A Theory and Test of How Speakers with Nonnative Accents are Evaluated in Entrepreneurial Settings

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Rosette, Ashleigh

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An abundance of research in the social sciences has demonstrated a persistent bias against nonnative English speakers (Giles & Billings, 2004; Gluszek & Dovidio, 2010). Yet, organizational scholars have only begun to investigate the underlying mechanisms that drive the bias against nonnative speakers and subsequently design interventions to mitigate these biases. In this dissertation, I offer an integrative model to organize past explanations for accent-based bias into a coherent framework, and posit that nonnative accents elicit social perceptions that have implications at the personal, relational, and group level. I also seek to complement the existing emphasis on main effects of accents, which focuses on the general tendency to discriminate against those with accents, by examining moderators that shed light on the conditions under which accent-based bias is most likely to occur. Specifically, I explore the idea that people’s beliefs about the controllability of accents can moderate their evaluations toward nonnative speakers, such that those who believe that accents can be controlled are more likely to demonstrate a bias against nonnative speakers. I empirically test my theoretical model in three studies in the context of entrepreneurial funding decisions. Results generally supported the proposed model. By examining the micro foundations of accent-based bias, the ideas explored in this dissertation set the stage for future research in an increasingly multilingual world.





Zhou Koval, Christy (2016). A Theory and Test of How Speakers with Nonnative Accents are Evaluated in Entrepreneurial Settings. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12878.


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