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Purpose – Are members of socially dominant groups aware of the privileges they enjoy? We address this question by applying the notion of hypocognition to social privilege…
Purpose – Are members of socially dominant groups aware of the privileges they enjoy? We address this question by applying the notion of hypocognition to social privilege. Hypocognition is defined as lacking a rich cognitive or linguistic representation (i.e., a schema) of a concept in question. By social privilege, we refer to advantages that members of dominant social groups enjoy because of their group membership. We argue that such group members are hypocognitive of the privilege they enjoy. They have little cognitive representation of it. As a consequence, their social advantage is invisible to them.
Approach – We provide a narrative review of recent empirical work demonstrating and explaining this lack of expertise and knowledge in socially dominant groups (e.g., White People, men) about discrimination and disadvantage encountered by other groups (e.g., Black People, Asian Americans, women), relative what members of those other groups know.
Findings – This lack of expertise or knowledge is revealed by classic cognitive psychological measures. Relative to members of other groups, social dominant group members generate fewer examples of discrimination that other groups confront, remember fewer instances after being presented a list of them, and are slower to respond when classifying whether these examples are discriminatory.
Social Implications – These classic measures of cognitive expertise about social privilege predict social attitude differences between social groups, specifically whether people perceive the existence of social privilege as well as believe discrimination still exists in contemporary society. Hypocognition of social privilege also carries implications for informal interventions (e.g., acting “colorblind”) that are popularly discussed.
In many organizational settings, status hierarchies result in the conferral of privileges that are based on achievement. However, in the same settings, status may result…
In many organizational settings, status hierarchies result in the conferral of privileges that are based on achievement. However, in the same settings, status may result in the bestowal of privileges that are unearned. We argue that these unearned privileges are often awarded based on ascribed characteristics, but are perceived to be achieved. We further argue that these misattributions occur because acknowledging that one has benefited from unearned advantages that are awarded in a meritocracy can be threatening to a person's self-identity. We propose that by studying unearned privileges in organizational settings, a more accurate assessment of status hierarchies may result.
This chapter examines the importance of social justice courses from a majority student's perspective and outlines some of the difficulties in offering these courses. It…
This chapter examines the importance of social justice courses from a majority student's perspective and outlines some of the difficulties in offering these courses. It discusses the benefits of social justice courses for both minority and majority students and focuses on the challenges of understanding and acknowledging the impact of the types of privilege and power that majority individuals experience. The concept of intersectionality, the compounding of injustice for individuals who have multiple minority identities, is explored. Finally, a four-phase model is proposed that can be used to describe the journey that majority students experience as they begin to understand the impact of privilege both on a personal and societal level.
This chapter examines the goals and outcomes of intergroup dialogue through the evaluation of a dialogue program between city and suburban high school students located in…
This chapter examines the goals and outcomes of intergroup dialogue through the evaluation of a dialogue program between city and suburban high school students located in Syracuse, NY. The Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism, Improve Race Relations and Begin Racial Healing (CWD) organizers share with a wide range of conflict theorists and practitioners the impulse to bring citizens together to talk about complex social conflicts. Two of the main goals of this program, to build participants’ understandings of institutional racism and white privilege, are examined here. Drawing on in-depth interviews with a small sample of dialogue participants, a framework is developed for categorizing participant awareness and understanding of institutional racism and white privilege. The analysis suggests that relatively modest levels of understanding of both concepts should be anticipated from participants both before and after completion of a dialogue of this type. While dramatic changes resulting from the dialogue are not found, the data indicate that the dialogue does have demonstrable impacts on the ways participants think and talk about institutional racism and white privilege. The central challenges faced by participants in understanding the concepts, specifically ability to personalize white privilege and capacity to adopt structural ways of thinking about institutional racism, are identified and described. This research helps to clarify the range of outcomes we can feasibly expect when bringing citizens together to talk about social conflicts by providing a qualitative framework for measuring awareness and understanding of white privilege and institutional racism.
Purpose – This paper aims to provide insight into high school students’ understanding and experience of citizenship and civic engagement in the United States…
Purpose – This paper aims to provide insight into high school students’ understanding and experience of citizenship and civic engagement in the United States today.Methodological approach – To supplement literature that reports the causes and correlates of youth civic engagement, this qualitative study explores the form and meaning of citizenship to young Americans. Drawing on observations and interviews with 116 high school students aged 14–19 years, this study explores how youth construct the meaning of citizenship and civic engagement.Findings – I find that race and racial identity are emergent in young people's construction of citizenship. Youth articulate the status of citizen on the basis of “privilege” and feel fortunate to be American. Forms of civic engagement vary by race with white students positioning themselves as helpers and delineating lower income minorities as “others” while also engaging in civic activity out of individual motivations and weak community connections. Minority youth express a desire to stay out of trouble, but also contest the boundaries of citizenship through forms of engagement that connect them to community.Value of paper – This paper contributes to understanding how race is emergent for young people's definitions of citizenship and civic actions. In addition to demonstrating how the categories of race and citizen are mutually constructed, it shows the value of looking beyond simple measurements of civic activity and exploring the meaning of youth civic work to gain insight into contemporary youth and democracy.
Privilege is often silent, invisible and not made explicit, and silence is a key question for theorizing on organizations. This paper examines interrelations between…
Privilege is often silent, invisible and not made explicit, and silence is a key question for theorizing on organizations. This paper examines interrelations between privilege and silence for relatively privileged professionals in high-intensity knowledge businesses (KIBs).
This paper draws on 112 interviews in two rounds of interviews using the collaborative interactive action research method. The analysis focuses on processes of recruitment, careers and negotiation of boundaries between work and nonwork in these KIBs. The authors study how relative privilege within social inequalities connects with silences in multiple ways, and how the invisibility of privilege operates at different levels: individual identities and interpersonal actions of privilege (micro), as organizational level phenomena (meso) or as societally constructed (macro).
At each level, privilege is reproduced in part through silence. The authors also examine how processes connecting silence, privilege and social inequalities operate differently in relation to both disadvantage and the disadvantaged, and privilege and the privileged.
This study is relevant for organization studies, especially in the kinds of “multi-privileged” contexts where inequalities, disadvantages and subordination may remain hidden and silenced, and, thus, are continuously reproduced.
In management studies, assumptions surround the fixed, categorical and binary nature of male, ethnic and other privileges. Compared to white, middle-class men, “others”…
In management studies, assumptions surround the fixed, categorical and binary nature of male, ethnic and other privileges. Compared to white, middle-class men, “others” are typically assumed not to experience privilege. The authors counter this assumption by applying intersectionality to examine privilege's juxtaposition with disadvantage. The paper offers an elaborated conceptualisation of organisational privilege and insight into the agency employed by individuals traditionally perceived as non-privileged. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Using diaries and interviews, the paper analyses 20 micro-episodes from four senior minority ethnic women and men's accounts of intersecting ethnic, gender and senior identities. The paper identifies how privilege plays out at the juxtaposition of (male gender and hierarchical) advantage with (female gender and ethnic) disadvantage.
The fluidity of privilege is revealed through contextual, contested and conferred dimensions. Additionally, privilege is experienced in everyday micro-level encounters and the paper illustrates how “sometimes privileged” individuals manage their identities at intersections.
This in-depth analysis draws on a small sample of unique British minority ethnic individuals to illustrate dimensions of privilege.
It is often challenging to discuss privilege. However, the focus on atypical wielders of power challenges binary assumptions of privilege. This can provide a common platform for dominant and non-dominant group members to share how societal and organisational privileges differentially impact groups. This inclusive approach could reduce dominant group members’ psychological and emotional resistance to social justice.
Through bridging privilege and intersectionality perspectives, the paper offers a complex and nuanced perspective that contrasts against prevalent conceptions of privilege as invisible and uncontested.
– The purpose of this paper is to trace the genealogy of ethnic (white) privilege in US organizations and its continuing significance in organizations today.
The purpose of this paper is to trace the genealogy of ethnic (white) privilege in US organizations and its continuing significance in organizations today.
The paper relies upon the historical literature on work, culture, and society found primarily in the fields of labor history and sociology. It also references contemporary organization studies and sociological literature to illustrate the continuing significance of ethnic (white) privilege in the workplace.
There is an inexorable link between European global expansion and colonization, industrialization, and the racialization/ethnicization of nineteenth and twentieth century US organizations. Furthermore, the particular manifestations of ethnic (white) privilege today must be understood within its historical development and the new meanings whiteness has acquired within the workplace if scholars and practitioners are to be successful in creating inclusive workplaces.
The focus in this paper is on the USA and ethnic (white) privilege to the exclusion of other forms of difference and contexts. Suggestions for future research are provided along with managerial implications.
This paper provides historical insight into the formation of white privilege in organizations and constitutes a prelude to fully understanding its contemporary manifestations in the workplace. These insights suggest ways to disrupt inequality and create inclusive organizations that do not privilege one ethnic or racial group over another.
The passage of the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act has heightened awareness of the importance for companies to conduct internal investigations in appropriate circumstances when…
The passage of the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act has heightened awareness of the importance for companies to conduct internal investigations in appropriate circumstances when wrongdoing is suspected. When such an investigation is conducted, the challenges faced by the company may include whether to disclose voluntarily the results of the internal investigation to governmental agencies and regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Department of Justice, who are investigating the suspected wrongdoing and potentially threatening civil or criminal charges against the company. The decision as to whether to disclose such results is riddled with potential pitfalls, including the concern that disclosing information in this manner will waive the attorney‐client privilege or work product protection with respect to third parties, opening the door to a wave of potential lawsuits. This article discusses the doctrine of selective waiver, which allows a company to disclose privileged information to the government without waiving the privilege as to third parties. Some case law, including some recent district court opinions, supports the notion of selective waiver, at least in circumstances where the privileged information has been disclosed pursuant to an appropriately crafted confidentiality agreement. The majority view, however, is that once privileged information is disclosed to anyone, the privilege is lost and waiver therefore occurs with respect to all third parties, irrespective of whether a confidentiality agreement exists. Recognizing the conundrum posed by this unsettled area of law, the SEC recently has proposed