- Mar 24, 2023
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Abstract of 3rd-icrpconf
Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Research in Psychology
Leadership Under Threat: A qualitative study on the experiences of stereotype threat among UK senior Black leaders
This study explores experiences of stereotype threat among senior solo status, Black leaders in UK organisations. The study highlights how the awareness of Black stereotypes and the resultant “psychic threat” response in predominantly white leadership contexts produces narratives of struggle, resistance and self-determination. The struggle is compounded by underrepresentation of Black leaders in seniormost roles. Therefore, the salience of “onliness and Blackness”, makes Black leaders targets of stereotypes. The study applied a critical incident technique (CIT), and interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), to gather and analyse18 episodic narratives of stereotype threat from a sample of 6 leaders. All leaders self-identified as Black, employed, most senior, and only Black person at their level in their organisation or department at the time. Participants were drawn from UK’s retail, banking, healthcare and global non-profit sectors. The study found that Black leader stereotype threat experiences fall into two categories; i.e., Black leaders experience threat to their leader/senior status, and threat to their perceived “Black interpersonal behaviour” in leadership contexts. Not all exposure to stereotypes led to experiences of stereotype threat. Contextual and perpetrator characteristics determined the appraisal of incidents as threatening or non-threatening. To resist and regain a sense of self-determination, Black leaders “downplayed their Black identity”, added effort to perform, challenged perpetrators, and sought feedback. Ultimately, the study concludes that although Black senior leaders enjoy the occupational privilege of senior status, the intersection of seniority and Black identity presents a complex psychological struggle that organisations need to address as part of anti-racism practice.
keywords: anti-racism, diversity, inclusion, onliness, solo-status