Event Title

The Impact of Race and Offender Status on Small Business Hiring Decisions

Location

Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall

Start Date

2-4-2014 3:30 PM

Description

PURPOSE: Institutional racism and offender reintegration are salient issues in contemporary American society. This study explored racial discrimination and biases against ex-offenders on a local, small-business level. It was hypothesized that white non-offenders would be the most preferred job applicants while offenders of color (specifically African Americans) would be viewed as least favorable to prospective employers. SUBJECTS: Seventy-nine hiring managers at businesses of Entrepreneur status in the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce participated in this study. The sample was predominantly white (89.9%, n= 71) and mixed in gender (59.5% female, n=47 and 39.2% male, n=31). METHODS AND MATERIALS: This audit study utilized a factorial design featuring one of six fictitious job applicants with varying racial and criminal backgrounds. Cover letters, resumes, and surveys were distributed by mail to assess hiring managers’ reactions to and opinions of prospective applicants via numerical rankings and Likert scale items. ANALYSES: ANOVA and comparative means were used to analyze results. RESULTS: Though the anticipated racial and offender status hierarchies were congruent with expectations on some variables, they fluctuated on others. Ultimately, none of the findings achieved statistical significance and the null hypothesis was supported. CONCLUSION: Participants in this limited-scope study did not demonstrate a strong overall preference for candidates of a particular race group or offender status. Future studies may wish to replicate with larger samples.

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Apr 2nd, 3:30 PM

The Impact of Race and Offender Status on Small Business Hiring Decisions

Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall

PURPOSE: Institutional racism and offender reintegration are salient issues in contemporary American society. This study explored racial discrimination and biases against ex-offenders on a local, small-business level. It was hypothesized that white non-offenders would be the most preferred job applicants while offenders of color (specifically African Americans) would be viewed as least favorable to prospective employers. SUBJECTS: Seventy-nine hiring managers at businesses of Entrepreneur status in the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce participated in this study. The sample was predominantly white (89.9%, n= 71) and mixed in gender (59.5% female, n=47 and 39.2% male, n=31). METHODS AND MATERIALS: This audit study utilized a factorial design featuring one of six fictitious job applicants with varying racial and criminal backgrounds. Cover letters, resumes, and surveys were distributed by mail to assess hiring managers’ reactions to and opinions of prospective applicants via numerical rankings and Likert scale items. ANALYSES: ANOVA and comparative means were used to analyze results. RESULTS: Though the anticipated racial and offender status hierarchies were congruent with expectations on some variables, they fluctuated on others. Ultimately, none of the findings achieved statistical significance and the null hypothesis was supported. CONCLUSION: Participants in this limited-scope study did not demonstrate a strong overall preference for candidates of a particular race group or offender status. Future studies may wish to replicate with larger samples.