First Advisor

Liu-Qin Yang

Date of Award

Spring 6-16-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology and University Honors






Personnel management, Organizational behavior, Courtesy, Discrimination in employment, Career development




In recent years, there has been an uptick in public awareness of systemic and structural inequities within the workplace. Organizational reward structures (i.e., performance-based and seniority-based) act as incentives for employees' contributions toward organizational goals, but could also motivate employees' drive for gaining or maintaining social status by undermining other employees, particularly targeting people with minority status. The proposed research will study the relationship between reward structures and the perpetration of incivility by accounting for perpetrators' social dominance orientation (SDO), their motivations to protect the status quo (MPSQ), and the presence of minority race targets. We draw from SDO, status incongruity hypothesis (SIH) and status quo bias (SQB) to add to the literature on reward structure outcomes, antecedents to incivility, and individual- and organizational-level factors that impact role discrimination (e.g., limitations in career advancement based on one's race). We will collect data by survey and video experiment from 400 working adults recruited online and in person. The SDO-7, an adapted measure for MPSQ, and experiment manipulations will be used to measure incivility towards Black and White targets in seniority- versus performance-based conditions. We hypothesize that there will be a relationship between seniority-based reward structures and the perpetration of incivility that is mediated by the MPSQ, where high SDO and the presence of Black targets will increase the likelihood of perpetration.


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