Diversity Programs as Moderators of the Effect of Individual Dissimilarity on Work-Related Attitudes
Research on diversity within organizations has often revealed that demographic attributes influence group outcomes and behaviors. Both Pfeffer's (1983) organizational demography model and Schneider's (1987) Attraction-Selection-Attrition (ASA) framework suggest that individual dissimilarity is negatively related to organizational effectiveness, thereby influencing work-related attitudes. A review of the diversity management literature suggests that investment in diversity programs contribute to increased employee morale, motivation, and satisfaction. Researchers have theorized that diversity management should lead to organizational effectiveness and positive work behaviors. To overcome some of the negative effects of individual dissimilarity many organizations have instituted diversity programs to modify and address organizational systems that prevent diverse employees from reaching their full potential. The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of diversity programs/practices on work-related attitudes namely job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment. The second objective is to explore whether the relationship between individual dissimilarity and work-related attitudes is likely to be moderated by an individual's perception of organizational efforts in implementing diversity programs/practices. Based on survey analyses of 214 employees in three financial institutions, in the Mid-Michigan area of the United States, the study demonstrates that satisfaction with diversity programs/practices significantly predicted job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment. Individual dissimilarity moderately predicted positive work-related attitudes. Contrary to prediction, diversity programs did not moderate the effects of individual dissimilarity on work-related attitudes.
Keywords: Diversity Programs, Organizational Demography, Individual Dissimilarity, Work-Related Attitudes
Dr. Shobha Ramanand
Research Specialist and Adjunct Professor, Center for Integrative Studies in Social Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI