Stereotypes bias person perception, hampering advancement in organizations for targets-often women and members of ethnic minority groups. Traditional stereotyping research adopts an inter-group perspective: comparisons are made between the ways in which targets belonging to different social groups are stereotyped. We adopt an intra-individual perspective on stereotyping and examine how a single target, belonging to multiple social groups, is stereotyped differently based on identity cues common in organizations. Participants interacted with a partner, a research confederate, in a series of e-mail exchanges. The partner used one of three e-mail addresses that subtly cued either the partner's gender identity, the partner's ethnic identity, or neither identity. This subtle identity cue led participants to stereotype their partner in very different ways, biasing recall in directions consistent with the positive and negative stereotypes associated with the different identities cued. Applications of the findings to the problems which stereotypes create for individuals and organizations are discussed.
Pittinsky, Todd L., Margaret Shih, and Amy Trahan. "Identity Cues: Evidence from and for Intra-Individual Perspectives on Stereotyping." KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP05-010, February 2005.