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Microinclusions: Treating women as respected work partners increases a sense of fit in technology companies.

When people enter new work settings, we theorized that they are vulnerable to questioning whether they will be received in ways that allow them to contribute to shared goals. If so, treatment that clarifies the stance that others take toward the self, which we call microinclusions, that convey a receptivity and supportiveness to one's contributions may bolster a sense of fit. Further, in examining this question in technology contexts, we theorized that such microinclusions may be particularly impactful for women for whom underrepresentation and negative stereotypes make opportunities to contribute especially fraught. Four primary experiments ( N = 1,861, N women in STEM = 1,430) tested this theorizing. In Experiment 1, both men and women at a large technology company anticipated greater fit in a work group described with microinclusions, yet this effect was greatest for women. Experiments 2-4 replicated this effect among women science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals and college students considering a career in technology and showed that women's anticipated fit arose over and beyond socially warm treatment (Experiment 2); arose more when the microinclusion came from a man (vs. another woman; Experiment 3); and arose even when observing another woman receive a microinclusion (Experiment 4). Microinclusions also increased women's commitment to the company (Experiments 2 and 4) and reduced their anticipated experience of stereotype threat (Experiment 3). This research highlights the ambiguity women face in technology settings about whether they will be received in ways that allow them to contribute to shared work goals and the importance of treatment from coworkers that affirms this opportunity. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

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