Advantaged groups misperceive how allyship will be received

Hannah J. Birnbaum*, Desman Wilson, Adam Waytz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Allyship is a way for advantaged groups to advance equity, yet acts of allyship are infrequent or limited. Here we explore a potential reason for this: a miscalibration between advantaged and disadvantaged groups’ perceptions of allyship. Studies 1a−2b demonstrate that advantaged groups (men in Studies 1a−1b; White people in Studies 2a−2b) underestimate how much disadvantaged groups (women in Studies 1a−1b; Black people in Studies 2a−2b) would appreciate various acts of allyship. Across these studies, relatively disadvantaged members (non– White men in Studies 1a−1b; White women in Studies 2a−2b) were better calibrated in their assessments than relatively advantaged members. Study 3 examines real, behavioral contexts whereby advantaged groups (men) underestimate disadvantaged groups’ (women's) appreciation of allyship. Study 4 demonstrates that expectations about appreciation predict allyship intentions. Finally, Study 5 finds that highlighting appreciation of potential allyship can increase allyship intentions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104309
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Allyship
  • Diversity
  • Equity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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