Can workplaces foster an openness to diversity surreptitiously?

Simon Andrew Moss, Gretchen Ennis, Kerstin Z. Zander, Timothy Bartram, Darren Hedley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Purpose: To enhance their innovation and reputation, many organizations introduce programs that are intended to attract, retain and support diverse communities. Yet, these programs are often unsuccessful, partly because explicit references to diversity tend to evoke defensive reactions in employees from the dominant culture. To circumvent this problem, the purpose of this paper is to explore the hypothesis that individuals tend to be more receptive to diversity whenever they experience meaning in life. Furthermore, four workplace characteristics – informational justice, a manageable workload, equality in status and a compelling vision of the future – should foster this meaning in life. 

    Design/methodology/approach: To assess these possibilities, 177 employees completed a survey that assessed workplace practices, meaning in life and openness to diversity. 

    Findings: The results showed that informational justice, a manageable workload and a compelling vision were positively associated with openness to other cultures, constituencies and perspectives, and these relationships were partly or wholly mediated by meaning in life. 

    Originality/value: These findings imply that leaders might be able to foster an openness to diversity, but without explicit references to this diversity, circumventing the likelihood of defensive reactions. Specifically, a program that simultaneously encourages transparent communication, diminishes workload and clarifies the vision or aspirations of the future may represent an inexpensive but powerful means to foster an openness to diversity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)750-762
    Number of pages13
    JournalEquality, Diversity and Inclusion
    Volume37
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2018

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    workplace
    workload
    justice
    employee
    reputation
    Openness
    Work place
    equality
    leader
    innovation
    communication
    methodology
    community
    Workload
    Values
    experience
    Employees
    Informational justice

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Purpose: To enhance their innovation and reputation, many organizations introduce programs that are intended to attract, retain and support diverse communities. Yet, these programs are often unsuccessful, partly because explicit references to diversity tend to evoke defensive reactions in employees from the dominant culture. To circumvent this problem, the purpose of this paper is to explore the hypothesis that individuals tend to be more receptive to diversity whenever they experience meaning in life. Furthermore, four workplace characteristics – informational justice, a manageable workload, equality in status and a compelling vision of the future – should foster this meaning in life. Design/methodology/approach: To assess these possibilities, 177 employees completed a survey that assessed workplace practices, meaning in life and openness to diversity. Findings: The results showed that informational justice, a manageable workload and a compelling vision were positively associated with openness to other cultures, constituencies and perspectives, and these relationships were partly or wholly mediated by meaning in life. Originality/value: These findings imply that leaders might be able to foster an openness to diversity, but without explicit references to this diversity, circumventing the likelihood of defensive reactions. Specifically, a program that simultaneously encourages transparent communication, diminishes workload and clarifies the vision or aspirations of the future may represent an inexpensive but powerful means to foster an openness to diversity.",
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    Can workplaces foster an openness to diversity surreptitiously? / Moss, Simon Andrew; Ennis, Gretchen; Zander, Kerstin Z.; Bartram, Timothy; Hedley, Darren.

    In: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 37, No. 8, 20.11.2018, p. 750-762.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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