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date: 16 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores theory and research that shows how employment discrimination and inequality are shaped by organizations and organizational context. More specifically, it considers how group-linked discrimination and other status-linked categorical distinctions give rise to group-level employment inequalities. It argues that categorical distinctions, such as race, gender, and citizenship, influence quality of life and life chances across institutional contexts including work, and that organizational context affects the extent to which such statuses become the basis, in part or whole, for sorting people into jobs or being exposed to opportunities and experiences. Three general forces that shape employment discrimination and group-linked inequality are discussed: inertia, the tendency for organizations—once policies, practices, and procedures are established—to produce stability and resist change over time; intraorganizational pressure, in particular the relative power of internal constituencies; and environmental pressures, both direct and diffuse, on organizations to implement organizational practices and procedures.

Keywords: employment discrimination, organization, group-linked discrimination, employment inequality, race, gender, citizenship, inertia, intraorganizational pressure, environmental pressure

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