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Research Seminar

Moa Bursell & Fredrik Jansson: Ethnic Homophily and Social Influence in Workplace Preferences


Moa Bursell is a postdoctoral researcher in Sociology at the Institute for Futures Studies and a member of the Stockholm University Linnaeus Centre for Integration Studies (SULCIS). Fredrik Jansson has a PhD in Applied Mathematics and is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Analytical Sociology at the Institute for Analytical Sociology at Linköping University.

Ethnic Homophily and Social Influence in Workplace Preferences - An Experiment on Mechanisms of Workplace Segregation
This is a study about social influence and the gendered nature of ethnic workplace segregation. We use theories of homophily, status construction and social influence to explain Americans’ workplace preferences. Using an online-survey posted at Amazon Digital Turk, we find that European American respondents i) prefer to work with ethno-racially similar others, while individuals from minority groups preferred a more heterogeneous workplace composition. ii) Women are slightly preferred over men in general, and minority women are preferred over minority men in particular, and iii) male respondents expressed stronger preferences for European American colleagues than did women. We also find that for European Americans, ethno-racial preferences were not very stable: introducing social influence, we found that iv) attitudes can be altered both ways and the social information effect stayed with the respondents after the survey was completed. Minority attitudes were much more resistant to social influence. We also identified a couple of ideal types for the allocation of colleagues – preferences for: complete segregation, bounded integration and tokenism.

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