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Saturday, April 2, 2022

Race and reactions to women's expressions of anger at work: Examining the effects of the "angry Black woman" stereotype

Motro, D., Evans, J. B., Ellis, A., & Benson, L. 
(2022). The Journal of applied psychology, 
107(1), 142–152.


Across two studies (n = 555), we examine the detrimental effects of the "angry black woman" stereotype in the workplace. Drawing on parallel-constraint-satisfaction theory, we argue that observers will be particularly sensitive to expressions of anger by black women due to widely held stereotypes. In Study 1, we examine a three-way interaction among anger, race, and gender, and find that observers are more likely to make internal attributions for expressions of anger when an individual is a black woman, which then leads to worse performance evaluations and assessments of leadership capability. In Study 2, we focus solely on women and expand our initial model by examining stereotype activation as a mechanism linking the effects of anger and race on internal attributions. We replicated findings from Study 1 and found support for stereotype activation as an underlying mechanism. We believe our work contributes to research on race, gender, and leadership, and highlights an overlooked stereotype in the management literature. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.



Black employees have to overcome a myriad of hurdles at work based on the color of their skin. For black women, our research indicates that there may be additional considerations when identifying biases at work. Anger is an emotion that employees may display in a variety of contexts, often stemming from a
perceived injustice. Bolstered by cultural reinforcement, our studies suggest that the angry black woman stereotype can affect how individuals view displays of anger at work. The angry black woman stereotype represents another hurdle for black women, and we urge future research to expand upon our understanding of the effects of perceptions on black women at work.