(本文来自麻省理工学院斯隆管理学院,发表于2021年5月)

Asians are perceived as a “model minority” in America, but research on corporate leadership reveals inequality fostered by an American focus on assertiveness.

在美国,亚裔被认为是“模范少数族裔”,但对企业领导层的研究揭示出,美国人对自信的注重助长了不平等。

For decades now, Asians in the United States have been perceived as a “model minority” that has achieved a high level of success and is not subject to discrimination. Asians are assumed to be doing “just fine” because they have the highest educational achievements, highest median income, and one of the lowest crime rates, saidJackson Lu, an assistant professor of work and organization studies at MIT Sloan.

几十年来,美国的亚裔一直被视为 "模范少数族裔",在成功方面已然达得了相当的高度,也不容易遭受歧视。麻省理工学院斯隆管理学院工作与组织研究助理教授杰克森·卢(音)说,人们会认为亚裔发展得“挺好”,因为他们拥有最高的教育成就,最高的收入中位数,也是犯罪率最低的族裔之一。

“But Asians have their unique challenges and should not be treated as the ‘invisible minority,’” Lu said.
One of those challenges is in corporate leadership, where Lu’s research suggests that East Asians but not South Asians are underrepresented in leadership positions in America because of cultural differences in assertiveness. These patterns exist for both international Asians and Asian Americans, suggesting that the problem is not just driven by language barriers or immigration status.

“但亚裔面对的挑战是独一无二的,也不应被当成‘隐形的少数族裔’”,卢说。
其中的一个挑战就出现在企业领导层,卢的研究表明,在美国,由于在自信/魄力方面存在文化差异,东亚人(而不是南亚人)在领导岗位上的人数不足。这些模式在国际化的亚裔和美国亚裔群体中都存在,这就表明问题不仅仅是由语言障碍或移民身份驱动的。

In “Why East Asians but not South Asians are underrepresented in leadership positions in the United States,” Lu and his co-researchers write that this inequality is “an issue of cultural fit — a mismatch between East Asian norms of communication and American norms of leadership.”

卢和他的合作研究者写道,这种不平等是“一个文化契合度的问题——东亚人的交流范式和美国人的领导范式之间的某种不匹配。”

According to the paper, published last year, East Asian cultures emphasize humility and conformity over assertiveness. Whereas non-assertiveness can be seen as steadiness in East Asian cultures, that could be interpreted in American leadership culture as lacking confidence and motivation. In contrast, South Asian cultures often encourage assertiveness and debate in interpersonal communication.

根据去年发表的论文,东亚文化强调谦逊和从众,而不是自信。而不自信在东亚文化中可能会被看成稳健,而在美国人的领导文化中可能会被诠释为缺乏自信和动力。相比之下,南亚文化往往会鼓励人际沟通中的自信和辩论。
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“Whether in company meetings or in classrooms, it’s a common observation that East Asians are less likely to speak up and voice their opinions,” Lu said. “Importantly, assertive leaders are not necessarily the most effective ones. American organizations need to diversify the prototype of what a leader should look like.”

“无论是在公司会议还是在课堂上,普遍能观察到东亚人大声发言和发表自己见解的可能性较低”,卢说。"重要的是,自信的领导者不一定是最有效力的领导者。美国人的组织需要让“领导者应该是什么样子”的蓝本多样化。"
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Lu’s work on inequality in leadership opportunities comes as Asians in America face an increase in racism and discrimination. Anti-Asian rhetoric from former President Donald Trump was lixed to an increase in anti-Asian sentiments on Twitter, and in the past year anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 145% in 16 of America’s largest cities, according to the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. In March 2021, a 21-year-old white man killed eight people — six of them Asian women — in spas and massage parlors near Atlanta.

随着美国亚裔面临越来越多的种族主义和歧视,卢针对进入领导层的机会不平等开展了工作。前总统特朗普的反亚裔言辞,和推特上的反亚裔情绪上升有关,根据加州州立大学圣贝纳迪诺分校仇恨与极端主义研究中心的数据,在过去一年中,美国最大的十六个城市的反亚裔仇恨犯罪增加了145%。2021年3月,一名21岁的白人男子在亚特兰大附近的水疗会所和按摩院杀害了8人,其中6人是亚裔女性。
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Examining prejudice, motivation, and assertiveness

检视偏见、积极性和自信

To find out whether and why East Asians are underrepresented in leadership positions in the U.S., Lu conducted nine studies of the two largest Asian subgroups in America: East Asians (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Korean) and South Asians (e.g., Bangladeshis, Indians, Pakistanis). His co-researchers on the studies were Richard Nisbett of the University of Michigan and Michael Morris of Columbia University.

为了弄清东亚人在美国担任领导职务的人数是否不足以及为什么会不足,卢对美国最大的两个亚裔子群体开展了九项研究:东亚人(例如,华人、日本人、韩国人)和南亚人(例如,孟加拉人、印度人、巴基斯坦人)。他在这些研究中的合作研究者是密歇根大学的理查德·尼斯贝特和哥伦比亚大学的迈克尔·莫里斯。

The researchers collected data from Standard & Poor’s 500 companies between 2010 and 2017, and found that there was an average of 2.82 South Asian CEOs per million South Asians in the U.S. That’s compared to 1.92 CEOs per million white people in the U.S., and 0.59 CEOs per million East Asians in the U.S.

这些研究人员收集了2010年至2017年期间标准普尔500强企业的数据,发现美国每百万南亚人中平均有2.82名南亚裔首席执行官,相比之下,美国每百万白人中有1.92名首席执行官,而每百万东亚人中只有0.59名东亚裔首席执行官。

The researchers looked at prejudice, motivation, and assertiveness as three possible reasons why East Asians are underrepresented in leadership, while also controlling for demographics like birth country, English fluency, education, and socioeconomic status. They used a variety of data including archival analyses of chief executive officers, field surveys in large U.S. companies, student leader nominations and elections, and experiments.

研究人员将偏见、积极性和自信视为东亚人在领导层任职人数不足的三个可能的原因,同时还控制了人口统计数据中的出生国、英语流利程度、教育水平和社会经济地位等变量。他们使用了各种数据,包括对首席执行官的档案分析、对美国大企业的实地考察、学生领袖的提名和选举,以及实验数据。

The leadership success of South Asians in America is made more significant by the fact that since 9/11 some have experienced increased prejudice due to Islamophobia.

南亚裔在美国领导层取得的成功因这个事实而平添了其重要意义:自911事件以来,由于伊斯兰恐惧症,一部分人经历的偏见增多了。
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To determine whether South Asians experience more, less, or the same amount of prejudice as East Asians, the researchers surveyed a class of 470 MBA students, asking whether they were treated unfairly because of their ethnicity.

为了确定南亚人是否经历了更多、更少或与东亚人相同数量的偏见,研究人员调查了一个由470名攻读工商管理学硕士的学员组成的班级,询问他们是否因为自己的种族而受到过不公平的对待。
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A complementary study was conducted asking 339 non-Asian, native English speakers born in the United States a series of questions like how comfortable they would be if a South Asian or East Asian became their neighbor, officemate, or someone dating their sibling.

当时开展了一项补充性研究,向339名非亚裔、以英语为母语且出生在美国的人询问了一系列问题,比如,如果南亚人或东亚人成为了他们的邻居、办公室同事或他们兄弟姐妹的约会对象,他们心里的舒服程度如何。

“[The studies] found that non-Asian Americans exhibited greater prejudice toward South Asians than East Asians,” the researchers write. “These results suggest that prejudice is unlikely to be the main reason for the observed leadership attainment gap between East Asians and South Asians, as South Asians were better able to attain leadership despite facing more prejudice than East Asians.”
Lu noted, however, that this research was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic and before the upswing in anti-East Asian crime and rhetoric.

“这些研究发现,非亚裔美国人对南亚人表现出了比对东亚人更严重的偏见”,研究人员写道。“这些结果表明,偏见不太可能是所观察到的东亚人和南亚人之间领导能力差距的主要原因,因为南亚人尽管比东亚人面临更多的偏见,攫取领导职位的能力却更强。”
然而,卢指出,这项研究是在新冠大流行以及反东亚人犯罪和言论抬头之前开展的。

East Asians are equally motivated by leadership

东亚人对获取领导职位的积极性和其他族裔是相同的

To test whether motivation was a driver for why East Asians were underrepresented in leadership positions, the researchers looked at work motivation and leadership motivation.

为了检验积极性是否是任职领导职位的东亚人人数不足的一个驱动因素,研究人员检视了工作积极性和获取领导职位的积极性。

The researchers surveyed more than 1,700 East Asians and South Asians working at S&P 500-level companies in the United States. Work motivation was measured with questions like “I try to work as hard as possible,” and “I intentionally expend extra effort in carrying out my job” (on a scale of “1 = strongly disagree” to “6 = strongly agree”). Their analysis showed that East Asians and South Asians had equally high work motivation.

研究人员调查了1700多名在标准普尔500强企业中的美企工作的东亚人和南亚人。工作积极性是通过诸如“我尽可能地努力工作"和“我会有意在开展工作时付出额外的努力”(用的是这样的量表:从"1=非常不同意",到“6=非常同意”)之类的问题来衡量的。他们的分析表明,东亚人和南亚人的工作积极性一样高。

In another survey, the researchers assessed MBA students’ career interests and found that East Asian, South Asian, and white students were equally motivated to attain leadership roles such as company CEOs, city mayors, unx labor leaders, and government officials. These results suggest that motivation is not the main reason for East Asians’ underrepresentation in leadership.

在另一项调查中,研究人员评估了攻读工商管理学硕士学生的职业兴趣,发现东亚人、南亚人和白人学生对于获取领导角色的积极性是相同的,比如公司首席执行官、市长、工会里的劳工领袖和政府官员。这些结果表明,积极性也不是东亚人在领导层任职人数不足的主要原因。
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Assertiveness is the main driver

自信/魄力是主要驱动力
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Across the studies, the researchers found consistent evidence that East Asians scored lower than South Asians and white people on assertiveness. Assertiveness was measured with a similar scale with both self-ratings and other-ratings, like “I speak up and share my views when it is appropriate,” and “I am willing to engage in constructive interpersonal confrontations.”

研究人员通过总览各项研究,发现了能证明“东亚人在自信方面的得分低于南亚人和白人”的前后一致的证据。自信是用一个类似的量表来衡量的,其中包括自评和互评,比如“我在合适的时候会大声发言并分享我的观点”,以及“我愿意参与建设性的人际对抗”。

The researchers’ mediation analyses suggest that low assertiveness is a key reason why East Asians are less likely to attain leadership or senior leadership positions in the U.S.

研究人员的中介分析表明,低自信是东亚人在美国不太可能获得领导职位或高级领导职位的一个关键原因。

So what can U.S. organizations do to address East Asians’ underrepresentation in leadership roles? Lu and his co-researchers suggest not only improving diversity efforts — like understanding the cultural differences between East and South Asians — but also changing the leadership model in American organizations. And those efforts shouldn’t fall to East Asians themselves.

那么,美国的组织可以做些什么来解决东亚人在领导职位上人数不足的问题呢?卢和他的合作研究者给出的建议是,不仅要优化推进多样性的努力,比如理解东亚人和南亚人之间的文化差异,还要改变美国组织的领导模式。而付出这些努力的不应该只有东亚人自己。