Stereotypes are simplified and standardized conceptions about groups of people or individuals (Hurst, 2007). These stereotypes are used as mental shortcuts by people when they are dealing with people about whom they know little personally (Hurst, 2007). For example, there are stereotypes about Blacks, Latinos, Older Workers, Female Workers, Arabs and Asians among scores of others. When interacting with a person from any of these stereotypical groups, it becomes easier to think of them as having the specific characteristics that are associated with the group. For example, two African persons – though they may be coming from countries as diverse as America and Egypt, might be considered to be both aggressive, good in sports and bad in academics etc. as these attributes come with the stereotype of ‘Black’ person.
Stereotypes are not all bad as they may actually help you in making quicker decisions as they provide an easy way to understand behaviors (Ewen and Ewen, 2006). For example, in the case of Germany, the people can be expected to desire more efficiency in overall hotel operations while in the case of Japan, the hotel guests may require more expression of courtesy from the staff. Having this knowledge from the typical stereotypes, the hotel can tailor its package accordingly to provide the best service delivery as desired by different people.
Stereotypes can also help in understanding the differences in a non-complex manner and thus enable better decision making (Ewen and Ewen, 2006). For example, in the hotel context, stereotypes can help in serving the people belonging to different groups better. It may be useful to know what people from different regions prefer in terms of décor, food or service, and this knowledge can be derived from stereotypes.
Next benefit of stereotyping is that it provides us with a mental file or a mental background in the context of which we can make sense of