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Cultural Stereotypes in the Workplace

Is this a problem in your company?

Does your company have cultural stereotypes? 

Whether receiving a performance evaluation by a boss or periodic informal feedback from a manager, organizations are evaluation-intensive environments. As such, individuals from negatively stereotyped groups are often exposed to situations in which negative expectations may undermine performance.

 Organizations with a dominant decision-making style, such as “my way or the highway,” are more likely to engage in stereotyping and have a “hire employees like us” attitude. 

Another reason to closely examine stereotype threat in organizations is that huge racial and gender disparities in pay and advancement persist in virtually every industry in the US. The statistics are staggering. Although women make up 46% of the United States labor force, women comprise just 15% of Fortune 500 corporate board seats and just 3% of CEOs of these biggest revenue-generating corporations (“Quick stats,” 2009; “U.S. women in business,” 2009). 

Women and minorities are underrepresented in board positions as well as CEO positions. As of 2009, women comprise only 15.2% of Fortune 500 board seats, and fill only 15.7% of the corporate officer positions available (”U.S. women in business,” 2009). In total, African Americans, Asians and Latinos combined make up fewer than 3% of the Fortune 500 CEOs (Cole, 2008). Understanding how stereotype threat may contribute to these disparities is essential.  http://irle.berkeley.edu/files/2009/Stereotype-Threat-in-Organizations.pdf

By not including diverse employee’s skills and perspectives you limit the company’s problem solving and competitive abilities. 

 Does your leadership team treat people differently based on cultural perceptions?
Employees are more likely to leave an organization if they believe that stereotypes determine how they are treated. 

            There may be some indications such as: 

 Absenteeism 

 Poor employee performance 

High employee turnover 

Employee perceptions of bias based on stereotypes 

 Cultural stereotypes not only affect employee morale, and productivity, but also leads to dissatisfied customers and reduced revenues. 

 Remember, leaders are responsible for workplace culture. 

 Leaders set behavior standards through their words and actions. 

 Be a responsible leader. 

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