Support for employment equity policies: A self-enhancement approach

Ivona Hideg, D. Lance Ferris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The effectiveness of employment equity (EE) policies has been hindered by negative reactions to these policies. We draw on the self-enhancement literature to expand self-interest accounts of reactions to EE policies to explain inconsistent findings showing that both nonbeneficiaries and beneficiaries react negatively to EE policies. Across four studies, we found that self-image threat influences reactions to gender-based EE policies. Studies 1 and 2 established that EE policies threaten the self-images of both men (nonbeneficiaries) and women (beneficiaries). Study 3 found that those least likely to experience self-image threat when faced with a gender-based EE policy are the most likely to show positive reactions to EE policies, while Study 4 showed that both men and women react more favorably to EE policies when self-images threats are mitigated through a self-affirmation task. Implications for our understanding of reactions to EE policies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-64
Number of pages16
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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