A Research Companion
Edited by Mustafa F. Özbiligin
Chapter 19: Headcounts and Equal Opportunity: People Accounting in the Workplace
Stephen M. Garcia, Mitchell J. Meyle and Eric A. Provins INTRODUCTION CEOs, executives, directors, and managers routinely decide the outcomes of highly competitive events, whether making the final call on a hiring decision or selecting one star employee among many to be the coveted ‘employee of the year’. In this latter case, for example, imagine that the two top candidates are Ms. Jones – a marketing analyst – and Ms. Smith – a financial analyst. Assuming they both are highly qualified, both candidates would have a 50/50 chance, so to speak, of earning the title of ‘employee of the year’. However, imagine further that in four of the past five years, the award has always gone to someone in marketing. In this case, we posit that the award-winning chances would precipitously fall for the marketing candidate and precipitously increase for the finance candidate. While affirmative action policies (Zuriff, 2004; Crosby et al., 2006) have arguably changed the way we allocate awards and opportunities on the basis of gender or race, affirmative action policies obviously make no special provisions for employees from ‘marketing’ versus ‘finance’. In this chapter, however, we extend the implications of a social psychological theory called ‘people accounting’ (Garcia and Ybarra, 2007) to human resource management to demonstrate how headcounts along a wide range of mundane social category lines have the potential to affect how we allocate rewards and opportunities in the workplace. 254 Headcounts and equal opportunity 255 WHY EVEN MUNDANE SOCIAL CATEGORIES MATTER The social categorization literature (Turner et...
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