Towards Cultural Competence: An Exploratory Study of the Relationship Between Racial Identity and Contextual Performance Indicators of Public Employees

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Title: Towards Cultural Competence: An Exploratory Study of the Relationship Between Racial Identity and Contextual Performance Indicators of Public Employees
Author: Harris, Ann Faith
Advisors: Dr. Dennis M. Daley, Committee Chair
Abstract: This study examined the relationship between public employee racial identity status and contextual performance indicators defined as altruism, conscientiousness, organizational commitment, and self-efficacy. U.S. Census data indicates that Blacks tend to be over-represented in jobs with low to moderate levels of power and authority. This study contends that race membership may lack measurement sensitivity to pick up contextual performance group differences. Therefore, use of racial identity status is a better, culturally competent measure. Previous research suggests that organizational advancement and rewards are influenced by contextual performance and that supervisory performance ratings of subordinates are more reliant on contextual rather than objective factors. Since non-task performance is difficult to measure and reliant on single rater assessment, opportunities exist for bias to affect worker ratings. Some performance studies have associated achievement/performance gaps or perceived differences between Whites and Blacks with racial bias. Given the limited amount of research in this area, the relationship cannot be supported or refuted. To examine the role of racial self-identity, the analysis used a sample (N = 149) involving White (n = 84) and Black (n = 65) employees across six organizational units in a large southeastern public university. Racial self-identity was measured using Helms' (1990) White Racial Identity Attitude Scale (WRIAS) and Black Racial Identity Attitude Scale (BRIAS). Contextual performance indicators included altruism, conscientiousness, organizational commitment and self-efficacy. This field test was the first to use these concepts within the context of a public organization. Black RIAS Conformity/Immersion-Emersion, White RIAS Disintegration/Reintegration and Combined Racial Identity Measures CRIS 1/CRIS 2 scores were found to explain more variation in contextual performance than race membership alone. Specifically, Conformity, Reintegration and CRIS 1 were negative predictors of self-efficacy; Immersion-Emersion and Disintegration were positive predictors of self-efficacy; Contact was a positive predictor of conscientiousness; and Combined Racial Identity Scores 1 and 2 (the two lowest levels) were positive predictors of altruism.
Date: 2003-04-14
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Public Administration
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/4137


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