Self-reports versus unobtrusive measures: Balancing method variance and ethical concerns in employment discrimination research

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Abstract

Compared the results obtained from 2 different data collection methods employed in a study of the impact of affirmative action pressures on the recruitment practices of organizations. In the 1st study, bogus resumés portraying work and educational experiences of 2 racially different applicants were sent to 240 employment managers of companies with affirmative action programs. These data were collected unobtrusively (i.e., Ss were not aware of the experimental manipulation). In a 2nd study, another sample of 240 employment managers was drawn from the same population and asked to provide self-reports about employment action they would take if the 2 bogus resumés represented actual applicants. The 2 different data collection methods revealed strikingly different employment action techniques. Employment managers who provided self-reports were prone to treat the 2 applicants equally and somewhat more favorably in their employment decisions. In contrast, employment managers who were unaware of their role in the study tended to make more employment decisions based on the race of the job applicant. (6 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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