A Meta-Analysis of Sex and Race Differences in Perceived Workplace Mistreatment

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Despite the growing number of meta-analyses published on the subject of workplace mistreatment and the expectation that women and racial minorities are mistreated more frequently than men and Whites, the degree of subgroup differences in perceived workplace mistreatment is unknown. To address this gap in the literature, we meta-analyzed the magnitude of sex and race differences in perceptions of workplace mistreatment (e.g., harassment, discrimination, bullying, incivility). Results indicate that women perceive more sex-based mistreatment (i.e., mistreatment that explicitly targets a person’s sex) in the workplace than men (δ = .46; k = 43), whereas women and men report comparable perceptions of all other forms of mistreatment (δ = .02; k = 300). Similarly, although racial minorities perceive more race-based mistreatment (i.e., mistreatment that explicitly targets a person’s race) in the workplace than Whites (δ = .71; k = 18), results indicate smaller race differences in all other forms of workplace mistreatment (δ = .10; k = 61). Results also indicate that sex and race differences have mostly decreased over time, although for some forms of mistreatment, subgroup differences have increased over time. We conclude by offering explanations for the observed subgroup differences in workplace mistreatment and outline directions for future research.

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