Reducing the impact of accentedness in the workplace: the influence of a prejudice control text on the evaluation of job applicants.

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The objective of this study was to investigate the evaluations of standard (American) and non-standard (Dutch) English speakers by non-native speakers. As there might be an unconscious prejudice towards the non-standard English speakers, resulting in possible negative evaluations, a prejudice control condition was implemented. In an experiment, 142 Human Resource students and/or working people listened to an audio fragment of an American-or Dutch-accented applicant speaking in English, applying for a retail management position. Half of the participants had a prejudice control text implemented in their introduction. Participants had to evaluate the accents based on understandability (intelligibility, comprehensibility), attitudinal evaluations (likeability, status, competence), and hireability. The findings demonstrated that the Dutch-accented applicant was more negatively evaluated than the American applicant and that the participants would rather hire the American applicant. However, the results did not indicate an effect of the prejudice control text on the negative evaluations of the non-standard English speaker. A possible explanation is that a written intervention might not have the same effect as when expressed orally.
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