Affirmative Action: A Review of Psychological and Behavioral Research

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"In September of 1995, the Scientific Affairs Committee of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology created a subcommittee to review psychological and behavioral research on affirmative action. That review follows, and the nine members of the subcommittee are the authors of this report.

To provide some context, we begin with a brief review of important legislation and case law, and distinguish affirmative action from related concepts. A more detailed review of these matters will be provided by a second subcommittee. We then turn to the heart of the review -- research on evaluations of affirmative action and affirmative action plans (AAPs). After that, we review research on how the presence of an AAP affects non-target group members' perceptions of target group members, and the relations between target group members and non-target group members. We then review corresponding research on the psychological and behavioral effects of affirmative action on target group members themselves. To provide additional context, we briefly discuss the economic effects of affirmative action on target groups and on organizations. We close by drawing some general conclusions, by discussing the limitations of current knowledge, and by outlining some needed research."


Kravitz, D.A, Harrison, D.A., Turner, M.E., Levine, E.L., Chaves, W., Brannick, M.T., Denning, D.L., Russell, C.J., & Conard, M.A. (1997). Affirmative action: A review of psychological and behavioral research. (Monograph) Bowling Green, OH: Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.