Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The present study investigated the effect of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity policies on attitudes toward women who are hired into organizations that practice such policies. Managers attending continuing education courses served as subjects and evaluated bogus resumes for job applicants for managerial bank positions. The subjects were presented a case study in which two of the job applicants had already been selected for two managerial positions. In addition to rating the managerial characteristics of the selected job applicants, the subjects also rated the person who made the hiring decision;The independent variables manipulated in the study were (1) sex of hired person, (2) type of job (vice-president and assistant vice-president), and (3) type of organizational employment policy. The dependent variables were the managerial characteristics attributed to the hired persons and the person who made the hiring decision;It was predicted that when the female applicant was selected for the superior managerial position in an organization that practices equal employment opportunity, she would be perceived as possessing fewer managerial characteristics than the female applicant hired in the control condition. While the prediction of differential ratings for female applicants was not supported, a manipulation check revealed differential ratings for the item, "How much pressure do you think the bank president was under in making the decision?" The person making the hiring decision was perceived as being under the most pressure when the organization espoused a strong affirmative action policy. This was true when the male applicant was hired, as well as when the female applicant was hired. Ratings for the person making the hiring decision did not differ by type of employment policy. This finding along with the results of the manipulation check has implications for employees' attitudes toward policy makers compared with attitudes toward policy implementers;It was also predicted that the female applicants in all employment policy conditions would be evaluated less favorably than the male applicants in each corresponding condition. The results of the data analysis revealed no significant differences with a trend toward the female being evaluated more favorably than the male. This finding is explained by "evaluation apprehension". The reaction of the subjects to the superior and "unusual for a woman" qualifications of the female applicant also account for the results of the study;As an exploratory research project, the results provoke suggestions for further research. Therefore, some recommendations for future research on the effect of equal employment opportunity policies on attributions toward women hired into management positions are discussed.



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Sharon Harris



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114 pages