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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton October 23, 2013

An exploration of possible unconscious ethnic biases in higher education: The role of implicit attitudes on selection for university posts

Geoffrey Beattie, Doron Cohen and Laura McGuire
From the journal Semiotica


Despite efforts to deal with the underrepresentation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff in higher education, progress to date has been limited. We investigate the role of possible implicit attitudes towards ethnic diversity among staff and students at a leading British university. Ninety-six participants (48 White and 48 non-White) were presented with matched C.V.s of White and non- White applicants and were instructed to rate the suitability of candidates against two pre-defined job descriptions for positions at the same university (Lectureship versus Administrative role). Participants were also asked to shortlist two applicants for a subsequent interview, before completing a new multi-ethnic IAT. The new IAT assesses implicit attitudes towards BME groups as a whole, rather than focusing exclusively on a single ethnic minority. Evidence of implicit bias was observed in the IAT scores and in the White participants showing an own-race bias in terms of the proportion of Whites that they selected for the academic post, but not the administrative position. Implicit measures were a better predictor than explicit measures of actual shortlisting decisions. Policy recommendations are discussed.

Published Online: 2013-10-23
Published in Print: 2013-10-25

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston