The social psychology of tokenism: Status and homophily processes on wall street

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While conscious action may produce some inequality, most discrimination occurs through cognitive processes that are automatic and unconscious. I examine the role of two cognitive mechanisms that affect gender inequality in the securities industry: homophily preferences and status expectations. I argue that homophily preferences and status expectations are the general cognitive processes that produce the effects of "tokenism," which were originally identified by Kanter for female tokens. These processes also lead to differences in the experiences of male and female tokens. I use qualitative data on 76 Wall Street professionals to illustrate how homophily and status processes maintain and reproduce stratification in securities firms. Moreover, the compensation system in this industry, which rewards employees based on performance evaluations, aggravates the effects of these cognitive processes. Strong mentors, the possession of specialized skills, and objective performance indicators seem to mitigate these effects for a minority of women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-214
Number of pages26
JournalSociological Perspectives
Volume47
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004

Fingerprint

social psychology
industry
possession
performance
reward
discrimination
employee
minority
firm
gender
evaluation
experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

The social psychology of tokenism : Status and homophily processes on wall street. / Roth, Louise M.

In: Sociological Perspectives, Vol. 47, No. 2, 06.2004, p. 189-214.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{9c63e6235a7546d88b5cf92f1c63fb38,
title = "The social psychology of tokenism: Status and homophily processes on wall street",
abstract = "While conscious action may produce some inequality, most discrimination occurs through cognitive processes that are automatic and unconscious. I examine the role of two cognitive mechanisms that affect gender inequality in the securities industry: homophily preferences and status expectations. I argue that homophily preferences and status expectations are the general cognitive processes that produce the effects of {"}tokenism,{"} which were originally identified by Kanter for female tokens. These processes also lead to differences in the experiences of male and female tokens. I use qualitative data on 76 Wall Street professionals to illustrate how homophily and status processes maintain and reproduce stratification in securities firms. Moreover, the compensation system in this industry, which rewards employees based on performance evaluations, aggravates the effects of these cognitive processes. Strong mentors, the possession of specialized skills, and objective performance indicators seem to mitigate these effects for a minority of women.",
author = "Roth, {Louise M}",
year = "2004",
month = "6",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "47",
pages = "189--214",
journal = "Sociological Perspectives",
issn = "0731-1214",
publisher = "University of California Press",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The social psychology of tokenism

T2 - Status and homophily processes on wall street

AU - Roth, Louise M

PY - 2004/6

Y1 - 2004/6

N2 - While conscious action may produce some inequality, most discrimination occurs through cognitive processes that are automatic and unconscious. I examine the role of two cognitive mechanisms that affect gender inequality in the securities industry: homophily preferences and status expectations. I argue that homophily preferences and status expectations are the general cognitive processes that produce the effects of "tokenism," which were originally identified by Kanter for female tokens. These processes also lead to differences in the experiences of male and female tokens. I use qualitative data on 76 Wall Street professionals to illustrate how homophily and status processes maintain and reproduce stratification in securities firms. Moreover, the compensation system in this industry, which rewards employees based on performance evaluations, aggravates the effects of these cognitive processes. Strong mentors, the possession of specialized skills, and objective performance indicators seem to mitigate these effects for a minority of women.

AB - While conscious action may produce some inequality, most discrimination occurs through cognitive processes that are automatic and unconscious. I examine the role of two cognitive mechanisms that affect gender inequality in the securities industry: homophily preferences and status expectations. I argue that homophily preferences and status expectations are the general cognitive processes that produce the effects of "tokenism," which were originally identified by Kanter for female tokens. These processes also lead to differences in the experiences of male and female tokens. I use qualitative data on 76 Wall Street professionals to illustrate how homophily and status processes maintain and reproduce stratification in securities firms. Moreover, the compensation system in this industry, which rewards employees based on performance evaluations, aggravates the effects of these cognitive processes. Strong mentors, the possession of specialized skills, and objective performance indicators seem to mitigate these effects for a minority of women.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=3042753660&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=3042753660&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:3042753660

VL - 47

SP - 189

EP - 214

JO - Sociological Perspectives

JF - Sociological Perspectives

SN - 0731-1214

IS - 2

ER -