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The Influence of Racial Group Membership and Job Fit on Leadership Perceptions of Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Sandy Koch
Abstract:
The purpose of the current study was to investigate why Asian Americans are underrepresented in leadership positions compared to Caucasian Americans, despite being perceived as competent and skilled workers. Although extensive research has explored how stereotyping may contribute to a glass ceiling for women and other racial minorities in the workplace, research on Asian Americans' career mobility has been scarce. This study sought to address the gap in the stereotyping literature by examining how racial and job stereotypes influence leadership perceptions of Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans. In addition, this study explored whether raters' level of stereotyped attitudes towards Asian Americans would moderate the relationship between employee race and leadership perceptions. Contrary to expectations, results indicated that Asian Americans were rated lower on the leadership attributes than Caucasian Americans when job fit was good for Asian Americans (engineering position) and that this effect was more extreme when raters were high in stereotyped attitudes than low in stereotyped attitudes. By contrast, there were no differences in the ratings of Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans on the leadership attributes when job fit was poor for Asian Americans (sales position). Implications for research and practice are discussed.

TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE 1 Introduction 1 CHAPTER TWO 9 Literature Review 9 The Model Minority Myth 9 Leadership Categorization Theory 15 Lack of Fit Model 19 Leadership Styles 25 The Influence of Race and Job Fit on Leadership Perceptions 29 Individual Differences in Stereotyped Attitudes towards Asian Americans 36 The Current Study 37 CHAPTER THREE 39 Methodology 39 Participants and Design 39 Procedure 40 Stimulus Materials 41 Dependent Measures 45 Manipulation Checks 48 Stereotyped Attitudes Towards Asian Americans 49 Demographic Questionnaire 50 CHAPTER FOUR 51 Results 51 Manipulation Checks 51 Selection of Control Variables 52 Data Analysis 53 Hypothesis Tests 53 Research Questions 57 Findings for Research Question 1 and 2 59 Findings for Research Question 3 59 l

Summary of Findings for Research Questions 76 CHAPTER FIVE 81 Discussion 81 Overview 81 Leadership Perceptions as a Function of Employee Race 83 The Moderating Effect of Job Type and Stereotyped Attitudes 86 Limitations and Future Research 91 Implications for Practice 92 Conclusion 94 APPENDIX A: Background and Instructions 113 APPENDIX B: Stimulus Materials 114 APPENDIX C: Measures 124 APPENDIX D: Results Tables not included in Chapter Four 129 n

LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations Among All Variables used in Analyses 54 Table 2. Regressions Testing the Effect of Employee Race on Agency, Communality, Task Leadership, Relational Leadership, and Transformational Leadership 55 Table 3. Regression Testing the Effect of Employee Race and Job Type on Performance 56 Table 4. Results of Hierarchical Regressions Models of Agency Perceptions 61 Table 5. Results of Hierarchical Regressions Models of Communality Perceptions 64 Table 6. Results of Hierarchical Regressions Models of Task Leadership Perceptions 66 Table 7. Results of Hierarchical Regressions Models of Relational Leadership Perceptions 69 Table 8. Results of Hierarchical Regressions Models of Transformational Leadership Perceptions 72 Table 9. Results of Hierarchical Regressions Models of Performance Perceptions 75 Table 10. Results of Hierarchical Regressions Models of Boss Desirability Perceptions 78 Table 11. Results of Hierarchical Regressions Models of Likeability Perceptions 79 Table 12. Results of Hierarchical Regressions Models of Perceived Job Fit Perceptions 80 in

LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Percent Chance to Rise to Management level, by Groups, as Compared with the National Average 12 Figure 2. Interaction of Employee Race, Job Type, and Stereotyped Attitudes on Agency 62 Figure 3. Interaction of Employee Race, Job Type, and Stereotyped Attitudes on Communality 65 Figure 4. Interaction of Employee Race, Job Type, and Stereotyped Attitudes on Task Leadership 67 Figure 5. Interaction of Employee Race, Job Type, and Stereotyped Attitudes on Relational Leadership 70 Figure 6. Interaction of Employee Race, Job Type, and Stereotyped Attitudes on Transformational Leadership 73 Figure 7. Interaction of Employee Race, Job Type, and Stereotyped Atttudes on Performance 76 IV

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS There are a number of individuals I would like to thank for lending me their expertise, guidance, and support during my graduate studies. I am especially grateful for my dissertation sponsor, Dr. Caryn Block, who has been a wonderful mentor, advisor, and teacher from the start of my graduate program. Her thoughtful and detailed feedback, patience, and encouragement motivated me to persevere through the complicated dissertation process. Thank you for sharing your passion for research with me and for making my dissertation a rewarding experience. I would also like to thank the other members of my dissertation committee. Dr. Elissa Perry provided invaluable insight as I tried to make meaning of my dissertation results. Dr. Loriann Roberson, Dr. Michael Lau and Dr. Joel Brockner offered thoughtful feedback and helpful advice on the statistical analyses for my dissertation. Thank you to my entire dissertation committee for providing your guidance and fostering my growth as a researcher. I am grateful for the many students that I have learned from, laughed with, and commiserated with over the years. I am especially thankful for the steadfast friendship of Benjamin Liberman and Kari Sasada. Thank you also to Amy Beacom, Rebecca Zusman, LaToya Ingram, Marina Field, and Yvonne Li who made my years in the program so memorable. Although my educational endeavors took me far from my family, they have been a bedrock of support for me throughout my life. My parents, Gerry and Cassie Uyekubo, always encouraged me to work hard, pursue excellence, and examine the world with curious eyes. Thank you for believing in me and supporting me, even when I took the road less traveled. My sister, Stacy Uyekubo, has been my role model and inspiration. Thank you for leading the way. My Aunt, Dorothy Sakai, cheered my accomplishments v

and sustained me during my setbacks. Thank you for your unconditional love and encouragement - you always made me feel that the warmth of Hawaii was close by. Last but not least, I would like to thank my husband, Jeffrey Koch, for filling my life with laughter and adventure. Thank you for your tireless support, love, and humor. From the day you literally tangoed into my life, you have been my best friend. I feel incredibly lucky to have met you and I cannot wait for the next chapter of our life together. VI

1 CHAPTER ONE Introduction Asian Americans are widely believed to have attained the American dream. As a group, they are better educated and earn higher salaries than Caucasian Americans (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006; U.S. Census Bureau, 2007a). In many organizations and educational institutions, Asian Americans are excluded from affirmative action and enrichment programs because they are not seen as disadvantaged (Bell, Harrison, & McLaughlin, 1997). Unlike other minority groups who lag behind Caucasians in educational and professional achievement, Asian Americans are thought to have overcome structural barriers in society and achieved economic success on par with the majority (Ho & Jackson, 2001; Thatchenkery, 2000; Thatchenkery & Sugiyama, 2008). They are often characterized as "model minorities," which other minority groups should emulate (Bell et al., 1997; Cheng, 1997; Kawai, 2005; Osajima, 1988; Wong & Halgin, 2006; Wu, 2002). Despite their achievements, considerable evidence suggests that Asian Americans experience difficulty advancing to leadership positions in the workplace (Bell et al., 1997; Roberson & Block, 2001; Thatchenkery & Sugiyama, 2008). Asian Americans are underrepresented in senior executive positions and have lower salaries compared to similarly educated Caucasian Americans (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008; Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995). Asian Americans constitute 10% of professionals, yet they only make up 4% of managers in professional fields (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008; EEOC, 2005). By contrast, Caucasian Americans represent 79% of workers in professional fields, and make up 84% of managers in these fields (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008; EEOC, 2005). Even in industries where Asian Americans are more

2 highly represented compared to other minority groups, they are a smaller percentage of managers compared to African Americans and Hispanics (Der, Lye, & Ting, 1992; Tang, 1993, 1997). In science and engineering, for example, they trail behind other minorities in managerial representation and salary (Mervis, 2005; Miller, 1992; Tang, 1993, 1997; Wong & Nagasawa, 1991). Similarly, in higher education Asian Americans constitute 6.2% of faculty members, but only hold 2.4%> of senior administrative positions (Committee of 100, 2006). By comparison, African Americans and Hispanics hold 9.4% and 3.6%o of senior level positions, respectively (Committee of 100, 2006). At the highest levels of corporate leadership, the absence of Asian Americans is even more glaring. Asian Americans hold less than 1001 of 1 percent of all board directorships although they represent approximately 4%> of the U.S. population (Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995). These statistics suggest that there is a disparity between the model minority image and Asian Americans' actual success in the workplace. Although they represent a disproportionate share of highly educated workers in the United States, the number of Asian Americans in leadership positions is comparatively low. Scholars hypothesize that Asian Americans encounter a "bamboo ceiling" when they try to advance in the organizational hierarchy (Fisher, 2005; Hyun, 2005; Ong & Hee, 1993; Thatchenkery & Sugiyama, 2008). Considering that Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing minority groups in the United States and are expected to contribute significantly to the increase in the total labor force in the next two decades, it is important to investigate why this barrier exists (Ong & Hee, 1993; U.S. Census Bureau, 2007b). As organizations become more global and place a greater emphasis on employee diversity, they will need

3 to understand how to retain their minority employees. Increasing diversity among organizations' leadership is integral to maintaining their competitive advantage (Cox & Blake, 1991; Jackson & Joshi, 2002; Triandis & Bhawuk, 1994). The greatest impediment for Asian Americans in the workplace may be how they are perceived by others (Kim & Lewis, 1994; Leong, 1995). Although the model minority image is superficially positive, it perpetuates beliefs about Asian Americans that may hinder their career progression (Leong, 1995; Tang, 1997; Thatchenkery, 2001; Thatchenkery & Cheng, 1997; Woo, 1994). Asian Americans are stereotypically viewed as hard-working, technical, non-confrontational, intelligent, modest, and passive (Chung- Herrera & Lankau, 2005; Hastings, 2007; Thatchenkery & Cheng, 1997; Yammarino & Jung, 1998; Zane & Song, 2007). While these qualities are assets for entry and mid-level workers, they are at odds with the traditional conception of leadership in the United States. Successful leaders are typically perceived as assertive and individualistic, not passive and conforming (Eagly, 1987; Eagly & Karau, 2002; Heilman, 2001; Lord, Brown, Harvey, & Hall, 2001). The model minority image may reinforce notions about Asian Americans that have unintended negative consequences. Although Asian Americans are respected as competent workers, they are not seen as leadership material. Despite urgings from scholars (Cheng & Thatchenkery, 1997), research on Asian Americans' career advancement is scarce outside of Asian American studies (Landau, 1995; Yammarino & Jung, 1998). In particular, organizational research on Asian Americans and leadership is lacking (Bass, 1990; Cheng & Thatchenkery, 1997). Bass (1990) noted that the absence of Asian Americans from leadership research is troubling given their high level of educational and professional attainment as a group. The

4 majority of existing research on racial differences in leadership focuses on African Americans and Caucasians (Hooijberg & DiTomaso, 1996). In addition, research on the glass ceiling focuses predominantly on women and often neglects to address race (Cheng & Thatchenkery, 1997). Conclusions drawn from research on African Americans and women cannot be accurately generalized to Asian Americans (Cotter, Hermsen, Ovadia & Vanneman, 2001; Nkomo, 1992). Stereotypes associated with African Americans and women in the workplace differ from stereotypes of Asian Americans, which suggests they may be perceived differently as leaders (Chung-Herrera & Lankau, 2005). Therefore, research that improves our understanding of Asian Americans as leaders is sorely needed. There has been some research on how Asian Americans are perceived as leaders. Chung-Herrera and Lankau (2005) found that in keeping with the model minority stereotype, Asian American and Caucasian American managers were perceived as having more traits in common with the successful manager prototype than African American and Hispanic managers. However, despite their high correspondence with many of the traits in the successful manager prototype, Asian Americans were also rated poorly on important leadership traits. They were perceived to be less charismatic, more reserved, more quiet, more passive, more shy, more submissive, and more timid than the successful manager prototype (Chung-Herrera & Lankau, 2005). Caucasian Americans, by contrast, did not differ on these dimensions from the successful manager prototype. Although Asian Americans have many positive traits associated with them, they may not be promoted to managerial positions because of their poor ratings on certain leadership traits

5 (Chung-Herrera & Lankau, 2005; Fernandez, 1999). Further research is necessary to clarify what leadership traits Asian Americans are seen as lacking. There is some evidence that leadership perceptions of Asian Americans also depend on the job that they are in. Sy, Strauss, Shore and Muromachi (2008) examined whether technical performance and leadership perceptions of Asian Americans varied according to their perceived suitability with their job. Because Asian Americans are commonly seen as technically skilled but socially withdrawn, they predicted that Asian Americans would be rated more favorably on technical performance than Caucasian Americans in an engineering job compared to a sales job, which stresses social skills. Additionally, they hypothesized that Asian Americans would be rated less positively on leadership compared to Caucasians, in both job conditions. Results were as expected for ratings of technical performance, with Asian Americans rated higher in technical performance than Caucasian Americans in the engineering job, and rated lower in technical performance than Caucasian Americans in the sales job across three studies (with two industry samples and one sample of business students). These findings are in keeping with the model minority stereotype, which depicts Asian Americans as technically skilled and well suited for engineering jobs compared to sales jobs (Hsai, 1988; Leong & Hayes, 1990). Results were more complex for leadership perceptions. As expected, Asian Americans were rated lower in leadership perceptions than Caucasian Americans across all studies when they were in the sales job. However, in the engineering job, Asian Americans were rated similarly to Caucasian Americans on leadership perceptions by two industry samples, and rated lower than Caucasian Americans on leadership

6 perceptions by the student sample. The mixed leadership ratings given to Asian Americans in the engineering job indicate that it is inconclusive how Asian Americans are perceived as leaders when they are seen as good candidates for the job. If Asian Americans are rated similarly to Caucasian Americans as leaders, one would expect Asian Americans be represented equally in leadership positions in engineering. However statistics indicate that although Asian Americans are highly concentrated in technical jobs, they are underrepresented in leadership positions in these fields. Further research is needed to explain why Asian Americans are not advancing into leader positions, even in jobs that they are perceived to have an affinity for. In addition, this study used a general measure of leadership and therefore, it is unclear based on the results what areas of leadership Asian Americans are rated highly on and what areas they are rated poorly on. Considering that both positive and negative traits are associated with Asian Americans, a more nuanced leadership measure should be used to investigate leadership perceptions of Asian Americans. In recent decades, it has become clear that leadership is a multi-dimensional construct. Research and theory has developed a variety of ways of conceptualizing different dimensions of leadership (Bass, 1990, 1998; Dansereau & Yammarino, 1998; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Yukl, 1998). Agentic and communal traits are commonly used characteristics that are related to leadership behavior and have been used to understand leadership perceptions of men and women (Bass, 1990; Eagly, 1987; Eagly & Karau, 2002). Agentic characteristics include being aggressive, ambitious, strong, dominant, self-confident, and competitive; and communal characteristics include being warm, helpful, kind, sympathetic, nurturing and gentle (Eagly, Wood, & Diekman, 2000). In

7 addition, three of the most extensively researched styles of leadership are task-oriented, relational-oriented, and transformational leadership (Judge & Piccolo, 2004). Task- oriented leadership is defined as a concern with accomplishing tasks by executing task- relevant activities, whereas relational-oriented leadership is characterized by a concern with maintaining interpersonal relationships and tending to employees' needs and morale (Bales, 1950; Fleishman, 1953; Hemphill & Coons, 1957). Transformational leadership focuses on the ability of leaders to inspire and motivate followers to commit to the organization's vision (Bass, 1985; Bass & Avolio, 1995). Transformational leadership is considered important because senior leaders are assuming larger roles in implementing the organization's mission (Burns, 1978; Judge & Piccolo, 2004). To date no research has examined how Asian Americans are perceived on these leadership dimensions. A growing body of research has found that leadership perceptions are related to leadership attainment and performance appraisals (Epitropaki & Martin, 2005; Geissner & van Knippenberg, 2008; Hogg, Hains, & Mason, 1998). Scholars argue that perceived differences in leadership styles between men and women is a major cause of negative bias towards female leaders (Eagly & Karau, 2002; Eagly, Makhijani, & Klonsky, 1992). Like women, Asian Americans may also be subject to prejudice based on their leadership style. Previous studies on Asian Americans have only looked at perceptions of their general leadership characteristics (Chung-Herrera & Lankau, 2005; Sy et al., 2008). The current study extends previous research by investigating how Asian Americans are perceived on agentic and communal traits, task-oriented leadership, relational-oriented leadership, and transformational leadership. In contrast to the uniformly positive image of Asian Americans as model minorities, this study proposes that Asian Americans are

8 rated favorably on certain leadership dimensions and poorly on others. In addition, based on previous research (Sy et. al., 2008), it is not known whether perceived job fit influences leadership evaluations of Asian Americans. Therefore, a second purpose of the study is to explore whether leadership perceptions of Asian Americans differ depending on their perceived suitability with their job. In the following chapter, I will examine the veracity of the model minority image by reviewing Asian Americans' educational and professional attainment. I will then introduce leadership categorization theory as a framework to understand the negative impact of racial stereotypes on Asian Americans' career progression. Next, I will review lack of fit theory, which may provide a theoretical explanation for the influence of job stereotypes on leadership perceptions of Asian Americans. In addition to racial stereotypes, the stereotypes that evaluators hold about what is required to succeed in a given job may impact how Asian Americans are evaluated as leaders. This will be followed by a review of the research on agentic and communal traits, task-oriented leadership, relational-oriented leadership, and transformational leadership. Last, I will propose that Asian Americans will be rated differentially on these leadership constructs and explore whether leadership perceptions of Asian Americans vary based on the type of job they occupy.

9 CHAPTER TWO Literature Review The Model Minority Myth Asian Americans are perceived as model minorities in the United States, an ethnic group that has attained educational and economic success through hard work and determination (Bell et al., 1997; Cheng, 1997; Kawai, 2005; Osajima, 1988; Wong & Halgin, 2006; Wu, 2002). The term "model minority" was first used by sociologist William Peterson in the 1966 New York Times Article, "Japanese-Americans: A Success Story" (Cheng, 1997; Fong, 2002). Peterson (1966) cited Japanese Americans' educational achievement, high median-income, low crime rates, and lack of mental illness as evidence of their success. Since then, the model minority label has been applied to all Asian American ethnic groups (Friedman & Krackhard, 1997; Min, 1995; Thatchenkery, 2000; Thatchenkery & Cheng, 1997). Scholars have debated the accuracy of the model minority image and questioned whether Asian Americans have truly overcome structural barriers in society (see Wong, Lai, Nagasawa, & Lin, 1998, for a review). Although Asian Americans may not be as disadvantaged as other minority groups, extensive statistical evidence suggests they still face discrimination in their educational and professional achievement (Bell et al., 1997). Asian Americans are the most highly educated group in the United States, surpassing Caucasian Americans (Newburger & Curry, 2000). They have the highest school graduation rate compared to other ethnic groups (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007a). Forty-nine percent of Asian Americans have bachelor degrees or higher, compared to approximately 35% for Caucasian Americans, 15%> for African Americans, and 9%> for

10 Hispanics (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007a). Far from excelling uniformly as a group, however, only a small percentage of the Asian Americans achieve these exceptional outcomes (Hune & Chan, 1997; Kim, 1997; Trueba, Cheng, & Ima, 1993). Research by the Educational Testing service (Kim, 1997) indicated that Asian Americans formed a bimodal distribution, with a small population of students reaching high levels of education and a larger population of undereducated students. There was also a large variation in the educational backgrounds of the six major Asian American ethnic groups (Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asian and Southeast Asian) included in the study (Kim, 1997). Reporting Asian Americans' educational achievements in the aggregate is misleading because it ignores the tremendous diversity within the group (Kim, 1997; Thatchenkery, 2000; Woo, 2000). There are clusters of Asian American students that are high achievers, but there are also large clusters of students that are low achievers and have poor retention in school, suggesting that the model minority image does not apply to all Asian Americans (Hune & Chan, 1997; Trueba et al., 1993; Woo, 2000). The perception that Asian Americans have achieved resounding success in the workplace is also misleading. Research has found that despite their high overall level of educational attainment, Asian Americans have a lower return on investment on their education than Caucasian Americans (Cabezas & Kawaguchi, 1988; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1988; Wong, 1982; Woo, 1994). According to U.S. Census Bureau data (2006), Asian Americans earn less than Caucasians who have similar levels of education. The average income for Asian Americans with a Bachelor degree is $63,044, whereas Caucasian's average income is $72,429. Asians Americans with a Masters degree earn

11 an average of $83,563 compared to an average of $88,316 for Caucasians. Asian Americans with a Professional degree earn an average of $111,607 compared to an average of $150,570 for Caucasians (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006). At every level, Asian Americans have more difficulty translating their higher education into commensurate levels of income. In fact, the more educated Asian Americans are, the greater the gap in their income compared to Caucasian Americans (Becker, 1971; Tienda & Lii, 1987; Woo, 2000). The difficulty Asian Americans have in translating their social capital into salary parity suggests they face a glass ceiling in the workplace (Cheng, 1997; Daniels, 1988; Duleep & Sanders, 1992; Hyun, 2005; Min, 1995; Takaki, 1990; Tang, 1997; Thatchenkery & Sugiyama, 2008; Woo, 2000). The glass ceiling refers to invisible barriers created by attitudinal or organizational biases that prevent qualified individuals from reaching senior level positions in organizations (Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995; Yoder, 2003). The term has been used primarily to describe obstacles facing women seeking promotions in the workplace (Morrison & von Glinow, 1990; Yoder, 2003). To a lesser extent, the glass ceiling has also been used to describe barriers encountered by racial minorities in their career advancement (Tang, 1997). Numerous statistics indicate that Asian Americans are grossly underrepresented in senior level positions in organizations. In higher education, Asian Americans represent 6.2% of full- time faculty, but only make up 2.4% of senior administrative positions (Committee of 100, 2006). They are also underrepresented in the federal workforce, where Asian Americans are 6%> of federal employees, but only make up 3.72% of positions at senior pay levels (EEOC, 2006). Similarly, in private industry, Asian Americans represent 10%>

12 of employees, but are only 4% of the managers in these fields (EEOC, 2005). The 80/20 Initiative (2002), a national non-partisan political action committee devoted to achieving equal opportunity for Asian Americans, compared the career mobility of Asian Americans with other racial groups in these industries (see Figure 1). Their calculations were based on EEOC data from 2000-2002 and were validated by a senior EEOC official. The figure shows Asian Americans have less upward mobility Figure 1 Percent Chance to Rise to Management Level, by Groups, as Compared with the National Average compared to Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics in higher education, the federal government, and private industries. Although Asian Americans are believed to have surpassed other racial minority groups in their professional achievement, their career advancement is more restricted. Contrary to the model minority image of success, Asian Americans struggle more than Blacks and Hispanics to reach senior levels in organizations.

13 Even in fields that Asian Americans are overrepresented in, their career mobility is limited (Leong & Hayes, 1990; Miller, 1992; Tang, 1993, 1997; Wong & Nagasawa, 1991). Asian Americans are more than three times more likely to be scientists and engineers than their representation in the general population, but are comparatively underrepresented in management positions (Wong & Nagasawa, 1991). In Silicon Valley, where Asian Americans were 23.6 % of the high-tech manufacturing workforce in 1990 (Global Electronics, October 1992), they are highly represented among professionals, but are conspicuously absent from managerial positions. Although 21.5% of Asian Americans were professionals, only 12.5% were managers (Global Electronics, February, 1990, October, 1992, September, 1993). By contrast, Caucasian males were 50.9%) of professionals and made up 62.8%> of managers (Global Electronics, February, 1990, October, 1992, September, 1993). Similarly, a National Science Foundation survey of employees in science and engineering in the United States (Tang, 1997) found that Asian Americans are less likely to be promoted to management positions in science and engineering compared to Caucasian Americans and African Americans. The pattern of Asian Americans high entry into professional and technical jobs, coupled with their severe underrepresentation in management and executive positions, underscores the existence of a glass ceiling (Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995, 1997; Woo, 2000). Scholars coined the term "bamboo ceiling" to describe the pervasive obstacles Asian Americans face in their upward mobility (Fisher, 2005; Hyun, 2005; Ong & Hee, 1993; Thatchenkery & Sugiyama, 2008). One important factor that influences whether individuals are promoted to leadership positions is how their leadership skills are evaluated (Connelly, Gilbert,

14 Zaccaro, Threlfall, Marks, & Mumford, 2000; DeVries, 2000; Hollander, 1960; Levinson, 1980; Lord, DeVader, & Alliger, 1986; Rosette, Leonardelli, & Phillips, 2008). Researchers have speculated that racial stereotypes of Asian Americans may negatively influence perceptions of their leadership skills (Cheng, 1997; Cheng & Thatchenkery, 1997; Min, 1995; Wong & Nagasawa, 1991). Stereotypes are a deeply ingrained set of associations that link a set of characteristics with a group label and can influence perceptions and expectations of an individual's characteristics and behavior based on their group membership (Devine & Elliott, 1995; Linnehan & Konrad, 1999). Positive traits associated with being Asian American, such as being hard working, uncomplaining, technically skilled, docile, and quiet, may be liabilities in the managerial context (Mervis, 2005; Miller, 1992; Tang, 1997; Woo, 2000). Asian Americans' stereotypically passive interpersonal style is a poor fit for Western conceptualizations of leadership, which emphasizes aggressiveness and individuality (Tang, 1997; Woo, 2000). Despite being perceived as highly educated and technically skilled, Asian Americans may be seen as lacking the essential characteristics of a leader (Tang, 1997; Wong & Nagasawa, 1991). To date there is limited research investigating the effect of race on leadership perceptions (see Chung-Herrera & Lankau, 2005, for an exception). However, research has found that race impacts managerial promotion ratings (Landau, 1995), job suitability ratings (Hosada, Stone, & Stone-Romero, 2003), and subordinates' attributions and ratings of leaders (Ellis, Ilgen, & Hollenbeck, 2006; Rosette et al., 2008). Further research exploring how race impacts leadership perceptions is needed. The following section describes leadership categorization theory, which provides a useful theoretical

15 framework for understanding how racial stereotypes influence how Asian Americans are perceived as leaders. Leadership Categorization Theory Leadership categorization theory is based on cognitive categorization theory (Rosch, 1978), which posits that individuals create categories to help themselves organize and categorize information efficiently. These categories are organized in a vertical hierarchy from the most superordinate, inclusive levels to more detailed, subordinate categories (Rosch, 1978). Over time, people develop beliefs about the most typical traits associated with the prototypical leader based on societal norms, past experience, and interaction with leaders. These beliefs form the basis for leadership categories, which are standard examples of a leader called a leadership prototype. Prototypes consist of average characteristics of members in a particular category and serve as a reference point for making judgments about others (Linville, Salovey, & Fischer, 1986; Rosch, 1978; Rush & Russell, 1988). At the superordinate level, leadership prototypes serve as examples to help categorize and assess others as leaders or non-leaders. According to leadership categorization theory, individuals hold implicit theories about the traits and abilities that characterize the ideal business leader (Epitropaki & Martin, 2004; Lord, 1985; Lord & Alliger, 1985; Lord, Foti, & DeVader, 1984; Rush, Phillips, & Lord, 1981). Characteristics of the prototypical ideal leader include intelligent, aggressive, verbal ability, industrious (Hogan, Curphy, & Hogan, 1994), self- confident, emotional balance, diligence (Bentz, 1990), decisive, energetic (Bray & Howard, 1983), analytical ability (Heilman, Block, Martell, & Simon, 1989) and task orientation (Eagly & Karau, 1991). Individuals engage in a recognition-based process by

Full document contains 139 pages
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to investigate why Asian Americans are underrepresented in leadership positions compared to Caucasian Americans, despite being perceived as competent and skilled workers. Although extensive research has explored how stereotyping may contribute to a glass ceiling for women and other racial minorities in the workplace, research on Asian Americans' career mobility has been scarce. This study sought to address the gap in the stereotyping literature by examining how racial and job stereotypes influence leadership perceptions of Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans. In addition, this study explored whether raters' level of stereotyped attitudes towards Asian Americans would moderate the relationship between employee race and leadership perceptions. Contrary to expectations, results indicated that Asian Americans were rated lower on the leadership attributes than Caucasian Americans when job fit was good for Asian Americans (engineering position) and that this effect was more extreme when raters were high in stereotyped attitudes than low in stereotyped attitudes. By contrast, there were no differences in the ratings of Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans on the leadership attributes when job fit was poor for Asian Americans (sales position). Implications for research and practice are discussed.