Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Edward A. Delgado-Romero & Eliza M. Wells
Tokenism involves the symbolic involvement of a person in an organization due only to a specified or salient characteristic (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, disability, age). It refers to a policy or practice of limited inclusion of members of a minority, underrepresented, or disadvantaged group. The presence of people placed in the role of token often leads to a misleading outward appearance of inclusive practices. The term token is derived from the Old English word taken , which means “to show.” Thus tokenism exists because inclusion of the person or group is required or expected, not because of inherent value. Psychological research suggests that tokenism may occur when members of the underrepresented group comprise less than 15% of the total environmental organizational context they are a part of. Furthermore, when there is only a single representative of a given group in an organizational environment, he or she is considered to have what ...