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Perceived Virtues and Societal Stereotypes of Relational and Agentic Achievement Across Race and Gender

By Shane Moulton

Traditionally, achievement in America is based on the result of arduous, individual endeavors with an emphasis on competition and “reaching the top.” These attitudes for achieving come as a result of the impositions of the social group that dominates the culture and defines its rules. The purpose of this research is to approximate the degree to which social groups (white female, black female, and white male) are most highly regarded for achievement using two, seemingly bi-polar achieving styles (agentic and relational). A classical experiment utilizing a series of vignettes depicting white females, black females, and white males will be offered to study participants (white male IUP undergraduates) who will assess them with a questionnaire designed by the researcher. It is hypothesized that both black and white female targets will be perceived positively for achieving by relational means while experiencing some degree of backlash for utilizing agentic achieving styles. It is further hypothesized that the white male target will be perceived positively for achieving by agentic means while experiencing some degree of backlash for achieving by relational styles. Results and potential implications will be discussed.

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