I am Sandra Groeneveld and I am working as an associate professor in the department of public administration of the Erasmus University in the Netherlands. My research and teaching revolve around diversity and diversity management in the public sector. It is from this viewpoint, the viewpoint of diversity management, that I will approach the conference theme, diverse talents for the future of Europe.
In the next twenty minutes I will focus on diversity and diversity management policies in (higher) education. I will discuss some results from empirical research in the Netherlands which I conducted together with my master students and PhD. students. The central question to be answered is what the impact is of increasing ethnic-cultural diversity on performance in education. I will answer this question in two steps. Firstly, I will analyse the effects of ethnic cultural diversity of student working groups on students’ performance in higher education. I will present the results from an experiment in Dutch higher education. The results show that potential positive outcomes from diversity are hampered by inter group biases within students’ working groups. The question arises what could be done to improve the diversity climate in Dutch higher education. Therefore, secondly, I will distinguish between several types of diversity management policies targeted at improving diversity and performance in education organizations. Based on the results of an employee survey in the Dutch public sector, among which the educational sector, I will assess the effectiveness of these diversity policies in organizations in education. Based on this, I will conclude with some policy recommendations.
Diversity management scholars have done great efforts to analyse the effects of diversity of work groups in organizations on performance. Research on the relationship between work group diversity and performance however, yielded inconsistent results. The state of research suggests that work group diversity may have positive as well as negative effects. To explain this inconsistency I will bother you with some theory first. Van Knippenberg et al. articulated the processes that underlie these positive and negative effects to obtain insights how diversity can be managed in such a way that potential positive effects come about. Their analytical model incorporates two perspectives on the effects of work group diversity, (1) the information and decision making perspective and (2) the categorization perspective.
According to the information/decision making perspective diversity within a group is positively related to the elaboration of task relevant information and performance. There is a positive work climate in which participants feel safe and are supported to share their views with others. The more diverse the composition of the work group the more information and viewpoints will be exchanged. Elaboration therefore is positively related to performance. Whether this elaboration comes about is dependent on processes of social categorization. The differentiation between in-group others and out-group others may lead to negative affective reactions and intergroup biases if participants feel their subgroup identity (for example their ethnic cultural identity) being threatened. Intergroup biases moderate the relationship between diversity and elaboration. That is, intergroup biases may hamper that diversity yields elaboration of information and viewpoints.
In short, the model hypothesises that diversity effects are positive, unless affective reactions are negative. In addition, elaboration is dependent on task motivation and ability. We applied this model on diversity management to the working group setting in higher education. In fact, elaboration, learning by exchanging information and viewpoints, is an important learning objective in students’ working groups. The model has been tested by analysing the work group processes among Dutch bachelor students in public administration at a Dutch university. I do not highlight all relevant variables here, but show you only the core elements and will concentrate on the effects of diversity on intergroup biases and elaboration and how these interact within students’ working groups.
Our field experiment consisted of the comparison of nine working groups of approximately 20 students with different shares of ethnic minority students. The percentage of ethnic minority students was used as a proxy of ethnic cultural diversity of the working group. Of course, this measure does not do justice to the multidimensionality and complexity of the concept of diversity. We had to simplify our measurement for reasons of reliability at the expense of construct and internal validity. The percentage of ethnic minority students per working group varied from 9 to 77 per cent. Following the definition of the Netherlands Statistics Office, students were considered to belong to an ethnic minority if at least one parent was born in a non western country. The experiment took one class hour. Students were given an assignment that they had to make individually. The assignment was to propose policy measures for public organisations to deal with the aging workforce. Then, a discussion on the topic followed. After the discussion students were given the opportunity to adjust their assignment, that is the proposed measures and the argumentation. In addition, they were asked to fill in a questionnaire with items on categorization and elaboration and individual background characteristics. We analysed the data on the individual level using structural equation modelling to assess the fit of the CEM model. A more elaborate underpinning of the measurements and analyses can be found in the master thesis of Daphne van Kleef and in our joint paper to be published soon.
What did we find? We found striking evidence for negative diversity effects. We must keep in mind though that we measured diversity by counting the share of ethnic minority students in the working group. First, diversity, that is the share of ethnic minority students within the group, negatively affects elaboration, measured by students’ evaluations of the discussion, survey items on participation and support and observations of the researchers. Second, diversity negatively affects affective reactions and enhances inter group biases, measured by survey items on group cohesion, identification and commitment. This negative effect is even stronger for students who experience a threat of their subgroup identity. As elaboration is positively related to performance, we conclude that students are obstructed in their learning process.
In short, in our experiment diversity of students’ working groups affects elaboration negatively, unless affective reactions are positive. However, diversity is also negatively related to affective reactions due to identity threat. Of course, we need to replicate our study in other settings to be able to generalize the results. Nevertheless, we conclude that education policies should focus on fostering elaboration and thus on preventing intergroup biases . Education policies that integrate diversity perspectives are needed. Diversity and diversity management policies in education organizations could affect work climate for employees and students. This brings us to the second part of my presentation.
Diversity policies in education organizations are aimed at (1) improving the representation of ethnic minority employees in education, and (2) improving the performance by fostering a positive work climate in the organisation for all. We will first look into the representation of ethnic minority employees in education. Then, we will go deeper into diversity management policies conducted in the educational sector and their influence on outcomes.
This graph outlines the share of ethnic minority employees in education compared to two other public subsectors: government and police and defence. In 2009 the percentage of ethnic minority employees in the total educational workforce was 5 percent, more or less comparable to the police and defence workforce, but much lower than the workforce in government. The graph also shows that there is only a limited increase in the course of the years. We may conclude that ethnic minorities are underrepresented in the educational workforce. For instance, more than 11 percent of the Dutch population belongs to an ethnic minority. The share of ethnic minorities among the young is even larger: 16 percent of the population younger than 24 years old belongs to an ethnic minority, compared to five percent of their teachers.
There are however large differences within the educational sector, with universities being seemingly most representative of all and primary education the least. The high share of ethnic minorities in universities however is primarily explained by visiting researchers from non western countries. Is underrepresentation of ethnic minority employees in education a problem?
According to Dutch government it is not! As you all know, in Dutch politics attention for diversity issues is at best lacking. In the coalition agreement it is stated that the government will abolish the diversity slash affirmative action policy on the basis of gender and ethnic origin. Selection must be based on quality. In other words, government assumes that colour-blind policies are possible and contribute to the quality of the public sector. Ethnic cultural diversity however is a social reality and a fact of organizational life. A fact that can either be ignored or can be managed well to improve the quality of the public sector, including education.
In addition to reasons of social justice and legitimacy, there are several other reasons for pursuing diversity management policies. There are at least three reasons for assuming that diversity and diversity management would contribute to the quality of public sector organisations. (1) Identifying, recruiting and retaining diverse talents in the labor market; (2) Gaining access to and legitimacy with citizens (→ pupils, students); (3) Diversity can be a resource for learning and innovation , but only if it is managed well (cf elaboration processes)
For our research we selected seven policies that were frequently reported in previous research and could be categorized according to their targeting at the three reasons for pursuing diversity policies. Attracting and retaining diverse talents Preferential treatment Target figures Access and legitimacy to citizens, students and pupils Access to target groups by matching Diverse selection teams Networking Learning and innovation as a result of elaboration processes Cultural change programs Training on cultural differences
We conducted a survey among a representative sample of Dutch public sector employees. The final sample consisted of 11,557 employees, of which 5,142 were employed in one the educational subsectors.
First I will take a look at the incidence of policy instruments in the Dutch public sector. Please note, that the incidence of policies is measured by asking employees whether their organization pursues a kind of policy or not. So, the measure is subjective, it is the experience of the employee. In addition, we are counting employees reporting the presence of a policy. We are not counting organizations having such a policy. The graph shows the percentage of employees reporting a kind of policy. For each policy the graph shows the percentage of employees in three sectors, education (blue), government (red), and police and defence (green). The green bars are a bit overwhelming. Indeed, police and defence organizations are pursuing a lot of diversity policies, and much more than the two other sectors. Education is really staying behind. And that is the case for almost all policy types.
In short, we may conclude that education employs a relatively low share of ethnic minority employees . And, organizations in education conduct relatively few diversity policies. As already mentioned, we assume that there are several business case reasons for pursuing diversity policies: (1) Identifying, recruiting and retaining diverse talents in the labor market; or increase the share of talented ethnic minority employees; and (2) Improving the performance of the organization by gaining access to and legitimacy with pupils or students and foster a positive work climate for all that enhances elaboration processes. Therefore, on the basis of our survey data we analyzed whether and to what extent diversity policies in education: (1) Do affect commitment and retention of employees, and in particular ethnic minority employees positively; and (2) Do affect work motivation and work climate positively.
There are two policies that affect the outcomes positively and doing so to a greater extent for ethnic minority employees compared to native Dutch employees. We find the strongest effects for cultural changes programs. These programs are positively related to affective commitment, work motivation and work climate and negatively to turnover intention of employees, the intention to leave the organisation. In addition, we find a stronger effect of cultural change programs on the work motivation of ethnic minority employees.
Next to cultural change programs, policies that are targeted at access to target groups by matching employee and target groups (that is pupils and students) are positively related to a work climate where one feels safe and participation is stimulated. It is remarkable that we find an effect for this kind of programs in the educational sector, while in other sectors no such an effect is found. Representation of ethnic minorities in the educational workforce seems to be an important asset for bringing about a positive work climate in education organisations.
I will conclude with some policy recommendations for organisations in education. The experiment shows the need to prevent categorization processes in order to improve the work climate for students and their performance. The survey results show that policies targeted at access to target groups by matching and cultural change programs contribute to both retention and work motivation of (ethnic minority) employees and to a positive work climate. Education policy makers could adopt diversity management programs in order to foster a work climate that improves elaboration and performance in education. Diversity management could make an important contribution to the quality of our education organizations and their strategies to meet the European targets.
Diversity and diversity policies in educationEvidence from the Netherlands International Conference on Education Diverse Talents for the Future of Europe Brussels 5-6 March 2012 Dr Sandra Groeneveld Department of Public Administration Erasmus University Rotterdam The Netherlands email@example.com
Diversity and diversity policies in educationEvidence from the NetherlandsWhat is the impact of increasing ethnic-cultural diversity on performance in education?Outline:4. Diversity in higher education and performance of students: what can we learn from diversity management literature? – results from an experiment in Dutch higher education5. Diversity policies in education: are they effective? – results from an employee survey in the Dutch public sector
(1) Diversity in higher education and performance ofstudents: an experimentVan Knippenberg et al. (2004): Categorization-Elaboration Model (CEM)•Research on the relationship between work group diversity andperformance yielded inconsistent results.•Categorization-Elaboration Model (CEM) incorporates information/decisionmaking and categorization processes in one model.
(1) Diversity in higher education and performance ofstudents: an experimentVan Knippenberg et al. (2004): Categorization-Elaboration Model (CEM)•Information/decision making perspective: diversity within a group ispositively related to the elaboration of task relevant information andperspectives. Elaboration is related to work group performance.•Social categorization perspective: social categorization, the differentiationbetween in-group others and out-group others, leads to intergroup biases,dependent on threats to subgroup identity. Intergroup biases moderate therelationship between diversity and elaboration.
(1) Diversity in higher education and performance ofstudents: an experimentCategorization-Elaboration Model (CEM) (adjusted)Identity threat Intergroup biases/ affective reactionsDiversity Elaboration Performance: creativity, innovation, decision quality Task motivation Task ability
(1) Diversity in higher education and performance ofstudents: an experiment•We used CEM for analyzing work groupprocesses in higher education (Van Kleef,2011; Van Kleef & Groeneveld, forthcoming).•Field experiment•Design: • Nine working groups of app. 20 students with different shares of ethnic minority students (9 – 77 percent) • Diversity: share of ethnic minority students • Assignment (t0) → Discussion → Assignment (t1) • Survey•Structural equation modeling to assess the fit of the CEM model
(1) Diversity in higher education and performance of students: an experiment Results:Identity threat Affective reactions -Threat of subgroup Group cohesion,identity identification, commitment - + Diversity - Elaboration + Performance: …% Participatory Adjustments in ethnic safety and assignment minorities support etc. + Task motivation motivation
(1) Diversity in higher education and performance ofstudents: an experiment Conclusion: •Diversity hampers elaboration, unless affective reactions are positive. However, diversity is also negatively related to affective reactions due to identity threat. •Education policies should focus on fostering elaboration and on preventing intergroup biases. Education policies that integrate diversity perspectives are needed. •Diversity and diversity management policies in education could affect work climate for both employees and students → part 2
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: arethey effective?Diversity management policies are targeted at:3. Increasing the representation of ethnic minorities in the workforce;4. Improving the HRM outcomes and performance of a diverse workforce.
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: arethey effective?Diversity in education (source: Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, 2011) percentage ethnic minority employees 9,0 8,0 7,0 6,0 5,0 4,0 3,0 2,0 1,0 0,0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Education Government Police and defence
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: arethey effective?Diversity in education (source: Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, 2011) 9,0 8,0 7,0 6,0 5,0 4,0 3,0 2,0 1,0 0,0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Prim ary education Secundary education Higher vocational education University
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: arethey effective?•Coalition agreement (2010):“The government will abolishthe diversity/affirmativeaction policy on the basis ofgender and ethnic origin.Selection must be based onquality.” (Colorblind policy)
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: arethey effective?Motivations for pursuing diversity management policies:• Social justice and legitimacy of a representative public sector• Business case: • Identifying, recruiting and retaining diverse talents in the labor market; • Gaining access to and legitimacy with citizens (→ pupils, students); • Diversity is a resource for learning and innovation, if managed well (cf elaboration processes)
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: are they effective?Diversity policies in the Dutch public sector categorized according to thethree reasons for pursuing diversity policies: • Diverse talents • Preferential treatment • Target figures • Access and legitimacy • Access to target groups by matching • Diverse selection teams • Networking • Learning and innovation • Cultural change programs • Training on cultural differences
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: arethey effective?•Survey among Dutch public sector employees, 2011 (N = 11,557)•See: Celik, Ashikali & Groeneveld (2011); Ashikali (2011); Groeneveld &De Ruijter (2011).
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: arethey effective?Incidence of policy instruments in the Dutch public sector (percentage of employeesreporting a kind of policy) 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 ng s ure i ork t en f ig ms tw atm l... t gr a .. Ne .. rge y. re. se tre ro sb Ta d iffe ep an al up ti d g nt ro en al an me g ur fer ch et ult t Pre arg rui ral nc ltu rec t go to Cu e nin ss ers ce i Div Tra Ac Education Government Police and Defence
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: arethey effective?Conclusion from the previous:• Education employs a relatively low share of ethnic minority employees.• Organizations in education conduct relatively few diversity policies.A business case for diversity policies in education?• Do they affect commitment, and retention of ethnic minority employees in education positively [= increasing representation]?• Do they affect work motivation and work climate in education positively [= improving outcomes]?
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: arethey effective? Affective commitment Cultural change (+) programs Turnover intention (-) Work motivation (+) Work climate (+) Stronger effect on work motivation of ethnic minority employees
(2) Diversity and diversity policies in education: arethey effective? Access to target Work climate (+) groups by matchingStronger effect on work climate for ethnic minority employees
Diversity and diversity policies in education:concluding remarks•The experiment shows the need to prevent categorization processes inorder to improve the work climate for students and their performance.•The survey results show that policies targeted at access to targetgroups by matching and cultural change programs contribute to bothretention and work motivation of (ethnic minority) employees and to apositive work climate.•Education policy makers could adopt diversity management programs inorder to foster a work climate that improves elaboration and performancein education.