Erika Kirgios studies workplace diversity and inequality, with secondary interests in prosocial behavior and behavior change. She focuses primarily on race and gender in the workplace, drawing on insights from behavioral economics, judgment and decision-making, and organizational behavior to elucidate why inequality persists and to identify theoretically-grounded interventions that can improve outcomes for women and racial minorities. For example, she has investigated how, when, and why increasing the salience of diversity and identity—as opposed to hiding or obscuring identity—can benefit women and racial minorities. She also examines how features of human decision-making beyond stereotyping and bias (e.g., loss aversion, self-image concerns) can influence people's behavior towards marginalized group members.
While Kirgios' research spans the lab and the field, she specializes in designing and running field experiments, which can offer a unique window into how psychological effects play out in organizational contexts. She has partnered with gyms, hospitals, non-profits, technology firms, governments, and start-ups.
Kirgios' work has been published in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, Management Science, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
Kirgios earned a PhD from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Prior to her doctoral studies at Wharton, she graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a BA in Computer Science, and minors in Cognitive Science and Neuroscience.
New: Going It Alone: Competition Increases the Attractiveness of Minority Status
Date Posted:Tue, 05 Mar 2019 05:28:48 -0600
Past research demonstrates that people prefer to affiliate with others who resemble them demographically and ideologically. However, we posit that this tendency toward homophily may be overridden by a desire to stand out when competing for scarce opportunities. Across six experiments, we find that anticipated competition weakens people’s desire to join groups that include similar others. When expecting to compete against fellow group members, women prefer to join all-male groups, Black participants prefer to join all-White groups, and partisans prefer to join groups composed of members of the opposite political party at a significantly higher rate than they do in the absence of competition. Two follow-up studies show that participants’ desire to stand out from other group members mediates this effect. Our findings highlight an important boundary condition to past research on homophily, shedding light on when and why minorities prefer to join groups in which they will be ...