Two studies were designed to investigate the relations among ethnic group membership, ethnic group identification, group based-appraisals, and group-based emotions in determining behavioral tendencies of support and opposition toward diversity initiatives. The two studies confronted participants with the hire of an ethnic minority under a diversity-based procedure. The first study assessed reactions of whites to the hire of an ethnic minority under a diversity-based or a merit-based policy. The second study compared reactions of white and ethnic minorities to the hire of an ethnic minority under a diversity-based policy. The results of the first study showed that white participants appraised a diversity-based hiring decision as significantly more harmful to the ingroup and unjust which in turn engendered greater feelings of anger toward and shame about the diversity policy rather than the merit based policy, and more stated intentional opposition to the policy. Study 2 revealed that whites’ appraisal of the diversity-based policy as unjust and as harmful to the ingroup lead to stronger intentions to oppose because whites felt angry about it. Minorities’ appraisals of the diversity-based policy as harmful to the ingroup lead to stronger intentional opposition because they felt ashamed about it, and appraisals of the policy as unjust also lead to intention to oppose because they felt low pride about it. In both studies we provide evidence that ethnic group identification acted as a moderator of the predictive effect of emotions on behavioral intentions toward the diversity-based hire. Results are discussed within an intergroup emotion theory framework.
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