Workplace Inequality Common in United States, Study Shows
Black men with the same skills as White men are only half as likely to rise from supervisor to manager and Black women are only a third likely to do so, according to a recent study by Tulane University sociologist Dr. James Elliot and City University of New York professor Dr. Ryan A. Smith. The study, published in the June 2004 edition of the American Sociological Review, asserts that racial and gender inequality are alive and well in U.S. workplaces.
Elliot and Smith compiled statistics from two-hour interviews with 3,480 male and female workers from across the country. They divided workers into three categories: laborers with no power; supervisors with the power only to supervise; and managers with the power to hire, fire and set pay. From their statistics, Elliot and Smith determined that discrimination has common patterns throughout American workplaces, in both small companies and large Fortune 500 companies alike.
The findings suggest that race and gender are not separate sources of discrimination but compound each other in limiting access to power and promotion. Elliot and Smith found that superiors are much more likely to fill positions of power with subordinates of the same race and sex as themselves. This tendency toward in-group favoritism is stronger in filling higher-level managerial positions than in filling lower-level supervisory positions.
For more information about this study, contact Elliot at (504) 862-3010 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For a briefing report, visit <www.asanet.org/journals/asr/media.html>.
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