Affirmative Action at the University of Selkirk and Portrait of a Canadian Advisor

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  • Topic: Motivation, Victor Vroom, Expectancy theory
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Affirmative Action at the University of
Selkirk and the Portrait of a Canadian Advisor

#1) Perceptual Biases
The business department was biased towards the AAC’s work because the department was comprised of 85% of males. The majority of AAC members, on the other hand, consisted only of women faculty members and librarians who believed that academic facilities were dominated by men and that there were an implicit set of values that effectively excluded women. Since the majority of the members are women, this caused the AAC to be biased towards male faculty members and the university, since there were no male opinions in the group. The proposal that AAC formulated was very biased towards males, for example, it stated that women candidates with acceptable qualifications would be offered the position prior to any males. This could create an equity issue among the staff and could de-motivate them from their work and dislike the university.

Fundamental Attribution Error
In the case of Affirmative Action at the University of Selkirk, the audits being conducted could’ve gone wrong because of many biases. For one, women may not have been hired because of external causes of the fundamental attribution error, which are “explanations based on situations over which the individual has no control.” Specifically, an external cause would be if the female candidate’s qualifications did not match the job description and not necessarily because the university was biased against women.

The Halo Effect
The Affirmative Action Committee (AAC) could be biased towards the Business Studies department by not allowing the department to hire a woman in the finance area until they negotiated a plan together. The business department rejected the AAC’s plan in 1990 and did not re-negotiate with the AAC because the majority of the faculty did not support the AAC’s work and openly expressed their dislike for the AAC. This caused the AAC to demonstrate the halo effect, which is “is the tendency for a group’s overall impression to bias his or her assessment of another on specific dimensions.” To be more specific, the AAC formed a negative overall impression of the business department which biased the AAC’s assessment of the business department’s recommendation for hiring a female faculty member.

The Pygmalion Effect and Stereotypes
The Pygmalion Effect can be demonstrated in the case of University of Selkirk because men are seen as better qualified to be professors and so they are given more opportunities. In turn, male professors excel in their profession and do become particularly qualified for the job. For this reason, opportunities are rarely open for women. This is shown by the reluctant attitude of the vice-president, Academic in approving the 1989 proposal, because he felt that “the best candidates” were not being considered, which implied that women were not among the best candidates.

In the Portrait of a Canadian Advisor, a stereotype is made for the typical Canadian advisor. A stereotype is the belief that “all members of specific groups share similar traits and behaviours.” In this case, the stereotype of the typical Canadian advisor is male, between 40 to 50 years old and speaks English or French. Since our advisor was hired because he fit this description, we can say that his employment was due to external factors of the fundamental attribution error. Our advisor then complies with the Pygmalion Effect because he is expected to do well since he fit the stereotype, and judging by his answers in the interview, he believe that he is doing well.

The Golem Effect
In the case of the Canadian advisor, the Golem Effect is also in place for this advisor because his colleagues, spouses and counterparts perceive him as someone that has minimal involvement with the local culture and made little effort to learn the local language. They already have a predetermined perception of him and have low expectations of him, which may...
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