Publication Date



Recent research has suggested that employees are highly affected by perceptions of their managers’ pattern of word–action consistency, which T. Simons (2002) called behavioral integrity (BI). The authors of the present study suggest that some employee racial groups may be more attentive to BI than others. They tested this notion using data from 1,944 employees working at 107 different hotels and found that Black employees rated their managers as demonstrating lower BI than did non-Black employees. Mediation analyses were consistent with the notion that these differences in perceived BI in turn account for cross-race differences in trust in management, interpersonal justice, commitment, satisfaction, and intent to stay. Results of hierarchical linear modeling were consistent with the idea that middle managers’ perceptions of their senior managers’ BI “trickle down” to affect line employee perceptions of the middle managers and that this trickle-down effect is stronger for Black employees. The authors interpret these results as indicative of heightened sensitivity to managers’ BI on the part of Black employees. They also found a reverse in-group effect, in that Black employees were substantially more critical of Black managers than were non-Black employees.


Required Publisher Statement
© American Psychological Association. Final version published as: Simons, T., Friedman, R., Liu, L. A., & McLean Parks, J. (2007). Racial differences in sensitivity to behavioral integrity: attitudinal consequences, in-group effects, and "trickle down" among Black and non-Black employees. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(3), 650-665. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

*This article was selected as a Academy of Management Perspectives Research Brief for November 2007.