Demystify diversity research model


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  • as there are more immigrants, the world is globalising, women are participating in the labour market, diversity is a fact. Organisations may traditionally be male oriented, but should stop hiring people (and developing them) based on any ‘just like me’ effect (social categorisation bias).
  • This is another argument for a diverse workforce – beside the ‘forced’ diversity that is occuring in society in general, and therewith also changes customer markets into a more diverse group.
  • Based on the Appreciative Inquiry approach: if organisations can use the talents of all employees optimally they will also enable the organisation to perform optimally. Diversity should therefore not be a goal on its own (leaning more towards the societal perspective of equality and inclusiveness), but a means to achieve more business success: the fact that people are different does not mean they are not equal, yet if you treat different people as though they were similar (maybe because you fear you might be blamed of discrimination), they may not actually contribute to the organisation’s success with their specific strenghts / talents.
  • Linking organisational & societal perspective Identify moderator variable(s) between diversity and innovation
  • Example: if having brown or blue eyes does not relate to a specific thinking style, we should not select people based on that indicator. But if men and women tend to think differently on aspect X (if gender is an indicator of mindset), it could be a useful selection criteria for certain teams or jobs. We should therefore let go of the idea that saying someone is different means that there is a hierarchy, one of the two must be ‘better’; it’s not about right or wrong, better or worse, but about specific mindsets that leads to different talents that organisations could use if they can be measured and linked to specific indicators.
  • The dotted line represents the simple view such as ‘diversity leads to innovation’ and ‘we need more women/immigrants/handicapped’ in the organisation. It is not about the individual characteristic itself, but about the influence of that characteristic on someone’s mindset that affects the group dynamics and therewith the organisation. The idea: we need to start defining the relevant diversity aspects (relevant in terms of those aspects that predict mindset or thinking style). Those thinking styles influence individual behavior. When we create mixed or diverse groups, with people with different thinking styles, a specific type of group dynamics is necessary in order to allow the different preferences/strengths/talents of the team members to be ‘used’by to the organisation, in order to become more successful/innovative/profitable.
  • The individual construct is where we focus on: what aspects of diversity are relevant for someone’s thinking style; does it matter if you’re in your twenties or fifties for example? We categorise the relevant thinking styles in the MOF (first on dimension scores, later on orientations or clusters, if possible based on data outcomes). Finally, we can use the orientations to predict strategy perspectives, as I have reason to believe these perspectives can be clustered in the MOF. Then, we need to look at group dynamics and what is needed for a diverse group to optimally use their diversity of thinking styles: for their own benefit and that of the group, what I called: Personal social responsibility. This means that the individual needs to support the group (for example by not immediately judging other group members with different ideas), and can expect the group to support his/her own ideas; nothing is right or wrong, but everything can be discussed and thought through so every strenght is brought to the surface before making a decision. Finally, such groups or teams should – is my hypotheses – enable the organisation to be more innovative, and therefore more succesful in terms of profitability compared to peers. If the organisation is able to ‘use’ diversity in this way, the organisaiton does not only benefit directly itself through this increased performance, but also serves society where ‘diversity management’ and ‘inclusion’ are hot topics; the community is becoming more diverse (because of globalisation, technology, etc) and all these people need a job too. We can use the thesis of success through using diversity by measuring in two directions: the first starting with the individual in organisations that claim they aim for effective diversity management, the other from the organisational point of view, from an organisation that already is successful and than reason backwards.
  • Demystify diversity research model

    1. 1. <ul><li>Danaë Huijser </li></ul><ul><li>July 2010 </li></ul>Demystify Diversity
    2. 2. Background <ul><li>Currently diversity in organisations is often promoted on superficial characteristics; </li></ul><ul><li>These characteristics are correlated to behavioral outcomes, but do not predict behavior. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Background <ul><li>Correlations and causality is often confused, e.g. “diversity </li></ul><ul><li>leads to innovation” can be compared to: </li></ul><ul><li>Sleeping with one's shoes on is strongly correlated with waking up with a headache. Therefore, sleeping with one's shoes on causes headache. </li></ul><ul><li>The above example commits the correlation-implies-causation </li></ul><ul><li>fallacy, as it prematurely concludes that sleeping with one's </li></ul><ul><li>shoes on causes headache. A more plausible explanation is </li></ul><ul><li>that both are caused by a third factor, in this case going to bed </li></ul><ul><li>drunk, which thereby gives rise to a correlation. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Background <ul><li>This fallacy leads to organisations pursuing diversity as a goal , instead of a means to establish an increase in organisational success and innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>I expect that strategic thinking styles are functioning as mediator variables: I assume that different worldviews explain the relationship between (some types of) diversity (the predictor) and organisational innovativeness (the criterion) </li></ul>
    5. 5. Diversity: 2 ways to look at it <ul><li>1. Societal perspective: if we do not want to exclude people from the labour market, organisations should be willing to give all different people a fair chance. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Diversity: 2 ways to look at it <ul><li>2. Organisational or shareholder perspective: organisations can use the different talents to actually become more innovative. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Diversity: a synthesis <ul><li>Stakeholder perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>If shareholders learn to value all different people for </li></ul><ul><li>their different talents and how they can serve a </li></ul><ul><li>diverse customer portfolio, organisations can build on </li></ul><ul><li>their diverse talent pool to: </li></ul><ul><li>1) serve the societal need for inclusion (corporate social responsibility) </li></ul><ul><li>2 ) serve their organisational needs for innovation. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Purpose <ul><ul><li>To identify the moderator variable(s) between workforce diversity and strategic innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>so that organisations can improve their strategic innovativeness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>using their diverse workforce optimally in terms of strategy making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>based on the relevant criteria of diversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>by valueing the differences in thinking style and working preference of individuals in society </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Main research question <ul><li>Do we actually look at the relevant aspects of diversity when we look at it from an organisational perspective: which characteristics actually make people different in terms of how they can contribute to the organisation’s innovativeness? </li></ul>
    10. 10. Individual (behaviour) Group (dynamics) Organisation (strategy) Worldview (how you think and feel) Diversity: relevant characteristics (who you are) Diverse group composition Innovativeness
    11. 11. Individual (behaviour) Group (dynamics) Organisation (strategy) Worldview (how you think and feel) Relevant diversity aspects (who you are) Diverse group composition Innovativeness <ul><li>Measuring: </li></ul><ul><li>Relevant characteristics (diversity aspects) </li></ul><ul><li>MOF dimensions (scores) </li></ul><ul><li>MOF orientations and clusters </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy Profiler – clustered in the MOF </li></ul>What is necessary for a diverse group to cooperate succesfully? (e.g. process facilitation by leader, creative perception of indiv. Team members etc.) Personal social responsibility: creating group behaviour that supports both the individual and the group (synthesis) <ul><li>Measuring in two directions: </li></ul><ul><li>Start with an innovative org and reason backwards what group composition led to this outcome? </li></ul><ul><li>Self perception (qualitative or quantitative) of innovativeness </li></ul>Corporate social responsibility: diversity serves the organisation and the society (inclusiveness): stakeholder perspective