Customers in survey reveal they are biased in favour of white males;

Greetings!  I’m Nico Trimoff, manager of accessibility and transcription services at
A brand new year, and so much for us to look forward to.  Hopefully, you had a great time off with your families.
Today, I am here to share a very interesting article with you.  The results of this survey may or may not shock you but I would like you to send us your views.
I wish you a great day.

Customers in survey reveal they are biased in favour of white males;
Satisfaction ratings vary though minorities, women gave same service
Kenyon Wallace
The Toronto Star, July 20, 2009
White male employees are more likely to receive higher customer satisfaction
scores than women or minorities, according to a study that examines customer
In a paper to be published later this year in the Academy of Management
Journal, Karl Aquino, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s
Sauder School of Business, found that customers anonymously reported lower
satisfaction with service from women and minority employees performing at
the same level and offering the same service as white male employees.
“We expected, based on some previous research, that there might be some bias
in favour of males and whites. But we were surprised to see that in fact
when minorities prformed the same behaviours they were rated worse,” Aquino
The research was conducted in the United States and was a project between
Aquino’s colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University
of Washington and the University of Florida.
The study examined customer service ratings for a health maintenance
organization, golf courses and a mock bookstore.
The researchers analyzed more than 12,000 patient reports on 113 doctors at
the health maintenance organization and found that female and minority
(mostly Asian) physicians were consistently rated lower than white male
doctors providing the same services. In fact, the more the female and
minority doctors tried to provide better service, such as being available to
patients, returning patients’ emails and taking time to talk, the worse they
“This is very surprising and disturbing to us. But we don’t have any data to
explain why patients felt this way,” Aquino said. “The findings are also
significant because physicians received bonuses based on their customer
service satisfaction ratings.”
The researchers also found that close to 4,000 golfers from 66 golf courses
gave lower ratings to courses that employed high percentages of women and
minorities, even when productivity and quality of the facilities were the
For the bookstore setting, the researchers filmed actors interacting with
customers and had university students rate the level of customer service.
Even though the scripts and behaviour of the actors playing the bookstore
employees never changed, the students gave the female and black male
bookstore employees significantly lower ratings than the white male
The students also gave lower ratings to the physical environment of the
bookstore when females or minorities served customers, a phenomenon known as
the “contamination effect.”
“You put a certain person in an environment and people think somehow that
it’s not as clean or the quality isn’t as good,” said Aquino.
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About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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