Sex discrimination and the affirmative action remedy: The role of sex stereotypes

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This paper explores the psychological phenomena of sex stereotypes and their consequences for the occurrence of sex discrimination in work settings. Differential conceptions of the attributes of women and men are shown to extend to women and men managers, and the lack of fit model is used to explain how stereotypes about women can detrimentally affect their career progress. Commonly-occurring organizational conditions which facilitate the use of stereotypes in personnel decision making are identified and, lastly, data are provided demonstrating the way in which affirmative action programs and practices can act to promote the stereotyping of women suggesting, that rather than being a remedy for sex discrimination, such programs might in fact be another contributor to the problem. Conclusions focus on the importance of attending to the role sex stereotypes play in hindering women's career progress when procedures to combat sex discrimination in organizations are designed and implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-889
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


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