Part I – Share Your Thoughts (10 points):
1. Is it unfair for universities and employers to consider race or ethnicity as a factor in determining access to
2. Should jobs, opportunities, and positions of authority be distributed solely on the basis of merit?
The United States Court of Appeals said “yes” in this case and held that the University of Texas School of Law
may not use race as a factor in deciding which applicants to admit. Several years later (2003) the Supreme
Court ruled “no” in a similar case against the University of Michigan. Stating, the benefits of a racially diverse
program “are not theoretical but real, as major American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in
today’s increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people,
cultures, ideas, and viewpoints.”
Part II – Proven Performance Versus Potential
Do employers extend greater confidence in the abilities of members of the dominant group?
Do employer preferences contribute to sticky floors? Industrial and Labor relations Review, 69(3), 714-736.
Baert, De Pauw, & Deschacht (2016) studied the opportunities extended to potential applicants “applying up,”
or seeking a position above their current role. For their experiment, the authors sent pairs (male, female) of
fictitious job applications to real job vacancies and measured the subsequent call backs. They looked
specifically at two factors:
occupational level (the same or above the fictional candidates current position)
While they found no significant difference in terms of opportunities based on job-authority level, their results
point to discrimination of young women seeking to move above their current position.
Part II – Share Your Thoughts? (10 points): Continuing on the themes of “opportunity” and “diversity” we began
in part one of this discussion, answer the following:
Within a vigorous screening process, how do you weigh that “gut feeling” one candidate has greater potential
over another candidate equal in background and experience?
How do you avoid unconscious bias in these situations?
Do measures to decrease bias in applicant screening inhibit your ability as an employer to get to know the
character and integrity of your future hire?