UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An examination of contextual and individual factors that bias evaluation of female service employees in Canada Khan, Afsana Zerin


The purpose of this study was to extend the research on gender bias in performance evaluation of female employees in service industry by investigating the role of situational factors that combine with individual differences to shape customer bias towards female employees in Canada. Specifically, the study focused on the contextual factor of time pressure and individual differences in social dominance and modern sexism that influence individuals’ evaluations of female service employees. Further, the study also explored financial incentives as a second situational factor that undermines or weakens biased evaluations under time-pressure. The perspectives of aversive prejudice, social dominance theory, and modern sexism enabled me to delve deeper into these contextual factors and individual differences that shape customer biases. I have conducted three experiments to test the hypothesis. The results of Study 1 and 2 didn’t confirm my arguments that time pressure biases evaluations towards female employees; however additional analysis suggests that time-pressure matters in the evaluation of services and the organizational context such that differences in mean satisfaction ratings (bias) of male and female service employees tended to be greater under time-pressure condition than in the unlimited time-pressure condition. Likewise, I did not find support for my hypothesis in study 3 but additional analysis of the data suggests that financial incentive has an effect on customer evaluations under time-pressure such that customers tended to be less biased when provided with financial incentives. This analysis may encourage organizations to explore the potential use of financial incentive as a strategy to be considered to reduce biases in evaluations towards employees in particular when customers are under time-pressure to provide evaluations. The theoretical and practical implications for future research are discussed as well.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada