The Influence of Organizational Diversity Orientation and Leader Attitude on Diversity Activities

By Buttner, E. Holly; Lowe, Kevin B. et al. | Journal of Managerial Issues, Fall 2006 | Go to article overview

The Influence of Organizational Diversity Orientation and Leader Attitude on Diversity Activities


Buttner, E. Holly, Lowe, Kevin B., Billings-Harris, Lenora, Journal of Managerial Issues


The U.S. population is becoming increasingly diverse (U.S. Census Bureau, 2003). Many multinational companies recognize the need to manage their diverse workforces as evidenced by the proliferation of diversity programs being implemented in multinational corporations (Wentling and Palma-Rivas, 2000). Recent research suggests that firms that effectively manage their workforce diversity may experience positive outcomes. For example, research indicates that firms with higher percentages of women managers report relatively higher financial performance (Shrader et al., 1997) and greater effectiveness (Richard and Johnson, 2001). Recognizing these evolving workplace trends, numerous scholars have addressed issues related to diversity in organizations (e.g., Carter, 2000; Cox, 2001).

The purposes of the present study are three-fold: first, to develop a robust measure of the extent of organizational diversity activities; second, to examine the influence of demographic characteristics and racial awareness on leader attitudes; and third, to investigate the influence of organizational diversity orientation and leader attitude on organizational diversity activities. First, Comer and Soliman (1996) in their survey of organizations' diversity practices found that while numerous companies have implemented diversity strategies, few have attempted to assess their diversity activities. The researchers call for development of measures of diversity initiatives. This study presents a scale measuring the extent of diversity initiatives for possible use in future research and in organizational assessments. A second purpose is to examine the influence of race, sex and racial awareness on leaders' attitudes toward diversity in organizational units not previously examined in the literature, that of U.S. college and university business schools. Evidence about the influence of demographic characteristics, used as proxies, for diversity attitudes in research has been mixed. This study provides evidence about the efficacy of using racial awareness instead of demographic characteristics of race and sex as proxies for diversity attitudes of highly educated organizational leaders. The third purpose is to explore the effect of an organization's orientation toward diversity and attitudinal influences of leaders on the extent of business unit diversity activities. These potential influences on diversity activities have not been examined in the research literature to date.

African American, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American and other minority students have been enrolling at U.S. colleges and universities at increasing rates over the past decade. About 30% of undergraduate students in 1999-2000 were minorities (Choy, 2002). However, in 2002-2003, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans comprised only 17% of U.S. undergraduate business students and 8% of MBA students (Shinn, 2003). In spite of the lagging minority business enrollment, there has been little published research examining diversity initiatives in business schools. Consistent with the trend in business organizations to implement diversity training and other initiatives, AACSB International (DiTomaso et al., 1998) has called for assessments or audits, including surveys to assess the current diversity climate in business schools. Studying business school leaders' attitude toward diversity is important because undergraduates' and graduates' diversity attitudes may be influenced by their school leaders' attitudes (Fairhurst and Starr, 1996). The graduates may take these attitudes into the workplace.

HYPOTHESES

Leaders' Attitude toward Diversity

Several studies have suggested that top management commitment and support of diversity initiatives is crucial to diversity change efforts (Konrad and Linnehan, 1992; Rynes and Rosen, 1995). Other empirical evidence regarding the influence of sex and race on organizational members' attitudes toward diversity issues has been mixed.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Influence of Organizational Diversity Orientation and Leader Attitude on Diversity Activities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.