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Does having a foreign accent affect men and women differently? Effect of foreign accent and gender on employment decisions and negotiations

The Hypothesis

 

Hypothesis 1. Previous studies have shown that speaking with an international accent negatively affects perceptions of candidates (Purkiss et al., 2003, Deprez-Sims & Morris, 2010).
Therefore, we predict that candidates with a non-American accent (e.g., British, East Asian, Hispanic, and South-Asian Indian) will be viewed less favorably than candidates with a standard American accent.

Hypothesis 2. As existence of bias against women in workplace is widely demonstrated in both interview and promotion decisions (Marlowe,et al., 1996; Newmark et al., 1995; Biernat & Vescio, 2002), we hypothesize that males candidates will be rated more positively than female candidates, regardless of accent.

Hypothesis 3. Valian’s research (1999) suggests that foreign language ability may have negative influence on women. And speaking with an international accent is directly related to foreign language ability. Therefore, we predict that the effect of accent bias will have a greater impact on female than male candidates. More specifically, we predict that female candidates with foreign (i.e, East Asian, Hispanic, and South-Asian Indian) accents will be viewed least favorably, and male candidates with American accent will be viewed most favorably.

Hypothesis 4. Considering accents of other native English-speaking and Western European countries tend to be linked with more positive stereotypes, compared to accent associated with the rest of the world (Lippi-Green, 1994; Lindemann, 2005), we, therefore, hypothesize that candidates with British accent will be viewed more positively than ones with East Asian, Hispanic, or South-Asian Indian accents.

Abstract

The study examines the effect of international accents (British, East Asian, Hispanic, or South-Asian Indian) and gender on hiring and negotiation perceptions. Our results show an interaction between accent and gender: female candidates with international accents are less likely to be hired than female candidates with an American accent. But this difference does not occur for male candidates. We discuss implications and possible explanation of this finding, as well asfuture research directions to further explore this phenomenon.

Advisors: Professor Jeanine L. Skorinko

Student Researchers: Chuqiao Yang