Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Blacks happier at work than whites despite fewer friends, less autonomy

Date:
December 5, 2013
Source:
American Sociological Association (ASA)
Summary:
Despite working in more routine and less autonomous jobs, having fewer close friends at work, and feeling less supported by their coworkers, blacks report significantly more positive emotions in the workplace than whites, according to a new study.

“By providing support to colleagues, black workers may feel valued and more integrated into the work environment,” Sloan said.
Credit: Andres Rodriguez / Fotolia

Despite working in more routine and less autonomous jobs, having fewer close friends at work, and feeling less supported by their coworkers, blacks report significantly more positive emotions in the workplace than whites, according to a new study in the December issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

“We were surprised by this,” said lead author Melissa M. Sloan, an assistant professor of interdisciplinary social sciences and sociology at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. “Based on the history of discrimination against African Americans in the workplace, we thought blacks would experience more negative emotions at work than whites. As it turned out, the opposite was true.”

Titled, “Counting on Coworkers: Race, Social Support, and Emotional Experiences on the Job,” the study considered more than 1,300 state government employees in Tennessee.

Sloan and her co-authors Ranae J. Evenson Newhouse, an assistant professor of sociology at Tennessee State University, and Ashley B. Thompson, an assistant professor of sociology at Lynchburg College, also found that the higher the percentage of minorities in a workplace, the more close friends blacks had and the fewer whites had.

In workplaces with a low percentage of minority employees — 13 percent or less — black workers said they considered 39 percent of their coworkers to be close friends versus 61 percent for white workers. However, in workplaces with a high percentage of minority employees — 35 percent or more — black workers said they considered about 42 percent of their coworkers to be close friends versus 46 percent for white workers.

“What was surprising to us about these findings was that the percentage of minority workers in a workplace more strongly influenced the friendships of whites than blacks,” Sloan said.

In addition, the study found that the more minorities in a workplace, the more negative emotions whites experienced at work. “This is a concern because the increased negative emotions of white workers in racially diverse workplaces can negatively impact the workplace atmosphere,” Sloan said.

Sloan and her co-authors also discovered that while providing social support to coworkers negatively affected the emotional experiences of white workers, it was associated with increased levels of positive emotion among black workers. “By providing support to colleagues, black workers may feel valued and more integrated into the work environment,” Sloan said. “In contrast, white workers who do not experience social isolation in the same way as black workers do, may find providing support to be a burden.”

In terms of policy implications, Sloan said the study suggests that more research is needed to determine how to encourage people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds to develop supportive relationships with each other. “Simply increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the workplace might not be enough to foster social connections between workers with different backgrounds and, in fact, may elicit negative emotions among members of the majority group,” Sloan said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Sociological Association (ASA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. M. Sloan, R. J. Evenson Newhouse, A. B. Thompson. Counting on Coworkers: Race, Social Support, and Emotional Experiences on the Job. Social Psychology Quarterly, 2013; 76 (4): 343 DOI: 10.1177/0190272513504937

Cite This Page:

American Sociological Association (ASA). "Blacks happier at work than whites despite fewer friends, less autonomy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131205091902.htm>.
American Sociological Association (ASA). (2013, December 5). Blacks happier at work than whites despite fewer friends, less autonomy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131205091902.htm
American Sociological Association (ASA). "Blacks happier at work than whites despite fewer friends, less autonomy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131205091902.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins