Against the Odds: Developing Underdog versus Favorite Narratives to Offset Prior Experiences of Discrimination

Abstract

Although considerable theory and research indicates that prior experiences of discrimination hinder individuals, it remains unclear what individuals can do to offset these repercussions in the context of their work and career. We introduce two distinct types of self-narratives—underdog and favorite—and test whether these types of personal stories shape the effects of prior experiences of discrimination on performance efficacy, which in turn impact performance. Across two time-lagged experiments with job seekers in both field and online settings, we theorize and find that underdog narratives are more effective than favorite narratives at moderating the effects of prior experiences of discrimination on performance through performance efficacy. Our results present new insights for theory and research on expectations, self-narratives, and resilience in the face of discrimination and adversity.

Publication
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

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