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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Race, Gender, and the Dynamics of Social Hierarchy Reversal

Robert Livingston, Assistant Professor of Management & Organizations, Northwestern University

This research examines the challenges of upward mobility for minorities in mainstream organizations. When individuals from traditionally low-status groups (e.g., Blacks, women) occupy high-status roles (e.g., leaders) or exhibit high-status behaviors (e.g., arrogance), this creates tension and discomfort due to the subversion of established/expected hierarchical arrangements. Using various methodologies, this session will demonstrate that “disarming mechanisms”— traits, attitudes or behaviors that signal warmth, humility, or deference—can lead to greater power and success among minorities by making them appear less threatening and adversarial to dominant groups. Data from several experiments, using targets as diverse as Fortune 500 CEOs, US Presidents, and NFL Football players, converge in demonstrating that disarming mechanisms benefit Black males, but can actually hinder White males. We will also discuss the ways in which race interacts with gender to affect leader outcomes.

Cosponsored by the Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School

Lunch will be provided.

An RSVP is not required as this is an open event.

  • Location:
    WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman Building, Room 102
  • Date:
    Thursday, October 11, 2012
  • Time:
    11:40 AM

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