’ bosses in the study were white males, results did not vary when the bosses were women or ethnic minorities.
Women tended to be held to higher standards of warmth than men, and ethnic minorities tended to be held to higher standards of competence than whites.