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HBR选读:Why Aren’t There More Asian Americans in Leadership Positions?  

2016-12-23 03:54:29|  分类: 领导力与管理学 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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HBR选读:Why Aren’t There More Asian Americans in Leadership Positions?

 

 

Why Aren’t There More Asian Americans in Leadership Positions?

by Stefanie K. Johnson and Thomas Sy
 

December 19, 2016

 

 

Since the 1960s, Asian Americans have become the country’s “model minority,” largely due to significant increases in mobility that have mostly (though perhaps inaccurately) been attributed to education.

Asians do outperform other minorities and white people when it comes to education, employment, and income. According to 2010 data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Asians are better educated than other races, with more Asians age 25 and older having graduated college (52%) than white people of the same age (32%); Asians have a lower unemployment rate (7.5%) than whites (8.7%); and Asians, on average, earn more per week ($855) than whites ($765). Yet this narrative around Asians’ success obscures the fact that they are underrepresented in leadership positions, a phenomenon referred to as the “bamboo ceiling.”

A highly cited 2015 report on diversity in Silicon Valley by an Asian professional organization found that at five big tech firms (Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, LinkedIn, and Yahoo), Asians and Asian Americans are well represented in lower-level positions but underrepresented at management and executive levels. Asian Americans (including Indians) are 27% of the workers in these companies, but only 19% of managers and 14% of executives. In contrast, whites represented 62% of professionals and 80% of executives in these firms. This is worse than the glass ceiling effect that’s been identified for women; in these five firms, men are 42% more likely to have an executive role than women, and white men and women are 154% more likely than Asians to hold an executive role. And Asians represent only 1.5% of corporate officer positions in the Fortune 500, according to 2012 data.

Why aren’t Asian Americans advancing into leadership positions? Based on the psychology literature, we believe that stereotypes about Asians contribute to the problem in two ways: Stereotypes about Asians being highly competent can make Asians appear threatening in the workplace, and stereotypes about Asians lacking social skills make them seem unfit for leadership.

Stereotypes About Asian Americans

People hold stereotypes about Asians, as they do with any racial group. In two separate studies (by Ho and Jackson in 2001 and by Lin and colleagues in 2005), participants generated lists of all stereotypes they had heard about Asians. Similar items were clustered together, and two main stereotypes emerged: Asians are particularly high on competence (they were seen as successful and intelligent) and low on social skill (nerdy, antisocial).

The 2001 study found that people who saw Asians as particularly high in competence experienced greater admiration of and envy toward Asians; those who saw Asians as particularly low on social skill displayed greater hostility toward and fear of Asians. The 2005 study demonstrated the effects of these reactions, showing that individuals who held stereotypical views of Asians were less likely to want to interact with or learn more about Asians. For example, both high-competence and low-sociability ratings of Asians were negatively correlated with individuals wanting to be roommates with an Asian person. The authors of both papers theorized that whites are threatened by the “unfairly high” levels of competence possessed by Asians and essentially use the stereotype that Asians lack social skill as a pretext for discrimination.

Prototypes for Leaders

More problematic is the inconsistency between Asian stereotypes and the traits people tend to value in leaders. While business leaders are often expected to be competent, intelligent, and dedicated, they are also expected to be charismatic and socially skilled — along with masculine and dictatorial or authoritarian. This puts at a disadvantage Asian Americans, who, like women, are often seen to fit low to midlevel management positions but not top-level leadership. (It’s even harder for Asian women — they comprise only 3.1% of executives in the five tech companies mentioned above, while Asian men comprise 13.5%.)

In three studies, published in 2010 in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Tom Sy and his colleagues designed vignettes describing an Asian or white leader (Tung-Sheng Wong vs. John Davis) who worked in engineering or sales. Participants (business students and working professionals) read about the leader and then rated him on different dimensions of leadership. Asians were rated as lower on leadership overall, but more so in sales than engineering. They were seen as dedicated and intelligent but lacking in the prototypical leadership attributes of masculinity, charisma, and tyranny. The white leader who fit these prototypes was seen as more leader-like.

Cultural values may also contribute to the disconnect between Asians and leadership in the U.S., as Jane Hyun, the author of the 2005 book Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians, has suggested. For example, Eastern cultural norms encourage humility and deference to authority – but leaders in Western cultures are usually required to command authority and to promote themselves and their ideas. As Wesley Yang wrote in New York magazine, Western society teaches that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” while Eastern society teaches that “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”

More importantly, when Asians do act assertively, they may be penalized for violating the stereotype. This is similar to the double bind that women experience when ascending to leadership positions: competent and assertive women, who fail to meet the gender role expectation of being kind and empathetic, tend to be evaluated negatively.

A study by Berdahl and Min found that groups of student participants not only stereotyped Asians to be less dominant than whites, but also judged them negatively when they violated this stereotype. Their study found that among working professionals, East Asians (often stereotyped as the most deferential) who reported being more dominant at work also reported being harassed more in the workplace. So Asians face a double bind as well: If they act more dominant, they will be less liked, but if they do not project dominance, they will not be seen as leaders.

Implications

The general success of Asians tends to delegitimize diversity initiatives for this group, and this reinforces the lack of Asian leaders. If Asians do advocate for the advancement of their group, they could be penalized, because women and minorities who advocate for diversity are seen as less competent and lower performers. Tom Sy’s research also suggests that the bias against Asian leaders can decrease motivation to lead among Asian Americans, which can further exacerbate and reinforce the view that they’re not suitable for leadership.

It is time to rethink the “good leader” prototype of being masculine, dictatorial, and charismatic. Evidence shows that neither men nor women prefer to be treated in an aggressive fashion, yet that model persists as a valid expectation for leadership. As the population of workers in the United States changes, so too should models for leaders. In the meantime, businesses should focus on determining the competencies needed to fulfill a leadership job and then select leaders who fit the requirements rather than leadership stereotypes. If we do this, it is likely that more minorities and women will reach the top.

 


Stefanie K. Johnson is currently an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business. Her primary research relates to leadership, leader development, and diversity in organizations. She has published over 40 journal articles and book chapters in outlets such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. She earned her Ph.D. at Rice University.


Thomas Sy is on the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the University of California where he teaches and conducts research on leadership and teams. In addition to his research and teaching, Dr. Sy provides consulting, training, and coaching services to industry. He has served a variety of client organizations, including General Motors, Google, Boeing. His research has been published in a number of outlets, including the Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, as well appearing in popular media such as National Public Radio, London Times, Washington Post, and among others. Dr. Sy has also served in the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret).

 

 

以上内容摘自:

https://hbr.org/2016/12/why-arent-there-more-asian-americans-in-leadership-positions 

 

 

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