Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Social (Inequality and Social Justice Option)

Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Kathy Kuipers

Commitee Members

Dr. Jackson M. Bunch, Ashley Trautman, MSW, J.D.


Sociology, Racial Discrimination in Hiring, Criminality and Hiring, Native Americans, Indigenous, Intersection of Race and Criminality in Hiring


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Inequality and Stratification | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology


Studies show that race-based discrimination exists in the hiring process. Many minority job candidates experience this phenomenon, especially when a criminal record is present. The intersection of possessing a Native American identity and having a criminal history has yet to be examined. This research compares the experience of Native American job candidates (some with a criminal history and some without) to white job candidates (some with a criminal history and some without) to see how these varying points of identity influence hiring process decisions in a fictitious hiring scenario. Using an online questionnaire based on Foschi and Valenzuela’s (2015) study using vignettes and outside assessors, I used one assessor A, who has the task of determining the relative competence and related qualities of two people B and C for a fictional job. Participants read vignettes about the applicants and then completed a survey where they ranked and ordered applicants on scales of competency and suitability, as well as who they thought should receive the job. The vignettes varied in terms of criminal history and race while the level of education, GPA, and college attended were all similar to each other. Contrary to expectations, I found that the Native American candidate with no criminal history was chosen over the white candidate with no criminal history. I also found that having a criminal history across the board was an undesirable characteristic to possess for job applicants and that it was weighted more heavily than race. The timing of the survey and other factors that may have influenced these outcomes are discussed.



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