Published: Feb. 10, 2020 By


We seek to help solve the puzzle of why top-level leaders are disproportionately White men. We suggest that this race- and sex-based status and power gap persists, in part, because ethnic minority and female leaders are discouraged from engaging in diversity valuing behavior. We hypothesize, and test in both field and laboratory samples, that ethnic minority or female leaders who engage in diversity-valuing behavior are penalized with worse performance ratings, whereas White or male leaders who engage in diversity-valuing behavior are not penalized for doing so. We find that this divergent effect results from traditional negative race and sex stereotypes (i.e., lower competence judgments) placed upon diversity-valuing ethnic minority and female leaders. We discuss how our findings extend and enrich the vast literatures on the glass ceiling, tokenism, and workplace discrimination.