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Although blacks have gained entry to the information systems (IS) field and various managerial positions, they continue to experience more restricted career advancement prospects than whites. They have found it difficult to advance professionally and managerially within their organizations. Perhaps, as the management literature suggests, this is because minorities may experience considerable discrimination in their jobs that lowers their performance and ultimately impedes their career advancement .
Despite a decade of advances, blacks still struggle to reach the top managerial ranks of IS. It was reported that while there are professional jobs for minorities, positions in upper management still remain limited for blacks. It has been suggested that blacks encounter a glass ceiling that prevents them from reaching the top levels of IS and non-IS management positions. Government statistics support the assertion that blacks and women are still underrepresented in positions of power and responsibility. The commission's figures show that managers were 92% white and 8% minority in 1988 - the identical percentage found in 1980 and 1985. This indicates that progress for minorities at the higher end of the career ladder has been at a standstill for nearly a decade.
One potential determinant of the relatively slow advancement rates of blacks is the presence of bias in job performance ratings. It was reported that a supervisor's assessment of a subordinate's job performance plays such a prominent role in forming opinions about the subordinate's advancement prospects , systematic biases in job performance evaluations can place blacks at a distinct disadvantage when being considered for promotions and produce bias in promotion decisions over time. It was noted that minorities are evaluated more negatively than their actual performance warrants and there is an evaluation bias against minorities . The present study examines the job performance evaluations of blacks and whites.
In addition to the impact of job performance of subordinates' future prospects, the attributions that supervisors invoke to explain their subordinates' performance may also play a role in forming opinions regarding the subordinates' likelihood of future advancement. It was reported that race differences in advancement opportunities can be explained by the attributions made by supervisors. Additionally, it is suggested that while supervisors may also attribute the good performance of whites to ability and talents, they are more likely to attribute the good performance of blacks to good luck or extraordinary effort. It was found that personal characteristics (e.g., gender, race) of the supervisor or the subordinate may influence supervisory attributions for the performance level attained . These attributes should be examined in the context of employees' job performance, career advancement prospects, and career outcome variables. The present study examines the impact of individuals' race on supervisors' performance attributions.
Understanding and eliminating any barriers to advancement for various subgroups in the workplace should be of increasing concern to the IS field as a whole. This is not only because of the IS field's increased interest in managing human resources , and rising personnel costs relative to hardware costs, but even more importantly, because of the significant demographic changes in the workforce projected by the year 2000. The Hudson Institute, in its report for the U.S. Department of Labor , estimates that by the end of the next decade, only 15% of new job entrants will be U.S. born white males, while 20% will be U.S. born non-whites, 42% will be U.S. born white females and 23% will be foreign born immigrants. Further, the nature of jobs is expected to change, with the technological jobs becoming one of the fastest growing sectors. These changes make it imperative that we understand how to manage diversity and differences in the workforce, particularly in the technology sector.
The purpose of this study was to examine race differences in job performance and career outcomes. In particular, we sought to determine whether:
* black employees were assessed using different criteria than white employees;
* supervisors attribute the job performance of blacks to different causal factors than the performance of whites; and
* race differences affect career advancement prospects and satisfaction.
Figure 1 presents the conceptual model examined in this study. The model, which builds on the work of Green and Mitchell , Ilgen and Youtz , and Pazy , posits that race influences career success through its effects on job performance of black and white IS employees. In other words, job performance evaluations and attributions mediate the relationship between race and career success. We also posit that job performance evaluations influence attributions. In the model we also propose that job performance evaluations mediate the impact of race on performance attributions.
The model depicted in Figure 1 is similar in some respects to the model of organizational experiences and career success proposed and tested by Igbaria and Wormley , and there is some overlap in the variables included in the two studies. However, the central foci of the two models differ considerably. The model tested by Igbaria and Wormley in 1992 examined the causal linkages of gender, race, organizational experiences, job performance ratings, advancement prospects, satisfaction and commitment, and the role of organizational experiences in mediating these relationships. The model proposed in the current study explicitly emphasizes the importance of both job performance ratings and attributions in mediating the relationship between race and career success.
The central objective of the current study is to examine the effect of race on performance ratings and attributions as well as on career success, and to examine the mediating role of performance ratings and attributions on the relationship of race with career success. Moreover, the present study goes beyond the Igbaria and Wormley model in that it includes job performance attributions which potentially influence the three indicators of career success. We also included multiple indicators of career advancement opportunities (advancement prospects, promotability and career plateau status). The specific variables included in the model, the rationale for their selection, and for the hypothesized linkages among them are discussed in this article.
Two groups of indicators of career success were identified: the external (objective) and internal (subjective) indicators . While job performance and advancement prospects represent the external career success outcomes, career satisfaction represents the internal career success outcomes. The present study examined two indicators of job performance: job performance valuations, which represent supervisory ratings of the employee's job performance; and job performance attributions, which represent the supervisor's attributions of the causes of the employee's job performance.
The first linkage shown in Figure 1 is between race and job performance. In their study of race differences in job performance, Kraiger and Ford  found that black employees often receive lower ratings of job performance than white employees, especially when the raters are white. Similarly, Morrison and Von Glinow , who reviewed the factors that limit the advancement of women and minorities toward top management in organizations, reported that women and minorities often receive lower ratings of job performance than men. It is suggested that it is possible the predominantly white male supervisors in organizations used race or gender rather than work-related cues in assessing individuals' job performance. There is a tendency for raters to give higher ratings to same race or gender ratees.
The self-categorization theory also supports the notion that supervisors favor individuals who belong to their group over outgroup members . Additionally, the social identity theory also suggests that "people are motivated to establish positively valued distinctiveness for groups with which they identify from relevant outgroups," [p. 30]. It is suggested that information selection and use, judgment processes, race-role …