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The Subtleties of Subtle Discrimination: An Interesting but Incomplete Picture

  • Shanna R. Daniels (a1), Pamela L. Perrewé (a1) and Gerald R. Ferris (a1)


The focal article on subtle discrimination provided by Jones, Arena, Nittrouer, Alonso, and Lindsey (2017) examines questions about the difference between overt and subtle discrimination and the conditions under which discrimination might vary by subtlety, formality, and intentionality. The authors suggest that a dynamic perspective of subtle discrimination would provide a more comprehensive understanding of its correlates. This article addresses two concerns regarding the authors’ proposition to move toward a dynamic model of subtle discrimination. The first concerns definitional issues and overlapping continuums that need to be more clearly distinguished in the model. The second addresses the lack of a theoretically derived process model.


Corresponding author

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Shanna R. Daniels, Department of Management, College of Business, Florida State University, 821 Academic Way, P.O. Box 3061110, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1110. E-mail:


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Cortina, L. M. (2008). Unseen injustice: Incivility as modern discrimination in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 33, 5575.
Dipboye, R. L., & Halverson, S. K. (2004). Subtle (and not so subtle) discrimination in organizations. In Griffin, R. W. & O'Leary-Kelly, A. (Eds.), The dark side of organizational behavior (pp. 131158). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Ferris, G. R., Treadway, D. C., Perrewé, P. L., Brouer, R. L., Douglas, C., & Lux, S. (2007). Political skill in organizations. Journal of Management, 33, 290320.
Hebl, M. R., Foster, J. B., Mannix, L. M., & Dovidio, J. F. (2002). Formal and interpersonal discrimination: A field study of bias toward homosexual applicants. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28 (6), 815825.
Jones, K. P., Arena, D. F., Nittrouer, C. L., Alonso, N. M., & Lindsey, A. P. (2017). Subtle discrimination in the workplace: A vicious cycle. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 10 (1), 5176.
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Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • ISSN: 1754-9426
  • EISSN: 1754-9434
  • URL: /core/journals/industrial-and-organizational-psychology
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