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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Is Empathy the Link? An Exploration of Implicit Racial Bias in the Workplace
by Thomas, Carla, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2019, 212; 13886253
Abstract (Summary)

Implicit racial bias is a prominent concern in today’s academic and popular discussions. The negative effects of implicit racial bias have been seen in both private and public forums. Society and, in particular, the workplace, is approaching a significant racial demographic transformation; however, as yet there are no effective approaches to mitigating the negative effects of implicit racial bias. This study examined how ethnocultural empathic response, as a psychological process capable of development, relates to the negative effects of implicit racial bias in the workplace. By means of a mixed-methods, phenomenological approach, this study’s 146 participants completed 2 online surveys and, of those 8 qualitative interviews were used to triangulate results. These online surveys are 1) The Scale of Ethnocultural Empathy—SEE, which measures ethnocultural empathic response, and 2) the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which measures implicit racial bias. Four key findings emerged from this study: 1) Ethnocultural empathy is a psychological phenomenon that contributes to an individual’s level of implicit racial bias; 2) Implicit racial bias in the workplace is perceived to be happening predominantly to other people, the result of other people’s actions, and having no lasting impact on those who observe it; 3) Ethnocultural empathy in the workplace is perceived to be demonstrated predominantly through appreciating cultural difference. 4) Significant relationships in 3 factors of ethnocultural empathy are related to implicit racial bias. This study offers an increased awareness of the aspects of ethnocultural empathy and contributes to an understanding of psychosocial factors, capable of development, that can mitigate the negative effects of implicit racial bias.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Watts, Caroline
Commitee: Stevenson, Howard, Tilin, Felice
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Chief Learning Officer
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Organizational behavior, Behavioral psychology
Keywords: Bias, Diversity, Empathy, Inclusion, Race, Workplace
Publication Number: 13886253
ISBN: 9781085648868
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