The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether sexual minority candidates are viewed as less likely to fit-in in their work environments than heterosexual candidates and, hence, to their being evaluated as less promotable.
Consistent with previous research, the authors used a hiring scenario where evaluators saw one of four different resumes, which varied based on candidate sexual orientation and gender, yet were equal on all factors, including candidate qualifications. The research included a pre-test and manipulation check to ensure the validity of the authors’ research design.
As the authors expected based on stigma theory, gay and lesbian candidates were more likely to be perceived as unable to fit-in than heterosexual candidates. Perceptions of a lack of fitting-in were negatively related to promotability ratings, as were beliefs about the controllability of sexual orientation. However, counter to the authors’ expectations, gay and lesbian candidates were rated more promotable than heterosexual candidates. This presents a more nuanced picture of sexual orientation discrimination than has been offered heretofore.
Previous research has suggested that gay men and lesbians may be trapped in “gay ghettos,” yet there is little if any research on evaluations of sexual minority candidates in employment decisions beyond hiring. The present study extends research on sexual orientation discrimination by investigating whether decision makers are biased against gay and lesbian candidates in promotion decisions, and the factors that are related to promotability ratings.
Pichler, S. and Holmes IV, O. (2017), "An investigation of fit perceptions and promotability in sexual minority candidates", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 36 No. 7, pp. 628-646. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-02-2017-0037Download as .RIS
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