Disability status, stereotype content, and employment opportunities in sport and fitness organizations

Tiffany Wright (Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
George Cunningham (Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Publication date: 11 September 2017



The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of disability status among job applicants on stereotype attributions and personnel decisions. The authors also consider the possible moderating role of application qualifications.


Participants (N=247) took part in an experiment in which they evaluated job applications for a personal trainer position.


Applicants who had a disability were rated as warmer than their able-bodied peers, but ratings of competence did not vary based on the disability status. This was the case across levels of qualifications. The relationships between competence and work outcomes (person-organization fit and hiring recommendations) were stronger than those between warmth and these outcomes; however, the relationships were qualified by a significant competence-by-warmth interaction. As the competence increased, so did the ratings of the person-organization fit, but this relationship was stronger for persons rated as warm.


Persons with disabilities in the sport and fitness context face unique stereotypes, relative to their peers in other settings. These stereotypes influence their evaluation as job applicants.



Tiffany Wright and George Cunningham (2017) "Disability status, stereotype content, and employment opportunities in sport and fitness organizations", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 393-403

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: https://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-10-2016-0061



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