Societies today are increasingly culturally diverse, meaning that people from different origins are living together (e.g., [1
]). Such diversity is often accompanied by discrimination toward specific groups despite the fact that anti-discrimination legislation has been widely adopted since the nineties (e.g., [2
]). To improve our knowledge regarding this impediment, scholars working in the field of intergroup relationships have proposed that interethnic ideologies of diversity (i.e.
, beliefs about how to manage diversity in diverse societies) can reduce discrimination and even more broadly reduce intergroup bias 1
. These ideologies have already been examined within educational and national contexts but only a few studies have directly made use of them within workplaces (e.g., [5
]). Moreover, while attitudes have been used as several times dependent variables, behavioral intention outcomes are still scarce, if not non-existent. A threefold contribution will be made to interethnic ideologies literature regarding (1) the concomitant impact of interethnic ideologies; (2) the investigated dependent variables; and (3) the role of bias as an underlying process.
Interethnic Ideologies and Intergroup Bias
Two interethnic ideologies have been conceptualized and contrasted in intergroup literature (e.g., [7
]). They are defined as systems of ideas that suggest “how to best organize a diverse society” ([10
], p. 338). The first ideology, called assimilation, is a kind of colorblindness ideology. It suggests that group differences should be ignored and that minority groups should adopt the majority group’s perspective (e.g., [9
]). The second ideology, called multiculturalism, suggests valuing group differences (e.g., [11
]). Regarding their respective effects on intergroup relationships, assimilation endorsement is positively linked to evaluative bias whereas multiculturalism is negatively related to evaluative bias [11
]. For example, attitudes toward multiculturalism are positively related to positive judgments about Muslims Turkish for Dutch adolescents [11
] and negatively linked to perceived cultural distance of different ethnic groups for Dutch participants [14
]. Ideologies differ from acculturation framework, which refers to “the dual process of cultural and psychological change that takes place as a result of contact between two or more cultural groups” ([15
], p. 698). Acculturation refers to a process of change, while ideologies are the attitudes and normative expectations about what should be done to manage diversity. Despite this conceptual distinction, acculturation orientation can be linked with interethnic ideologies. In particular, similarities exist between the following: (1) assimilation acculturation orientation and assimilation interethnic ideology; and (2) multiculturalism acculturation orientation and multiculturalism interethnic ideology.
Based on past literature, our study aims to extend research on interethnic ideologies and intergroup biases in three directions regarding the following: (1) the conjoint impact of both ideologies; (2) investigated dependent variable; and (3) underlying processes.
First, interethnic ideology studies rarely simultaneously introduce multiculturalism and assimilation within the same analyses. To affirm that both interethnic ideologies play a conjoint role in intergroup bias, we need to show that they have a concomitant effect on the criteria. Indeed, it is possible that one ideology contributes more than the other when explaining in-group favoritism where only one of the two would be significant when both are simultaneously introduced. This issue is central. If only one ideology is related to intergroup bias, it means that there is only one option for acting on intergroup bias through interethnic ideologies. In the opposite case, a conjoint effect implies two available ways to do so. Some recent and uncommon studies investigated both interethnic ideologies [4
], but more research is still needed in this direction.
Second, studies on interethnic ideologies have frequently examined stereotypes or attitudes (i.e.
, intergroup bias) toward immigrants (e.g., [18
]). What has been less examined are the behavioral outcomes or intentions. According to the theory of reasoned action (e.g., [19
]), attitude is not the best predictor of behavior. Compatibility argument proposed in this theory states that a behavior is better explained by proximal attitudes toward the behavior, like intentions, rather than a more distal attitude toward the object. The intention to perform a behavior is more specific than a general positive or negative attitude toward an object or a group. It is a motivational factor that indicates the effort and willingness to perform a behavior, and it is “the closest cognitive antecedent of actual behavioral performance” ([19
], p. 188). This theory is largely supported in the literature regarding different fields such as physical activity [20
] or sun-safe behaviors [21
]. In the specific field of intergroup relationships, this is also supported by assumptions of the “bias map model” [22
]. The empirical test of this model supports the relationships between attitudes and behavioral tendencies. Finally, a meta-analysis shows that the relationship between the intention to discriminate and discriminatory behaviors is stronger than the relationship between attitudes and discriminatory behaviors [23
Beyond empirical support for the relationship between attitudes and intention, two initial attempts to investigate the intention to discriminate have been made concerning acculturation strategies [24
]. Despite their contributions to the literature, these studies have certain limitations and call for further investigation. We present the two studies successively and discuss their limits. Wagner, Tisserant, and Bourhis [24
] aimed to investigate relationships between acculturation strategies and discrimination intention (i.e.
, called “propensity to discriminate” in their paper) by students and workers toward North African immigrants of a Muslim background. They showed that the assimilation acculturation orientation is positively related to the propensity to discriminate within a sample of students but not the others acculturation orientations (i.e.
, individualism, integration, integration-transformation, segregation and exclusion). For a sample of workers, the integration-transformation acculturation orientation is negatively related to the propensity to discriminate but this is not the case for others acculturation orientations. Their results also indicate that identification with the endogroup (i.e.
, French people) was not related to acculturation orientations. Additionally, a general measure (including threat, negative evaluations, and social dominance orientation) was related to assimilation for students and to integration-transformation for workers. Particularly, the acculturation orientation mediated the relationship between the general measure and the propensity to discriminate. Despite the interesting conceptualization of discrimination intentions suggested by Wagner et al.
], the fact that participants received explicit instructions to hire neither a Muslim nor a woman somewhat undermines the conclusions. Given this incitement to discriminate, participants may have conformed to the instructions rather than reported their actual individual levels of discrimination intention. This fact may have exacerbated degree of discrimination intention that was reported. The second study used another measure that does not suffer from this issue. Tiboulet et al.
] examined the relationships between ethnocentric acculturation orientations (including assimilation, segregation, and exclusion), non-ethnocentric acculturation orientations (including integration and individualism), prejudice and behavioral intentions during recruitment. They showed a positive relation between ethnocentric acculturation orientations on the one hand, and then prejudice and the intention to discriminate on the other hand. However, they created two categories of acculturation orientations (i.e.
, non-ethnocentric and ethnocentric) rather than address each strategy separately. Moreover, they worked on the acculturation framework, whereas our focus is on diversity ideologies.
The third contribution to interethnic literature is related to underlying processes between interethnic ideologies and the intention to discriminate. To our knowledge, no study (neither Wagner et al.
] nor Tiboulet et al.
]) has shown that in-group favoritism is a mediator of the relationships between interethnic ideologies and the intention to discriminate. Based on Tiboulet et al.
] work, such an indirect effect can nevertheless be expected. By regressing the intention to discriminate on ethnocentric acculturation orientation and prejudice they found that only prejudice, not ethnocentric acculturation orientation, remained a significant predictor of the intention to discriminate. This points the possibility of mediation.
In view of the forementioned results, our study aims to investigate the relationships between both interethnic ideologies on the intention to discriminate through in-group favoritism. Previous work on interethnic ideologies leads us to hypothesize that multiculturalism (assimilation) endorsement is negatively (positively) related to in-group favoritism toward immigrants which, in turn, is positively related to the intention to discriminate during hiring decisions, H1 and H2, respectively.