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Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Work -- Psychological aspects


The present research investigated whether a target applicant's race and disclosure of their race in a personal diversity statement influenced White evaluators' perceptions of the applicant's egalitarian motivations and their likelihood of contributing to organizational diversity and inclusion outcomes. In Study 1 (N = 206), participants evaluated a diversity statement that was ostensibly written by a White or Black applicant who either referenced or did not reference his race within the statement. Participants judged Black applicants as more internally motivated to be egalitarian and White applicants as more externally motivated, regardless of whether they disclosed their race in the statement. Participants also judged Black applicants as more likely to contribute to diversity and inclusion outcomes than White applicants. Study 2 (N = 257) aimed to replicate Study 1 and tested a strengthened race disclosure condition. We again saw little evidence of race disclosure impacting evaluations of applicants: Black applicants were judged as more internally motivated, less externally motivated, and more likely to contribute to diversity and inclusion compared to White applicants. Study 3 (N = 297) aimed to further replicate and expand on these results by testing a disclosure manipulation wherein the applicant discussed the personal importance/centrality of his race. Once again, applicant race (and not disclosure) demonstrated consistent effects on applicant evaluations. Our results highlight flaws in the personal diversity statement evaluation process, such that factors beyond statement content (i.e., applicant race) influenced perceptions and outcomes of the applicants. Practical implications and solutions for applicant evaluation processes are discussed.


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