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Recent Notes on Labor Science and Organization

edited by Sabine T. Koeszegi and Michael Filzmoser

RNLSO-1/2015: Impact of Organizational Context on Gendered Recruiting Decisions among Science Engineering and Technology Professionals: An Experiment.

Christina Keinert-Kisin and Sabine T. Koeszegi

Abstract. The purpose of this study is to systematically examine varied organizational contexts in which gender bias is expected to thrive. Discrimination against women is hypothesized to manifest itself implicitly in the assessment of suitability and potential of job seeking candidates. Data were obtained through an experiment among 296 full professors, senior scientists and students at a Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) University. Women's opportunities to be ranked for a job interview are contrasted with men's using Bradley Terry log-linear models for partial rankings and justifications for the respective ranking decisions are analyzed using content analysis. The findings show that women are ascribed significantly less relevant characteristics and skills in SET than men and are significantly less often ranked for job interviews by even experienced decision makers. Furthermore, homophilous pressures to select “socially compatible” candidates fortify discriminatory selection, while the request to respect anti-discrimination law in recruitment cannot prevent discriminating decisions. Implications of findings for organizational practice are discussed.

Keywords: gender bias, recruiting, homophily, field experiment, science engineering and technology.

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RNLSO-2/2015: Quo Vadis Homo Economicus? References to Rationality/Emotionality in Neuroeconomic Discourses.

Sigrid Schmitz, Sabine T. Koeszegi, Bettina Enzenhofer, and Christine Harrer

Abstract. Rational choice theory’s propositions, that economic actors strictly follow an optimization calculus, denying any kind of influence from social action, has been challenged for years within economic discourse and economic sociology. Re-conceptualizations of the Homo Economicus acknowledge the emotional influence on individual decision making within social contexts. The interdisciplinary research field of neuroeconomics has become a strong reference point in scientific and more so within socio-economic-political discourse as part of the emerging neurocultural framing of today’s neoliberal society. We analyse the recent formation of the Homo Neuroeconomicus with respect to the current dispute around concepts of separation and competition versus interaction of emotional and rational processing that should predict economic decision making. We outline the permanent gendered connotations of this knowledge production and their impact on the persistence of biologically grounded and separated processes of emotional or rational processing. With an in-depth analysis of a case study, i.e., the (neuro-) biological explanation for the financial crisis by the Frankfurter Zukunftsrat in 2009, we exemplify how biological explanations and references to separate processes of emotional or rational decision making are utilized to legitimize individual responsibility and failure. This neglects socio-structural contexts and symbolic inscriptions in the concept of the Homo Neuroeconomicus.

Keywords: economic decision making, neuroeconomics, rationality/emotionality, gender, socio-economic-political discourse.

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