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IACM 2023

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More Money, More Problems: When and Why Economic Issue Selling Frames Have Negative Effects On Leaders’ Support For Social Equity Issues

In this presentation, we contend that employees’ attempts to persuade leaders to care about racial equity issues by framing these issues as being economically valuable for organizations will have differential effects on White and racial minority leaders. We argue that using economic frames to sell racial equity issues to leaders enhances perceptions of issue legitimacy—the extent to which an issue is seen as relevant and important to the strategic success of an organization—for White leaders compared to racial minority leaders, but economic frames decrease perceptions of issue meaningfulness—the extent to which an issue is seen as relevant and significant to an individual’s personal values and beliefs—for racial minority leaders compared to White leaders. In turn, issue legitimacy and issue meaningfulness explain why economic frames motivate White leaders to support racial equity but demotivate racial minority leaders to support racial equity. We find support for these predictions across two studies (a pilot study with 761 leaders and field study with 1,048 leaders).

McKenzie Preston
University of Pennsylvania
United States


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