Black applicants' reactions to affirmative action plans: Influence of perceived procedural fairness, anticipated stigmatization, and anticipated remediation of previous injustice

Jerel E Slaughter, Carrie A. Bulger, Peter D. Bachiochi

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This research was conducted to understand why Black applicants might react negatively to affirmative action plans (AAPs) designed to benefit them. Black engineering students (N= 2,480) reacted to 1 of 8 AAPs, to which they were randomly assigned. Two manipulations were used to form the 8 different plans: plan content (eliminate discrimination, recruitment, training, weak preferential treatment) and plan frame (affirmative action vs. diversity). The effect of plan content on job-pursuit intentions was mediated by perceived procedural fairness, anticipated remediation of injustice, and anticipated stigmatization. Job-pursuit intentions were related to interactions between perceived fairness and anticipated remediation, between perceived fairness and anticipated stigmatization, and between plan content and respondent experiences with discrimination and racism. Plan frame affected only anticipated remediation of previous injustice. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2437-2476
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology

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