Affirmative reaction: The influence of type of justification on nonbeneficiary attitudes toward affirmative action plans in higher education
Knight, Jennifer Lynn
Hebl, Michelle R.
Master of Arts
It is popularly believed that justifying an affirmative action plan (AAP) through emphasizing the advantages that diverse students can bring to a college campus will increase nonbeneficiary support for the program. However, there has been little empirical support for this proposition, perhaps because previous research has not directly articulated to participants the value of a diverse student body. As such, a 4 (Type of justification: Compensation, Instrumental, Combination, or No Justification) x 3 (Type of AAP: Increased recruitment, Proportional Selection Quotas, or Weak Preferential Treatment) between-subjects design was used to determine how the explicit framing of an AAP influences subsequent reactions. Both quantitative and qualitative data from 216 White undergraduate participants revealed that the combination justification, which highlighted the benefits of the AAP to minority and majority students, was the most effective means of increasing support for the plan, regardless both of the type of AAP and numerous participant characteristics.
Sociology of education; Industrial psychology; Higher education