Organizational Behavior Research Seminar: HeeJung Jung

Tuesday, October 10, 2023 10:30to12:00
Bronfman Building Room 301, 1001 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 1G5, CA

HeeJung (HJ) Jung, Imperial College London

Title of talk: Self-Affirmation as a Job-Search Intervention for Racial Minority Job Seekers

Date: Tuesday October10, 2023
Time:10:30 AM -12:00 PM
Location: Bronfman Building, Room 301


Organizational efforts to reduce racial inequality in the workplace have proliferated in recent years, often targeting the demand side of the labor market. We focus on a supply-side intervention intended to benefit racial minority job seekers. Research in psychology, education, and behavioral medicine suggests that a self-affirmation intervention—a writing exercise in which participants affirm the importance of their core personal values—helps people maintain a positive sense of self and facilitates more adaptive responses to the psychological threat of negative stereotypes. In a field experiment with incoming MBA students at a North American university, we measured the effect of a self-affirmation intervention on students’ job-search behaviors and internship placement and, for a subsample, on their full-time job placement. Self-affirmed (versus unaffirmed) racial minority students attended fewer recruitment events of lower-ranked employers, and a greater proportion of the events they attended were hosted by highly ranked firms. Subsequently, they were more likely to receive offers from highly ranked companies. Similarly, in an experiment involving undergraduate job seekers, racial minority participants who underwent self-affirmation focused more on highly ranked employers and less on lower-ranked firms. Highlighting a potential mechanism for this effect, results show that self-affirmation boosted racial minority job seekers’ confidence in their ability to get a good job. At the same time, our findings caution that if a self-affirmation intervention is not complemented by institutional career resources, its impact on job placement among applicants to top-tier employers may be negligible, despite encouraging job seekers to aim high.

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