Diversity Climate and Retention: Looking beyond Female and Minority Employees

Article excerpt

David Kaplan, Jack Wiley and Carl Maertz, Jr., in a recent article published in Human Resource Management, reported, "The efficacy of diversity management depends on demonstrating the value-added organizational benefits of diversity-related initiatives and of a more diverse workforce." They continued, "Researchers and practitioners need to focus, therefore, on specific tangible benefits of diversity initiatives and on understanding how they are realized."

The focus of this study is the relationship between diversity climate and turnover intention, as mediated by a construct called calculative attachment. Other constructs of interest include pay satisfaction and supervisory effectiveness. Diversity climate is defined in the study as "employee perceptions regarding the extent to which individual diversity is valued, integrated into organizational life and supported through fair employment practices." Said the authors, "We propose that by fostering a positive diversity climate an organization can increase the likelihood that an employee will determine that management is committed to non discrimination and will trust that decisions concerning his or her career will be made fairly." Thus, the employee would be more likely to stay with the organization.

As proposed by the authors, calculative attachment plays a mediating role in the relationships between employee perceptions of the organization's diversity climate, pay satisfaction, supervisory effectiveness and turnover intention. Calculative attachment has been defined by Maertz and Griffin (2004) as "a rational calculation of the probability of attaining important values and goals in the future through continued membership." Thus, calculative attachment is expected to be high where employees perceive positive future job and career opportunities with the firm. Key findings of the study are highlighted below.

First, firms exhibiting a positive diversity climate were expected to experience lower turnover. Second, among other things, the authors hypothesized that these findings would be similar for white males as well as female and minority employees. Their underlying rationale was as follows:

   Although researchers have suggested
   that the benefits of diversity initiatives
   may be limited to women and minorities,
   we question this conclusion. …