How Reverse Discrimination Negatively Affects Employee Behavior

Reverse Discrimination Negatively affects Employee Behavior

Reverse Discrimination and its Influence

The following pages focus on providing an analysis of reverse discrimination and its effects on employee behavior. The paper starts with an introduction that provides general information on the subject, in order to help the reader get acquainted with the subject of reverse discrimination. This is because it is very important to identify what reverse discrimination is, how it manifests, why it takes place, who it affects, and what are the factors that influence the phenomenon.

The paper continues by analyzing certain aspects regarding reverse discrimination and affirmative action. Furthermore, the paper presents the effects of reverse discrimination. There are several effects of the phenomenon presented and analyzed by the paper. Also, the paper identifies the influence of reverse discrimination on the behavior of employees.


Discrimination is one of the most sensitive issues that refer to workplace situations. The development of human resources practices and the integration of organizational development within company's strategies reveal the increased interest of authorities, organizations, and specialists in the field regarding discrimination, especially the phenomenon that takes place within these companies.

There are several types of discrimination. People that report abuses in this direction accuse discrimination based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and religion. These are the most common aspects that people are often discriminated for. Basically, people can be discriminated by others based on any characteristic that makes the discriminator feel the need to offend other persons.

The manifestation of the phenomenon of discrimination takes various forms. Some are more mild and easier to be tolerated by the discriminated person, while others are more severe and raise serious problems for the discriminated person. For example, discrimination can manifest in various form, from unpleasant remarks to physical violence and all kinds of actions that prevent the discriminated person to benefit from his rights.

The phenomenon of discrimination characterizes all age groups, from the bullies at school to employers that or colleagues that discriminate other employees for the reasons mentioned above. In order to reduce the negative effects of discrimination, a series of international organizations have established a series of rules, regulations, and standards that must be met by companies and their employees.

In their attempt to comply these rules, companies often go to the other extreme. This is how reverse discrimination takes place. The phenomenon tends to affect employees' behavior in various manners.

Reverse Discrimination

The phenomenon of reverse discrimination, or positive discrimination is a form of discrimination that consists in favoring a minority group or in disfavoring the members of the dominant group in order to reduce the inequalities caused by the differences between the members of these groups (Pincus, 2003). This type of discrimination may take the forms mentioned above in the case of regular discrimination.

There are numerous examples of reverse discrimination in most countries. In the educational field, reverse discrimination can be observed in institutions where the management or the regulations in the field require a certain quota to be attributed to certain ethnic minorities. Also, in certain companies, the staff members must be hired in accordance with certain quotas regarding women or ethnic minorities, and others.

The phenomenon raises a series of controversies, because members of the dominant group do not agree with such discrimination and consider that performance and efficiency should be the standards based on which the activity of the company in case should be based on. There are numerous specialists in the field that agree with this opinion.

The Effects of Reverse Discrimination

Reverse discrimination has various effects, based on the context in which it produces. Specialists in the social psychology field consider that reverse discrimination has positive effects on short-term, and negative effects on medium term and on long-term. The negative effects can be observed on the recipient's situation. In addition to this, it seems that there is no evidence that supports the idea that reverse discrimination helps reduce the prejudices and attitude of the discriminator towards the members of the discriminated group. This means that reverse discrimination is not efficient (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008).

Specialists in the field also consider that reverse discrimination is an effective way in which prejudices can be hidden, but it also reflects ambivalence, the need to be seen as egalitarian, and others (Pincus, 2003). This phenomenon raises certain problems for researchers that find it difficult to determine whether a situation is characterized by reverse discrimination or by a real intention towards improving the situation of the members of a minority group.

In addition to this, it seems that reverse discrimination affects self-esteem. The effects of reverse discrimination on self-esteem are various. This can be easily observed in the educational system. For example, students that are part of a certain race may be favored in the grades they receive from some of their teachers.

This increases their confidence initially. But this also creates false expectations regarding their possibilities. As a consequence, when dealing with situations that they cannot handle because their opinions of themselves did not match reality, their self-esteem is damaged.

Also, reverse discrimination does not determine individuals to seek help for their problems. This is because their problems are solved in a false way by this environment created by superiors in which they are favored for being part of a minority group. But this does not actually help them solve their problems.

The effects of affirmative action include:

It determines angry reactions

Pampering effect

Increased tension within the workplace

When confronted with reverse discrimination, the members of the majority group that are disfavored by their superiors in order to improve the conditions of the minority group members are likely to react in an angry manner towards the members of the minority group in case.

The members of the majority group observe that the minorities are not assessed based on their performance evaluation, but based on the fact that they are members of a minority group and are granted special conditions that the others do not benefit from. This further leads to angry reaction that can transform into certain types of violence.

Regarding the pampering effect, it takes place when the person that benefits from reverse discrimination becomes lazy and does not feel like doing their job as they should because they are aware of the fact that they will be helped by superiors and colleagues in order to apply affirmative action standards. Such situations lead to increased tension within the workplace. This affects the productivity and efficiency of employees (Entrepreneur, 2002). This further affects the activity of the company in case.

The Influence of Reverse Discrimination on Employee Behavior

As mentioned above, there are several effects of reverse discrimination that take various forms. Although the intentions are positive and the short-term effects are also positive, organizational practice has revealed that reverse discrimination has negative effects on the recipients and on the majority group members.

The affirmative action establishes that a certain percentage of a company's employees or of the students attending a university must be women and to belong to certain ethnic groups (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2009). This means that the criteria for them joining these institutions are not the same as in the case of everybody else. They can enter these institutions easier than members of the majority group.

This obviously represents a reason for discontent from the majority group members. Therefore, they are likely to act in accordance with this situation. They will try to raise significant opposition to individuals reversely discriminated. In their opinion, these individuals do not deserve to occupy certain positions. Therefore, they will try to make their opinion public to the minority group members. They will try to make these group members understand that they do not deserve the status granted to them because of reverse discrimination.

In certain situations, members of the majority group are forced to help the members of the minority group to do their job in order to sustain the idea that they are efficient. In other words, someone else must do part of their work, so that they are not fired, which could attract the accusation of discrimination. This way, the work environment in the company in case becomes a hostile one for the recipients of reverse discrimination. The members of the majority group are likely to join their forces into raising significant opposition to the minority group (Okorie, 2010). They will try to persecute minorities in various ways.

Reverse discrimination leads to increased tension within the workplace. This can further lead to verbal violence, psychological tension, physical violence, and different types of harassment. This is how reverse discrimination negatively affects the recipients. In other words, it is not quite accurate to state that affirmative action helps minorities (Janda, 2008).

Instead of generating such situations, employers should focus on providing equal opportunities for all applicants for certain jobs and for the company's employees. The hiring and promoting of employees should be made based on their performance evaluation. This way, all discrimination accusations…