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Ethnic and Gender Satisfaction in the Military: The Effect of a Meritocratic Institution
American Sociological Review (2008)
  • Jennifer H. Lundquist, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

This article reevaluates traditional racial and gender disparities in the work satisfaction literature by examining the U.S. military: an institution that has ameliorated many racial inequalities while exacerbating gender conflict. The military departs from civilian society in some analytically useful ways, making it a unique, though underutilized, setting for examining inequality. Using data from the Pentagon’s 1999 Survey of Active Duty Personnel (SADP), results suggest that black males and females, Latino males and females, and white females all experience greater perceived benefits to military service than do white males along several dimensions of self-assessed job satisfaction and quality of life. Perceptions of advantage relative to civilian reference group comparisons largely explain these findings. I conclude by discussing how the structure of organizations can be powerful enough to reverse differences in relative satisfaction among key status groups.

  • Intersectionality,
  • gender,
  • race,
  • work satisfaction,
  • military
Publication Date
Citation Information
Jennifer H. Lundquist. "Ethnic and Gender Satisfaction in the Military: The Effect of a Meritocratic Institution" American Sociological Review (2008)
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