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Pluralistic Ignorance and the Flexibility Bias: Understanding and Mitigating Flextime and Flexplace Bias at Work

Christin L. Munsch, Cecilia L. Ridgeway, and Joan C. Williams. “Pluralistic Ignorance and the Flexibility Bias: Understanding and Mitigating Flextime and Flexplace Bias at Work.” Work and Occupations, 2014, 41 (Feb):40-62. 

Workers who request flexibility are routinely stigmatized. The authors experimentally tested and confirmed the hypothesis that individuals believe others view flexworkers less positively than they do. This suggests flexibility bias stems, in part, from pluralistic ignorance. The authors also found that flexplace requesters were stigmatized significantly more than flextime requesters. Given this finding, they recommend research distinguish between different types of flexwork. In a second study, they assessed whether exposure to information suggesting organizational leaders engage in flexible work reduced bias. They found that when the majority of high-status employees work flexibly, bias against flextime (but not flexplace) workers was attenuated.

Work and Occupations
Christin L. Munsch
Joan C. Williams