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The Effect of Social Dominance Orientation on Reactions to University and Employment Recruitment and Selection Policies

  • Author(s): Gutierrez, Angelica
  • Advisor(s): Unzueta, Miguel M
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation tests the competing hypotheses that social dominance orientation (SDO) reflects a specific desire to protect ingroup interests vs. a general desire to maintain status hierarchies by examining attitudes toward hierarchy-enhancing (i.e., legacy, word-of-mouth referrals) and hierarchy-attenuating (i.e., affirmative action) selection policies. Study 1 found that social dominance orientation (SDO) was positively related to support for legacy policies and negatively related to support for affirmative action. In a more direct test of the ingroup interest vs. general dominance hypotheses, Study 2 found that among Asian participants, SDO is negatively related to policy support when a legacy policy is perceived to benefit the ingroup (i.e., fellow Asians); however, when the policy is perceived to benefit the dominant group (i.e., Whites), SDO is positively related to support. Study 3 tested the general dominance hypothesis by examining attitudes toward selection policies used in employment (i.e., word-of-mouth referrals). This study found that SDO was positively related to support for word-of-mouth referrals when this recruitment strategy was perceived to benefit Whites, and negatively related to support for word-of-mouth referrals when this strategy was perceived to benefit racial minorities. In all three studies, the effect of SDO on the perceived quality of the university (Study 1 & 2) and hiring company (Study 3) was mediated by policy support. In all, these findings suggest that attitudes toward selection policies depend not on their specific content or effects on the ingroup, but rather on their impact on status hierarchies.

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