Standing Up and Speaking Out Against Prejudice Toward Gay Men in the Workplace

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Journal of Vocational Behavior

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In this research, we examine prejudice based on sexual orientation in the workplace and strategies employees can use to confront it. First, in a qualitative investigation designed to examine some of the major assumptions of this research, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) employees and heterosexual “allies” highlighted the importance of confronting prejudice and reported hesitation in knowing how to do so effectively. Second, we then experimentally tested various previously-identified confrontation styles to (a) determine the implications of confronting (compared to not confronting) for the confronter and the perpetrator from a third-party perspective and (b) examine which style may be optimal. The results of this study suggest how observers of prejudice might intervene to (a) reduce the amount of backlash confronters receive, (b) maximize the perceived culpability of the perpetrator, and (c) elicit future confrontation behaviors among other observers: by engaging in calm confrontations that directly implicate the perpetrator of prejudice as being at fault.



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