UCLA Anderson Associate Professor of Management and Organizations Jenessa Shapiro holds a joint appointment in the UCLA Department of Psychology. Shapiro’s research focuses on modern forms of discrimination that emerge in organizational contexts and how stereotypes can undermine performance.
One of her research goals involves developing and testing interventions for the phenomenon of stereotype threat — a distracting concern about the fear of being seen through the lens of a negative stereotype. “When someone knows they can be negatively stereotyped, this concern is distracting and takes away from their ability to perform important tasks that require undivided attention,” says Shapiro. “As a result, being underrepresented in a classroom or boardroom can bring on these distracting concerns and ultimately cause someone to underperform relative to his or her abilities.”
Shapiro’s second research goal is to understand how prejudice and discrimination manifest in modern organizational contexts. Although overt forms of discrimination such as explicitly turning someone away from a job because of gender, race/ethnicity or other identity are rare, this does not mean that discrimination has ended. “One challenge is to understand what modern forms of discrimination look like and how they manifest, so that the best interventions can be developed and implemented,” she says.
Shapiro’s commitment to diversity issues is reflected in her service to UCLA, where she is co-chairperson of the Riordan Programs’ advisory board, serves as faculty sponsor for the Underrepresented Graduate Students in Psychology group, and is a member of the psychology department’s Diversity Issues Committee.
Her research has received national grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Shapiro has earned the Eric and E Juline Excellence in Research Award and the SAGE Young Scholars Award for Significant Promise in Early-Career Research. She has also been honored for her work in the classroom, receiving the UCLA Anderson George Robbins Teaching Award. In 2016, she was named among Poets and Quants’ Best 40 Under 40 Professors. “The students at Anderson are very creative, smart, thoughtful and have incredibly interesting experiences,” she says. “I’m always learning from our students.”
She’s authored over 30 research articles and often speaks at conferences and with organizations as she sets out to understand — and help others understand — modern manifestations of discrimination, as well as provide best practices and interventions to reduce discrimination.
In her spare time, Shapiro enjoys being outside, farmers’ markets and practicing yoga.
Ph.D. Social Psychology, 2008, Arizona State University
B.A. Psychology, 2002, Rice University