We demonstrate how organizational contexts influence status beliefs. Specifically, we draw from in-depth interviews conducted with current and former U.S. Foreign Service officers to explain how recipients of the U.S. Department of State Pickering Fellowship learn to accept a devaluing status belief about this accolade once they enter the Foreign Service. Within this organizational contex is an established belief that Foreign Service officers who are not the prototypical “Male, Pale, and Yale” workers must be “diversity hires” who have entered the department through a “back door” and have a “leg up” because of their race. This racialized negative evaluation becomes linked to the Pickering Fellowship and affects all fellows. Our study offers insights into the intersection of racial diversity and status processes in organizations.


Portocarrero, Sandra, and James T. Carter. November 1, 2022. “‘But the Fellows Are Simply Diversity Hires!’ How Organizational Contexts Influence Status Beliefs.” RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 8, no. 7: 172–91.