Processing stereotypes: professionalism confirmed or disconfirmed by sector affiliation?

Matthias Döring, Jurgen Willems

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Public service stereotypes have been the subject of various studies in public administration research. However, the cognitive processes that form the basis of these stereotypes and the heuristics processing of stereotypical information, remain empirically vague. Starting from insights on the anti-public sector bias and representativeness heuristic, we apply an experimental vignette study (n = 1,412) in which we analyze how citizens process information on employees' sector affiliation. Furthermore, we integrate non-work role-referencing to test the stereotype confirmation assumption underlying the representativeness heuristic. Our results show that sector as well as non-work role-referencing influences perceived employee professionalism but has little effect on positive stereotype confirmation. However, our results do not confirm a congruity effect of consistent stereotypical information.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Public Management Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 505027 Administrative studies
  • 211903 Science of management
  • 502026 Human resource management
  • 501021 Social psychology
  • 605005 Audience research


  • gender
  • heuristics
  • management
  • prefessionalism
  • public
  • public sector
  • public servant
  • reputation
  • sector
  • stereotypes

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