Do Solo Arrangements Lead to Attributions of Tokenism? Perceptions of Selection Criteria and Task Assignments to Race and Gender Solos1


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    This work was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation to the first author and was completed at the University of Illinois (SBR-9630121). We wish to thank Kristine A. Rand, Naila Rafiq, and Sylvia Puente, who provided assistance on the project. Special thanks to Robert S. Wyer for comments on an earlier version of this paper.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kellina M. Craig, Department of Psychology. California State University. 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840. e-mail:


In 2 studies, African American and White participants judged the likelihood that solos in work groups were selected for membership in a work group on the basis of either affirmative action or ability. Following this, they were asked to imagine themselves as managers of the group and to assign tasks to each of the employees. Judgments of the overall work groups were also obtained. As expected, the extent to which observers attributed the presence of the solo to affirmative action and assigned tasks was dependent on the gender and race of the solo and, importantly, the gender and race of the majority of group members. These findings have practical utility in that they point to the continuing importance of context effects in impression formation and task assignments.