Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 29 Issue 2 (March 2019), Pages 79-164

Contact theory in the workplace: The case of Jewish–Arab contact in Israel (pages 146-164)

Abstract Contact theory is a fundamental theory in social psychology, suggesting that contact between antagonistic groups can reduce prejudice and stereotypes. The current study applies former studies in evaluating a specific case of the connection between contact and attitudes toward minorities in work contexts. A survey was conducted using 873 Israeli Jews in order to assess their attitudes toward the Arab population in Israel and Arabs' work characteristics. The results indicated that the connection between intergroup contact and attitudes is complex. On the one hand, workplace contact between Israeli Jews and Arabs was significantly correlated with the willingness to meet Arabs in and outside the workplace and to perceive Arabs in a less threatening way. However, contact during work was not significantly correlated with the participants' general attitude toward the Arab population. In addition, contact during work was not found to be significantly correlated with the participants' perceptions about Arabs' personality traits or work characteristics. The results of this study also suggest that attitudes toward Arabs' work characteristics have a strong connection to other dimensions of attitudes toward Arabs, even more than the impact of contact during work.

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