Leanne Son Hing

Industrial/Organizational Psychology
519-824-4120 x54475
MacKinnon Extension
Office Hours: 

Wednesdays 3:30-4:30pm


Accepting Graduate Students: 
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: 

My research focuses on social justice issues. In general, I am interested in the disparities or inequalities that exist between individuals and groups in terms of status, power, and outcomes (e.g., income) in the workplace.  I am a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research in the Successful Societies Program. My work with the Successful Societies program has led me to develop an interdisciplinary perspective on issues of inequality.

I am investigating how the degree to which people experience of inequality at work (e.g., in pay, status, decision-making power) affects their well-being, performance, and health.  I am really intrigued by the processes through which too much inequality might hurt people, groups, and organizations.  Negative effects likely operate through stress processes and social relations (e.g., increased competition, decreased trust). Thus, I am studying how inequality negatively affects people within organizations.

I have long-term interests in who is more (vs. less) likely to want to maintain and promote inequality. A lot of my previous research has focused on understanding the nature of prejudice (i.e., racism and sexism). I study both explicit (i.e., deliberate, controllable) and implicit (i.e., automatic, less controllable) prejudice and how and when they lead to discrimination when making outcome allocation decisions (e.g., who should be hired or promoted).  

In addition, I study the effects of prejudice and discrimination for those who are stigmatized.  I recently published a paper on the effects of stigmatization on devalued group members' health, well-being, and performance.  I used a stress and coping model to explore when people are more vulnerable to the negative effects of stigmatization and when people are more likely to demonstrate resilience.

Finally, I study how people make sense of the differences that exist between individuals and groups in society: are they a result of a fairly operating meritocracy, in which the cream rises to the top, or are they a result of injustices, such as discrimination or favoritism? Such different understandings of why inequality exists plays an important role in determining people's reaction to social and organizational policies that are designed to mitigate inequalities like  employment equity, or diversity initiatives. My colleagues and I have found that prejudice, justice beliefs, and beliefs about the cause of societal inequality interact to affect whether people support programs that aim to reduce inequality.

Advising Philosophy:

My goal is to conduct top-quality research in close collaboration with students. As a supervisor, I believe it is my role to help students to develop their skills, self-efficacy, and autonomy. I try to create an environment in my lab that is supportive and challenging. Students who work with me get a lot of guidance and feedback-from me and from other students in the lab. I expect students in my lab to be motivated, organized, courteous of others, hardworking, and to have burning intellectual curiosity. Junior students work with me to develop a shared line of research. Senior students have the flexibility to select their own topic under the umbrella of social justice issues. I am expecting to accept new students to my lab for Fall 2018.


1997 to 2000     PhD     Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo

1995 to 1997     MA       Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo 

1990 to 1994     BAH     Department of Psychology, Queen's University  

Selected Publications

Stamarski, C. S., & Son Hing, L. S. (2015). Gender inequalities in the workplace: the effects of organziational structures, processes, practises, and decision makers' sexism. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1- 20.

Son Hing, L. S. (2013). Prejudice, neoliberalism, and resilience. Chapter in Social Resilience in the Neoliberal Era P. A. Hall, M. Lamont (Eds.). Cambridge University Press (pp. 158-182). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.                                   

Son Hing, L. S. (2012). Responses to Stigmatization: The moderating roles of primary and secondary appraisals. Dubois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 9, 149-168.

Son Hing, L. S., Bobocel, D. R., Zanna, M. P., Garcia, D.M., Gee, S., & Orazietti, K. (2011). The merit of meritocracy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 433-450.

Son Hing, L. S., & Zanna, M. P. (2010).  Individual Differences in Prejudice. In J. Dovidio, P. M. Hewstone, P. Glick, & V. Esses (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination (pp. 163-178). London, UK: Sage Publications.

Son Hing, L. S., Chung-Yan, G., Hamilton, L. K., & Zanna, M. P. (2008). A Two-Dimensional Model that Employs Explicit and Implicit Attitudes to Characterize Prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 971-987.

Son Hing, L. S., Bobocel, D. R., Zanna, M. P., & McBride, M. V. (2007). Authoritarian Dynamics and Unethical Decision Making: High Social Dominance Orientation Leaders and High Right-Wing Authoritarian Followers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 67-81.

Son Hing, L. S., Bobocel, D. R., & Zanna, M. P. (2002). Meritocracy and opposition to affirmative action: Making concessions in the face of discrimination. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 493-509.

Son Hing, L. S., Li, W., & Zanna, M. P. (2002). Inducing hypocrisy to reduce prejudicial responses among aversive racists. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 71-78.

Bobocel, D. R., Son Hing, L. S., Davey, L. M., Stanley, D. J., & Zanna, M. P. (1998). Justice-based opposition to social policies: Is it genuine? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 653-669.