Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2012

When Performance Trumps Gender Bias: Joint versus Separate Evaluation

by Iris Bohnet, Alexandra van Geen and Max H. Bazerman

Abstract

We examine a new intervention to overcome gender biases in hiring, promotion, and job assignments: an "evaluation nudge," in which people are evaluated jointly rather than separately regarding their future performance. Evaluators are more likely to focus on individual performance in joint than in separate evaluation and on group stereotypes in separate than in joint evaluation, making joint evaluation the money-maximizing evaluation procedure. Our findings are compatible with a behavioral model of information processing and with the System 1/System 2 distinction in behavioral decision research where people have two distinct modes of thinking that are activated under certain conditions.

Keywords: Prejudice and Bias; Selection and Staffing; Behavior; Groups and Teams; Decision Making; Performance Evaluation; Gender Characteristics;

Citation:

Bohnet, Iris, Alexandra van Geen, and Max H. Bazerman. "When Performance Trumps Gender Bias: Joint versus Separate Evaluation." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 12-083, March 2012.