UGent @ Work seminarie #4

08-07-2021 van 15:00 tot 16:30
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Brecht Neyt
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15.00h–15.25h Presentation Hannah Van Borm
15.25h–15.35h Feedback Stijn Schelfhout (discussant)
15.35h–15.45h Feedback other attendees

15.45h–16.15h Presentation Mariek Vanden Abeele
16.15h–16.30h Feedback other attendees

Presentation Hannah Van Borm

Title: Diving in the Minds of Recruiters: When do Stereotypes Affect the Hiring Chances of Women?

Authors: Hannah Van Borm and Stijn Baert


The question of whether or not women are discriminated against in the hiring process has occupied the minds of many, both in and outside of academics. However, to this day, no straightforward and clear-cut answer has been given. Indeed, the results of previous experimental research conducting correspondence tests in which fictitious job applicant profiles are sent to real employers to measure hiring discrimination towards women are very mixed (Kübler, Schmid, & Strüber, 2018).

Several theoretical explanations have been put forward in the academic literature to explain these mixed results, one of which is the theoretical account developed by Ridgeway and Kricheli-Katz (2013). In their theory, the authors argument that in a social-relational context, people automatically and nearly immediately categorise the other in terms of sex. This categorisation primes widely shared gender stereotypes in the perceiver’s mind, making them cognitively available to implicitly shape the perceiver’s judgements and behaviours in response to the other. According to the theory, the extent to which the mentally primed stereotypes are triggered and bias the perceiver’s judgement and behaviour varies depending on (i) how salient gender is in certain contexts and (ii) the degree in which the perceived person appears more ‘prototypical’ to a gender category. Whether the activation of stereotypes create disadvantages (i.e., ‘binds’) or advantages (i.e., ‘freedoms’) for the perceived person, depends, according to Ridgeway and Kricheli-Katz (2013), on both the content of the stereotypes and the context.

With this study, we aim to explain the varying results found in the academic literature regarding the hiring chances of women by–to the best of our knowledge for the first time–testing the theory developed by Ridgeway and Kricheki-Katz (2013) empirically in the context of the hiring process. More concretely, by conducting a state-of-the-art vignette experiment in the United States with people who have experience with hiring job applicants, we first identify different gender stereotypes and sequentially investigate whether the degree in which these stereotypical perceptions of women are triggered differs by the prototypicality of a person–manipulated through a person’s race (i.e., black women are typically perceived to be un-prototypical for their gender category) and employment gap (i.e., women with an employment gap due to caretaking responsibilities are typically perceived to be more prototypical for their gender category)–and the degree in which gender is salient in a particular context (i.e., taking into account both the gender composition of the applicant pool and the gender-type of a job). Lastly, we explore the extent to which these stereotypes are associated with women’s hiring chances, taking into account both the content of the gender stereotypes and the different contexts.

Discussant: Stijn Schelfhout

Slides: click here

Presentation Mariek Vanden Abeele

Title: The Science Behind Digital Wellbeing and Disconnection

Authors: Mariek Vanden Abeele

Abstract: Digital technologies such as smartphones and laptops enable an ever-present connectivity. This connectivity empowers us by helping us to manage our everyday life and reach our personal goals. But connectivity also threatens our autonomy. Digital technologies divert attention away from our primary activities, and, through them, we experience pressure to be permanently online and permanently connected. This paradox creates an urgent challenge. How can individuals balance connectivity and disconnection so that they reap the benefits, while minimizing the drawbacks? Current scholarship lacks answers to this conundrum. I argue that a key reason is because current approaches insufficiently integrate psychological, technological and social perspectives and fail to account for the dynamic nature of digital wellbeing.

Slides: click here