Organizational behavior and leadership in the 21st century sept 21

Chapter 2

Diversity in


Reading Materials Lecture Notes

Please read chapter # 2 lecture notes. These notes will provide the knowledge foundation that will help you to master this chapter. If you have any questions please get back to me.

This chapter looked at diversity from many perspectives. We paid particular attention to three variables—ability, biographical characteristics, and learning. Let’s summarize what we found and consider its importance for a manager trying to understand organizational behavior.


· Ethnicity is only one of the characteristics people bring when they join an organization.

· The chapter looks at how ethnicity and individual differences in the form of ability affect employee performance and satisfaction.


1. We are not all the same!

a. Effective diversity management increases an organization’s access to the widest pool of skills, abilities, and ideas.

b. Differences lead to miscommunication, misunderstanding, and conflict.

2. Demographic Characteristics of the U.S. Workforce

a. Predicted change to the U.S. workforce has happened.

b. Ethnic groups comprise a larger component of the workforce.

c. Earnings Gaps between groups, including gender, have narrowed.

d. Aging workforce is important concern for U.S. corporations.

3. Levels of Diversity

a. Demographics mostly reflect surface-level diversity.

b. Secondary diversity factor is deep-level diversity.

4. Discrimination

a. Discrimination is to note a difference between things.

b. Unfair discrimination is assuming stereotypes about groups and refusing to recognize differences.

c. Exhibit 2-1 lists definitions and examples of different types of discrimination (page 43)

d. Under increasing legal scrutiny and social disapproval, most forms have faded.

e. May have resulted in an increase in covert forms such as incivility or exclusion.

f. Some forms are difficult to affect because they are unobservable.

g. Whether intentional or not, serious negative consequences may arise for employers.

h. Diversity is a broad term, and workplace diversity can describe any characteristic that makes one person different from another.


1. Introduction

a. Start with factors that are readily available in an employee’s personnel file. There is a sizable amount of research on these factors (age, gender, length of service).

2. Age

a. It is tempting to assume that age is also inversely related to absenteeism.

b. There is a widespread belief that productivity declines with age and that individual skills decay over time.

c. The relationship between age and job satisfaction is mixed.

3. Gender

a. There are few, if any, important differences between men and women that will affect their job performance, including the areas of:

1) There is no significant difference in job productivity between men and women.

2) Women are more willing to conform to authority.

3) There is a difference between men and women in terms of preference for work schedules.

4. Race and Ethnicity

a. Controversial Issue

b. Seven Categories:

1) American Indian

2) Alaska Native

3) Asian

4) Black or African American

5) Native Hawaiian

6) White

7) Two or more races

5. Additional characterizations

a. English Speaker

b. Hispanic

6. Research into effects of race and ethnic diversity

a. Employees tend to favor colleagues from their own race in performance evaluations, promotion decisions, pay raises.

b. Different attitudes on affirmative action with more African-Americans preferring such programs than do whites.

c. African-Americans generally do worse than whites in employment decisions.

d. No statistical difference between Whites and African-Americans in observed absence rates, applied social skills at work, or accident rates.

e. African-Americans and Hispanics have higher turnover rates than Whites.

7. Disability

a. With the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, individuals with disabilities became an increasing number in U.S. workforce.

b. Requires reasonable accommodation for disabilities.

c. A person is disabled who has any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

d. So broad in definition that generality to work is very difficult to make.

e. The “reasonable accommodation” is problematic for employers.

f. Strong biases exist against those with mental impairment.

g. Research on workers with disabilities have found:

1) They receive higher performance evaluations.

2) Based on lower performance expectations.

3) They are less likely to be hired.

8. Other Biographical Characteristics: Tenure, Religion, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity

a. Tenure

1) The issue of the impact of job seniority on job performance has been subject to misconceptions and speculations.

2) Extensive reviews of the seniority-productivity relationship have been conducted.

3) Tenure is also a potent variable in explaining turnover.

4) Tenure has consistently been found to be negatively related to turnover and has been suggested as one of the single best predictors of turnover.

5) The evidence indicates that tenure and satisfaction are positively related.

b. Religion

1) Religion is a touchy subject and often results in conflicts, especially between employees’ belief systems.

2) Although employees are protected by U.S. federal law regarding their religion, it is still an issue in the workplace.

3) Accommodation of religious beliefs and non-discriminatory practices are two areas that need to be addressed by companies.

c. Sexual Orientation

1) Federal law does not protect employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

2) Employers differ regarding their policies on this issue.

d. Gender Identity

1) Often referred to as transgender employees, this topic encompasses those individuals who change genders.


Ability is an individual’s current capacity to perform various tasks in a job.

1. Intellectual Abilities

a. Needed to perform mental abilities—thinking, reasoning, problem solving

b. Jobs differ in the demands placed on intellectual abilities.

c. Dimensions of intellectual ability (Exhibit 2–1)

d. Recent research in the area of multiple intelligences

2. Physical Abilities

a. Less skilled and more standardized jobs

b. Nine basic abilities involved in the performance of physical tasks (Exhibit 2–2)

3. The Role of Disabilities

a. Importance of ability at work increases difficulty in formulating workplace policies that recognize disabilities.

b. Disabilities are not problematic in reality in job decisions.

c. Diversity programs include and are meant for everyone.

4. Attracting, Selecting, Developing, and Retaining Diverse Employees

a. Target recruiting efforts toward underrepresented groups.

b. Selection process is among the most important for diversity efforts.

c. Deep-level diversity seems to be very important in shaping people’s reactions to one another.

d. Research suggests that stores that fostered a positive diversity climate were able to capitalize on their diverse workforce to make more money.

e. Demographic differences have been found to be associated with higher turnover in new hires.

f. Longer periods of time found that demographics were less of a predictor of turnover.

g. And, all workers appear to prefer organizations that value diversity.

5. Diversity in Groups

a. Groups are an essential part of organizational settings.

b. If employees feel no cohesion or sense of membership, group attributes are likely to be less.

c. Does diversity help or hurt group performance?

1) It can help.

2) It can hurt.

3) Emphasize higher-level similarities among members.

4) Transformational leaders are more effective managing diverse teams.

6. Effective Diversity Programs

a. Effective Diversity programs have three components.

b. Most concern about diversity deals with fair treatment.

c. Organizational leaders should look for underrepresentation in the organization

d. Safeway’s diversity program addresses the issues needed to establish an effective diversity program.


1. Biographical Characteristics

a. Relations described here are not necessarily evident across cultures.

b. More research on cross-cultural factors is needed.

2. Intellectual Abilities

a. Evidence is strong that structures and measures of intellectual abilities cross cultures.

b. Specific mental abilities indicate a higher-order factor called general mental ability.

c. IQs vary to some degree across cultures, but are much smaller than one would consider educational or economic differences.

3. Diversity Management

a. International differences in managing workforce diversity exist.

b. Each country has its own legal framework for diversity.

c. Types of demographic differences are different from country to country.

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