Is there a glass ceiling for ethnic minorities to enter leadership positions? Evidence from a field experiment with over 12,000 job applications

Mladen Adamovic, Andreas Leibbrandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We conducted a field experiment to analyze if there is a glass ceiling for ethnic minorities entering leadership positions in organizations. We submitted over 12,000 job applications, to over 4,000 job advertisements, to investigate hiring discrimination against six ethnic groups for leadership positions. Drawing on implicit leadership theory, we argue that ethnic discrimination is particularly pronounced in the recruitment of leadership positions. The results confirm this hypothesis. For leadership positions, applicants with English names received 26.8% of positive responses for their job applications, while applicants with non-English names received 11.3% of positive responses. This means ethnic minorities received 57.4% fewer positive responses than applicants with English names for leadership positions despite identical resumes. For non-leadership positions, applicants with English names received 21.2% of positive responses for their job applications, while applicants with non-English names received 11.6% of positive responses. This means ethnic minorities received 45.3% fewer positive responses for non-leadership positions despite identical resumes. Ethnic discrimination for leadership positions was even more pronounced when the advertised job required customer contact. In contrast, hiring discrimination for leadership positions was not significantly influenced by whether the job advertisement emphasized individualism or learning, creativity, and innovation. Our findings provide novel evidence of a glass ceiling for ethnic minorities to enter leadership positions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101655
Number of pages13
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Audit study
  • Correspondence testing
  • CV study
  • Ethnic discrimination
  • Field experiment
  • Glass ceiling
  • Hiring discrimination
  • Human resource management
  • Implicit leadership theory
  • Labor market
  • Leadership prototype
  • Recruitment
  • Resume study

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