Professor Explores Factors Related to Job Bias

Study Links Legal and Political Pressures to Management Opportunities

April 8, 2009

A study by Dr. Sheryl Skaggs of the School Economic, Political and Policy Sciences details how legal and political pressures can influence African Americans’ access to managerial positions.

The results of Skaggs’s analysis of data on the supermarket industry from 1983 to 1998 show that in the year after a lawsuit was filed against a particular supermarket, African Americans were more likely to enter management.

“The results tell us that African Americans fair better in terms of increased access to supermarket managerial positions when there is a strong, direct set of legal pressures and more general state political and social pressures for racial employment diversity,” explained Skaggs, an assistant professor of sociology and public policy.

The article, “Legal-Political Pressures and African American Access to Managerial Jobs,” appears in the April 2009 issue of the American Sociological Review.

The American Sociological Review (ASR) is the flagship, bimonthly publication of the American Sociological Association (ASA), which is a non-profit membership association for sociological researchers, practitioners and students based in Washington, D.C. and found in 1905. The ASR was founded by the ASA in 1936 with the mission to publish works of interest to the sociology discipline in general, new theoretical developments, results of research that advance our understanding of fundamental social processes and important methodological innovations.

Skaggs has research and teaching interests in the areas of workplace inequality, organizations, occupations and professions and broad social inequality. In addition to the ASR, her recent research has also been published in the American Journal of Sociology, Sociological Forum, Research in Political Sociology and Work and Occupations. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from North Carolina State University.

“The findings of this latest research suggest that more direct and indirect pressure for racial workplace diversity, particularly in management, is needed to create long-term changes and progress. This includes federal court diversity, progressive state policies and public and workplace support, such as unionization and public activism, for fair employment,” said Skaggs.


Media Contacts:  Teala Miller, UT Dallas Office of Media Relations, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
or the Audrey Glickert, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4320, audrey.glickert@utdallas.edu

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Dr. Sheryl Skaggs Dr. Sheryl Skaggs' article appears in the April 2009 issue of the American Sociological Review.

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