Masters Thesis

The Role of stereotypes and intergroup bias in promotion evaluations of Asian Pacific American associates in U.S. law firms

Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) are the third fastest growing minority group in the United States (U.S.) and one of the fastest growing minority groups in the workforce. Although APAs have experienced success as professionals in the workforce, they still face a glass ceiling when trying to move into executive level positions. In U.S. based law firms, APAs represent nearly half of all minority Associates, making them the most established minority group at the Associate level. However, APAs have the lowest conversion rate from Associate to Partner of any minority group. The present study examined the role of stereotypes and intergroup bias in promotion evaluations of White and APA Associates. As predicted, White Partners endorsed White Associates over their equally qualified APA counterparts. However, contrary to predictions, competence and lack-of-warmth stereotypes about APAs were not associated with fewer promotion endorsements. Supplementary analyses revealed that APA Partners rated APA Associates lower in promotion potential. APAs endorsed more lack-of-warmth stereotypes about other APAs than did their White equals. These findings suggest that both Whites and APAs contribute to the current dilemma facing APA Associates in U.S. law firms. Possible explanations for these findings are considered in the discussion section.