The underrepresentation of minorities in management signals that the road to leadership is more complex for minorities than for majorities. The career advancement of women has been described in the literature as a “labyrinth” (Eagly & Carli, 2007), a road with unexpected twists and turns and dead ends, and there are strong indications that racial minorities’ experience is not any less complex (e.g. Greenhaus, Parasuraman, & Wormley, 1990; Ibarra, 1993; Rosette, Leonardelli, & Phillips, 2008). However, what these barriers specifically are and how they relate to each other is still unclear. Hence, the first two academic chapters of my dissertation focus on describing the barriers to equal opportunities in the workplace (Chapter 2), and on gaining a better understanding of the unique barriers faced by minorities in using their networks (Chapter 3).
Due to the underrepresentation of minorities in leadership positions, the extant empirical research on leadership has mostly been conducted with samples of leaders from the majority social category (i.e. White males). As a result, models of effective leadership are predominantly based on studies of majority leaders. Little is known about the extent to which there are differences between minority leaders and majority leaders in leadership effectiveness, and if so, why these differences arise and how these differences between leaders play out in a team context. The latter two academic chapters of my dissertation therefore examine how the underrepresentation of minorities in leadership positions leads to gender-biased perceptions of leadership effectiveness, thereby highlighting the precarious landscape that women need to navigate in order to be perceived as effective (Chapter 4), and what effective leadership entails for cultural minority leaders, thereby highlighting the need for an approach to leadership effectiveness that takes demographic contingencies into account (Chapter 5).
The aim of the four articles in this dissertation is threefold: (1) explaining how stereotypes and bias cause workplace inequality when it comes to leadership careers, (2) offering new ways to overcome bias, and (3) equalizing privilege between majorities and minorities. Together, these four chapters provide better insights into why workplace inequality occurs with regard to leadership careers and what the consequences are of these inequalities. These insights form the basis of several suggestions on how to create a work environment that offers more equal opportunities for minorities’ career advancement.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Underrepresented social groups, leadership, career, barriers, privilege, vertical career advancement, social categorization, social networks, authenticity, cultural metacognition
Promotor D.L. van Knippenberg (Daan) , A. Nederveen Pieterse (Anne)
Publisher Erasmus University Rotterdam
Persistent URL
Series ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management
Note For copyright reasons there is an embargo on this dissertation
Khattab, J. (2017, May 12). Make Minorities Great Again: a contribution to workplace equity by identifying and addressing constraints and privileges. (No. EPS-2017-421-ORG). ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from
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