Investigating status conflict in teams led by women and ethnic minority team members

University of Sheffield

Project description

This PhD project will use two secondary datasets and a series of experiments to explore how teams led by white women and ethnic minorities manage status related conflict in newly formed teams. The project will draw on Expectation States Theory which highlights how individuals in newly formed performance-oriented groups are likely to be granted high and low status positions. In the absence of task expertise, diffuse status characteristics (e.g. gender, ethnicity) tend to be used as indicators of high status, meaning that women and ethnic minorities often occupy low status positions in teams. Recent work has found that teams seem to perform ‘better’ when ethnic minorities and women are in low status positions. This is theorised to occur due to the absence of status related conflict among team members, which illustrates the barriers that women and ethnic minority leaders face when adopting leadership roles. This project will therefore explore when and how minorities are able to overcome status conflict in these teams using an interaction process analysis methodology.  

Given the quantitative nature of this research, the successful candidate will have a very strong aptitude for research design and statistics and will have a background in psychology or a related discipline. They will be supervised by Dr Sam Farley, Dr Nicola Thomas, and Professor Jeremy Dawson from the Institute of Work Psychology, Sheffield University Management School.

International collaborator(s)

The project offers the opportunity to collaborate with Professor Eden King and Professor Mikki Hebl from Rice University’s Department of Psychological Sciences. Professors King and Hebl are experts in Diversity and Inclusion and have a longstanding collaborative relationship with Professor Jeremy Dawson. The plan is for the successful candidate to have a four week stay at Rice University in the final year of their studies, so that they can write up their findings for journal publication under the guidance of Professors King and Hebl, who would feed into the supervision throughout the PhD project.

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