The effect of mindsets and ex-offenders’ redemptive narratives on managers’ willingness to consider hiring ex-offenders

Primary Author: Eunjeong Shin

Faculty Sponsor: Jerry Goodstein


Primary College/Unit: Carson College of Business

Category: Business, Communication, and Politial Sciences

Campus: Pullman



Principal Topic

The United States has been one of the most punitive countries with the highest rate of incarceration. Previous research has suggested that employers play an essential role in reintegrating ex-offenders back to the community as they offer job opportunities. This paper aims to investigate managers’ mindsets that influence their willingness to consider hiring ex-offenders. I explored two categories of managers’ mindsets – justice mindsets (punitive and restorative mindsets) and fixed vs. growth mindsets – and how ex-offenders’ use of redemptive narratives moderate the relationships between managers’ mindsets and their hiring decisions.



We collected data from 251 U.S. managers from various industries through Amazon M-Turk. All participants were randomly assigned to read one of the two versions of the scenarios (either high or low redemptive narrative) and were then asked to indicate their willingness to consider hiring the applicant with a 7-points Likert scale. I adopted the existing justice mindsets and fixed vs. growth mindset scale to measure managers’ mindsets. We used SPSS hierarchical regression analysis to analyze the data.


Results / implications

The results indicated that all four mindsets significantly influenced the managers’ hiring decision, supporting our hypotheses. Managers with punitive or fixed mindset were less willingness to consider hiring ex-offenders while managers with restorative or growth mindset were more willingness to consider hiring ex- offenders. The moderating effect of redemptive narrative was not supported. Interestingly, however, contrary to our expectation, high usage of ex-offender’s redemptive narratives was negatively related to managers’ willingness to consider hiring the applicant.