DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, DO THEY MAKE A DIFFERENCE? EXAMINING CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR ADOPTION IN LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
YONGBEOM HUR RUTH ANN STRICKLAND Appalachian State University
Organizations in both the private and public sectors have adopted diversity management practices (DMPs), hoping that they could better manage diversity-related issues with adopted practices. However, those adopted diversity management practices may be best guesses at best due to lack of hard evidence about their effects. With the data collected from the surveys sent to local governments in North Carolina, we probe the effects of adopted DMPs, conducting regression, analysis of variance, and correlation analyses. According to the findings of this study, adopted DMPs did not seem to work in achieving the goals of managing diversity, which is more likely when local governments adopt DMPs reactively, not proactively, or if there is a threshold in the number of adopted DMPs. If management-oriented goals such as reducing conflicts are not achieved in diversity management, local governments may not fully enjoy the benefits of being diverse in their organizations or may even hurt themselves because diversity in the workplace can be a double-edged sword in the end.
Local governments try to recruit, hire, and retain a more diverse workforce, based on the assumption that representative bureaucracies help achieve important public goals and diverse groups are more likely to get involved in making policies when workforces are diversified (Bradbury & Kellough, 2011; Brown & Harris, 1993 ; Krislov & Rosenbloom, 1981). Numerous scholars argue that the composition of governmental bureaucracies should be reflective of the demographic characteristics of the communities they serve (Alkadry, 2007; Kelly, 1998; Riccucci & Saidel, 1997).
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While diversified workforces could have higher problem-solving capabilities and increased organizational performance, based on more diverse perspectives, skills, and insights (e.g., Cox & Blake, 1991; Ely, 2004; Wiersema & Bantel, 1992), diversity researchers also point out possible conflicts among diverse groups, which may result in a low satisfaction level, a high intention to quit, and a reduced organizational performance in the end (e.g., Chatman & Flynn, 2001; Jehn, Northcraft, & Neale., 1999; Polzer, Milton, & William B. Swann, 2002; Schippers, Hartog, Koopman, & Wienk, 2003). In sum, these contradictory arguments and findings appear to make diversity “a double-edged sword” (Milliken & Martins, 1996, p. 403). Therefore, the challenge for managers can be how to reduce the negative results of having diversified workforces while protecting and increasing the benefits derived from workforce diversity (Ely, 2004, p. 756).
To address possible negative consequences of having diverse workforces, as well as to ensure a certain level of minority proportion in the workplace, a wide array of diversity management practices (DMPs) has been suggested (Pitts, 2009, p. 330). Although those DMPs become popular among employers and human resource managers in both the private and public sectors, only a few studies empirically examined their efficacy mainly due to data unavailability. This void in the diversity literature is surprising, given that managing for diversity has become one of the major management issues in both the private and public sectors and a growing number of governments have become interested in adopting DMPs. With little research , DMPs that are commonly suggested as best practices may be “best guesses, at best” (Kalev, Dobbin, & Kelly, 2006, p. 590), and public managers cannot go beyond making a guess when they consider adopting DMPs to achieve their goals of managing diversity (Pitts & Wise, 2010, p. 62).
Among a broad range of diversity concepts, this study focuses on racial/ethnic diversity as one of the most studied topics in the diversity literature (Pitts & Wise, 2010; Wise & Tschirhart, 2000), and examines the effects of adopted DMPs from both traditional and management-oriented views in diversity management (Pitts, 2009, p. 330). From the traditional
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view, we examine whether or not adopted DMPs increase workforce diversity. From the management-oriented view, we also probe whether adopted DMPs lower possible conflicts among diverse groups. In the present study, we intend to answer two major research questions by surveying North Carolina’s local governments. First, would local governments achieve diversity management goals by adopting a set of diverse DMPs? Second, what individual DMPs would work better than others in achieving those goals? As a first study conducted at a local government level, the findings in this study will expand our understanding about the effects of diversity management endeavors and help prospective adopters of diversity management practices who tend to look for confirmatory evidence before actual adoption of those practices (Wise & Tschirhart, 2000, p. 393).
Diversity management has become a critical human resource management tool to respond to a changing workforce (Agars & Kottke, 2005). The term “diversity management” carries a variety of meanings, but generally refers to organizational efforts to aggressively recruit, hire, and retain individuals from a variety of backgrounds and facilitate good working relationships among them (Miller & Rowney, 1999). Diversity management, picked up early by the business community (Evans & Oh, 1996), has quickly spread to the public sector. The private sector has used inclusiveness and diversity initiatives to increase profit margins and to shield itself from discrimination litigation (Caudron, 1997; Ludwig & Talluri, 2001; Speizer, 2004; Wiscombe, 2007).
Diversity management practices, often multifaceted in nature and designed to blend organizational structure with recognition of cultural diversity and representation through training, mentoring and diversity advocacy initiatives, are on the rise in the United States. Managers in both the private and public sectors have experimented with a variety of approaches such as team norms (e.g., Chatman & Flynn, 2001; Ely, 2004) and interpersonal congruence (e.g., Mohammed & Angell, 2004;
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Polzer et al., 2002) to deal more effectively with cultural diversity in the workplace (Ivancevich & Gilbert, 2000; Riccucci, 1997). However, the question is whether or not these approaches actually bring benefits to organizations and help reduce the negative effects of workforce diversity (Ely, 2004, p. 756). Unfortunately, only a few studies (Choi, 2009; Kalev et al., 2006; Naff & Kellough, 2003; Pitts, 2009) examine organizational consequences of diversity management endeavors in a comprehensive manner rather than focusing on a specific DMP. In addition to this, their findings are inconsistent as to whether DMPs actually work.
In the following sections, we first reviewed major empirical studies that examined effects of diversity management. Then, we identified and categorized DMPs that are commonly adopted by local governments to address diversity management issues such as recruiting/hiring diverse workforces, retaining them, and enhancing organizational performance with heterogeneous employees. Effects of Diversity Management
Despite the importance of diversity management in organizations, only a limited number of studies have been conducted to examine the effects of diversity management, and majority of them have focused on the effects of affirmative action plans (e.g., Button & Rienzo, 2003; Long, 2004; Loury, 1992; Massey & Mooney, 2007; Shteynberg, Leslie, Knight, & Mayer, 2011) and other single practices in diversity management (Ely, 2004; Horvath, Wasko, & Bradley, 2008; King, Dawson, Kravitz, & Gulick, 2012). This limited research about the effects of diversity management endeavor is surprising, given that prospective adopters of DMPs need to understand what DMPs can work better in different situations. The needs of those who might adopt DMPs can be met only by conducting empirical research in diverse contexts (Kalev et al., 2006; Pitts & Wise, 2010).
Some studies measure the effects of diversity management in terms of organizational attractiveness (Williams & Bauer, 1994), job applicants’ choice decisions (McNab & Johnston, 2002; Ng & Burke, 2005), and organizational citizen
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behavior (Shen, D’Netto, & Tang, 2010). Although these studies find positive effects of organizational efforts in managing diversity, they relied on the perception of study participants on organizational efforts in managing diversity, instead of measuring the effects of adopted diversity management practices. For instance, Williams and Bauer (1994) used recruitment brochures that either included or did not include a diversity management policy, and asked survey participants to rate organizations’ attractiveness based on their impression on those brochures. Ng and Burke (2005) asked MBA students to review recruitment letters that addressed/did not address diversity management, assess attractiveness of companies, and decide whether or not they would accept offers of employment.
Other studies adopted more systematic approaches in measuring organizational efforts in diversity management and their consequences, and found positive results (Choi, 2009; Choi & Rainey, 2010; Pitts, 2009). Pitts (2009) employed federal employees’ perceptions about diversity management in their organizations as an indicator of diversity management efforts, and found that diversity management practices had a positive effect on work group performance and job satisfaction. Choi (2009) and Choi and Rainey (2010), as part of their effort to objectively measure diversity management, added the number of anti-discrimination and whistleblowing complaints reported by personnel to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They found that diversity management had a positive impact on organizational performance (Choi and Rainey 2010) and on job satisfaction and turnover (Choi 2009). According to the findings in these studies, organizational performance and employees’ job satisfaction increased and turnover intention decreased as organizations made attempts to manage diversity-related issues.
Although organizations urgently need practical advice on how to manage increasingly diversified workforces, published works that examine the effects of adopted DMPs are rare. Two major exceptions are the studies done by Kalev et al. (2006) and Naff and Kellough (2003). Kalev et al. (2006) examined several common diversity management practices including affirmative action plans, diversity training, and mentoring programs, and measured effects of those adopted DMPs on racial representation
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(i.e., White and Black male and female) in management ranks. They found that DMPs that established organizational responsibility (e.g., affirmative action plans, diversity committees) resulted in more increased managerial diversity than other DMPs. In the public sector, Naff and Kellough (2003) took a comprehensive approach and examined the effects of adopted DMPs and used several dimensions of commonly adopted DMPs such as internal communication, training, and resource commitment as the basis for their study. However, after investigating the effects of those DMP dimensions on minority employees’ promotion, discharge, and voluntary turnover, they concluded that most of selected DMP dimensions were not effective in increasing promotion or decreasing turnover among minority employees. Diversity Management Practices (DMPs)
As a first study in examining the effects of diversity management at a local government level, similar to Kalev et al. (2006), we used a direct approach to measure the effects of adopted DMPs. In this study, common DMPs were categorized into two types (Types A and B), based on the nature of goals to achieve. While “Type A” DMPs aim at achieving more direct and traditional goals of diversity management such as increasing a diversity level among workforces, “Type B” DMPs focus on more comprehensive goals, and seek to address diversity-related issues such as reducing possible conflicts among diverse groups and fostering diversity culture, as well as increasing the organization’s diversity level. We hope that future research will refine DMP categories and continue to investigate the effects of DMPs. Given that local managers do not have practical guidance on how to manage more diverse workforces by adopting different types of DMPs, we believe this research can provide more insight on how to improve racial diversity levels in local governments as well as how to manage diversity-related concerns more effectively. 1. “Type A” DMPs Some DMPs that are commonly adopted by local governments have a focus on increasing minority diversity levels at
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workplaces. We call them “Type A” DMPs that particularly promote a minority diversity level in their organizations. Four DMPs were selected as Type A in this study.
Minority internship programs: Many organizations use minority internship programs for recruitment purposes and report increased diversity in workforces (e.g., Catchen & Lewittes, 1993; Diaz & Starkus, 1994; Ricardo & Holden, 1994). Minority internship programs can be an effective tool to connect minority job candidates to organizations by providing a structured, stimulating work experience (Catchen & Lewittes, 1993).
Affirmative action plans: Affirmative action plans form the most basic approach and commitment to equal employment opportunity (Burstein, 1994; Crosby & Cordova, 1996). Monitoring compliance with equal employment opportunity/affirmative action plans enhances their effectiveness. Although some agencies have been more successful than others in meeting equal opportunity goals, affirmative action still stands to benefit minority and under-represented groups in the public sector (Kellough, 1989).
Statistics comparison: The demographic representation of various local community ethnic groups in the organization’s workforce is also reflective of an organization’s commitment to cultural inclusiveness. Organizations that care about diversity will pay attention to the notion of group representation in community institutions by comparing workforce data and demographics to statistics reported for the civilian labor force in a locality (Wilson, 1997).
Diverse methods for recruiting and hiring diverse groups: Reaching out to diverse groups who fit community needs is in the public interest. More aggressive advertising in a wide array of sources informs all qualified applicants of job opportunities. This might involve not only local newspapers and postings in public buildings but also the Internet, professional societies and their newsletters, job phone lines, job fairs, and so on. Numerous organizations have developed community partnerships and alliances with minority associations. They link successful “diversity” recruiting to paying bonuses and ask divisions to implement diversity goals through teamwork (Agars & Kottke, 2005, p. 154).
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2. “Type B” DMPs Other DMPs are adopted by local governments to foster a diverse workplace with a diversity of ideas or to reduce possible conflicts among diverse groups in their organizations, rather than focus simply on pure demographic diversity. We call them “Type B” DMPs and selected seven DMPs in that category.
Diversity missions: A mission statement can remind employees and administrators of the organization’s underlying goals and philosophy (e.g., Bart & Tabone, 1998; Butcher, 1994; Campbell, 1997). Therefore, a mission statement that states the desirability of diversifying the workplace sends a signal to the potential applicant pool that organizations respect and value socio-cultural differences, sets the tone of an inclusive cultural workplace, and may have more than a symbolic effect on organizational behavior as well.
Diversity plans: Since successful organizational change can take as long as five to seven years, institutionalizing diversity management in a diversity plan is critical. Diversity management, like other initiatives, may be thwarted by leadership turnover but if integrated into an organization’s strategic plan, diversity management is more likely to survive long-term (U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2005, p. 9). In the development of a diversity plan, they should look at key areas that need improvement, such as how to make the organization more attractive to potential diverse recruits or how to make employees feel that their special talents and skills are appreciated (Society for Human Resource Management, 1999).
Diversity training: Diversity training is mentioned frequently as a tool for managing a diverse workforce. An integration and learning perspective creates the best conditions for benefiting from diversity in the workforce (Ely & Thomas, 2001). Managers, staff, and street-level bureaucrats should be trained to not only understand diversity but to value it (International Personnel Management Association, 2001). In particular, managers set the tone of workplace culture and have a major effect on receptivity toward diversity management. Diversity training may include a variety of topics including the provision of leadership for embracing diversity, how to reach out
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to diverse groups, how to develop a diversity plan, how to raise awareness and develop sensitivity toward diversity, how employees communicate with others who are different from themselves, and how to address multicultural issues in the workplace (Friday & Friday, 2003; Guillory, 2004; Mathews, 1998; Stone, 2005).
Manager accountability to diversity initiatives: Diversity management is more likely to succeed if managers buy into the need to expand the pool of applicants and hire diverse employees for the good of the organization. Some argue that if their own performance evaluations and salaries are linked to achieving diversity, managers may be even more committed to diversity initiatives (e.g., Wilson, 1997). Management commitment to implementing a diversity management plan is critical to the success of diversity management. Committed leaders will make diversity management a priority by communicating support through policy statements, speeches, meetings, organizational newsletters and web sites (Allen, Dawson, Wheatley, & White, 2004; U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2005).
Set-aside pool of resources targeted for diversity: Organizations with a strong diversity management commitment often set aside significant resources to address diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace (Bhawuk, Podsiadlowski, Graf, & Triandis, 2002, p. 138). Set-aside resources to address diversity issues is one of the most formal steps an organization can take but is dependent on flush budgets – therefore, it may be a less common step and may not be economically feasible among many local governments.
Diversity advocates: Organizations with designated diversity advocates, who shepherd and promote diversity initiatives, send a strong signal of support for workplace diversity. Diversity management advocates or specialists may help ensure that leadership at the top retains its commitment to addressing diversity issues (Leonard, 1991).
Diversity management review committees: The decision to appoint a diversity management review committee that examines organizational policies toward recruitment, selection, hiring, performance evaluation, and compensation means organization’s strong commitment to diversity management
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(Fernandez, 1999; Riccucci, 2002). A diversity management committee that monitors and manages diversity activities ensures that diversity issues will receive sustained attention; that management will remain sensitive to diversity issues; and that urgent diversity concerns will be addressed (Bhawuk et al., 2002, p. 139).
As stated previously, we examined the effects of diversity management from both traditional and management- oriented perspectives. Among possible views about what diversity management means, the traditional view is concerned about adequate representation of diverse groups in workplaces, whereas the management-oriented view pays attention to employee retention and collaboration (Pitts, 2009, p. 330). In this study, we first examined whether or not adopted DMPs increased a racial diversity level in local governments from the traditional perspective. Then, we examined if adopted DMPs reduced possible conflicts among diverse groups from the management- oriented perspective.
Before examining the effects of adopted DMPs in a group, three indexes were made with equal weights given to their component DMPs: an index for “Type A” DMPs (index A, hereafter), an index for “Type B” DMPs (index B, hereafter), and an index for all adopted DMPs (index AB, hereafter). Average scores for index A, index B, and index AB were 1.6 (out of 4), 2.5 (out of 7), 4.0 (out of 11) respectively. When the Cronbach’s alpha was examined to check if an internal consistency existed among the 11 selected DMPs, the alpha value (0.66) was acceptable according to Hair et al (1998), which confirmed that those selected DMPs in this study could be adopted to address diversity management issues. In this study, the effects of adopted DMPs were examined both collectively and individually. While we ran regression and correlation analyses for collective effects of adopted DMPs, analysis of variance (ANOVA) was employed to identify individual effects of adopted DMPs.
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Data Data were collected from local governments in North
Carolina through two rounds of surveys during 2007-2009. The first survey was sent to all county governments and city governments with more than 5,000 residents in their jurisdictions. In that survey, we asked several questions, including what DMPs were currently adopted. Out of 100 counties and 116 municipalities we surveyed, 42 county governments and 58 city governments responded, giving us a response rate of 46 percent. In 2009, we sent a follow-up survey to those 100 participants of the first survey and investigated whether or not they experienced positive outcomes from adopting DMPs in their governments. Thirty-five governments (12 county and 23 city governments) responded in the follow-up survey and those 35 participating local governments had 49,051 as an average population size and 70.5 percent as an average proportion of the White population in their jurisdictions. When the average percentages of different racial compositions in local governments were compared with the proportions in their respective communities, Caucasian populations were overrepresented (114.9%) and minority populations were underrepresented in local government organizations (Black: 89.3%, Latino: 25.6%).
While we collected the information about DMP adoption in local governments through surveys, socio-demographic data such as local government’s population and minority percentage came from the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2009), the population in North Carolina increased by 14.6 percent between 2000 and 2008, and the proportion of minorities including African American and Hispanic was 33.0 percent (as of 2007), while the population in the U.S. increased by 8 percent during the same period and the proportion of minorities was 35.2 percent. That is, North Carolina is a typical state in the U.S. in terms of socio- demographic composition and its change. In this study, we assumed that North Carolina’s local governments have similar needs to manage diversity in comparison with local governments in other states, and that their propensity to adopt DMPs is also typical.
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Measures of a Racial Diversity Level We chose two different indicators for measuring a racial
diversity level. While minority percentage in hired employees is local government’s endeavor to increase a racial diversity level, the Blau index is an outcome of local government efforts to increase a racial diversity level.
Percentage of minority in hired employees: Local governments’ efforts to increase a racial diversity level in their organizations were gauged by this indicator. For the sake of simplicity, only hired Caucasian employees were differentiated from other employees in this measure. For example, if a local government hired 6 Caucasian employees out of 10 hired employees, the percentage of minority in hired employees is 40. As local governments hire more employees with minority backgrounds, the racial diversity level in the work place is likely to increase.
Blau Index: After being created by Gibbs and Martin (1962), the Blau Index has been used as one of the most common indicators to determine the variation of categorical data. Since we focused on racial diversity in this study, the Blau Index would be zero when a workplace has only one racial group of employees (e.g., white employees only) as seen in the formula. On the contrary, when all employees are different in their races, the index would be close to one. In this study, we made the Blau Index based on four racial categories such as White, Black, Latino, and others. Given a very low Blau index of .3, indicating that Caucasians are overrepresented in North Carolina’s local government personnel, more efforts to diversify workforces at the local level seem necessary. Measures of Conflicts
According to the turnover literature, major reasons for resignation include low job satisfaction (e.g., Coomber & Barriball, 2007; Hellman, 1997; Larrabee et al., 2003) and more opportunities for alternative jobs (e.g., Hulin, Roznowski, & Hachiya, 1985; Michaels & Spector, 1982; Mobley, 1982). When employees experience more conflicts in their workplaces, their job satisfaction levels can decline and employees may decide to resign in the end because they may find it more
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attractive to leave than to stay if the level of conflict becomes severe (Schneider, 1987; Shaw, Delery, Jenkins, & Gupta, 1998). To measure possible conflicts among diverse groups, we used employees’ voluntary turnover rates as an indicator of conflicts among diverse groups as Naff and Kellough (2003) did.
Voluntary turnover rates: As diversity researchers pointed out (e.g., Jehn et al., 1999; Schippers et al., 2003), possible conflicts may exist among diverse groups as workforces become more diverse. Since employees may quit if these conflicts become severe, we employed voluntary turnover rates to measure a conflict level in an organization. Particularly, minority employees are likely to be victims of the conflicts among diverse groups, and their turnover rates (nonwhite quit rates: NWQ rates) can increase when local governments become racially more diversified and conflicts become severer as a result. NWQ rates were calculated by dividing the number of nonwhite resignation by the number of all employees’ resignation.
RESULTS Effects of Collective DMPs
Before examining the effects of adopted DMPs collectively, we first conducted correlation analyses with measures of diversity levels and conflicts, three indexes of adopted DMPs, and socio-demographic variables. As seen in table 1, the Blau Index as an indicator for a racial diversity level was significantly and positively correlated with index B and index AB (p < 0.05). According to this finding, it seems that the racial diversity levels significantly increased when local governments made efforts to address diversity-related issues through adopting more “Type B” DMPs or overall DMPs (Types A and B). If not significant, the Blau index also substantially increased by adopting “Type A” DMPs (r = 0.32).
The Blau Index was significantly and positively correlated with the percentage of nonwhite population (Nonwhite %) in their jurisdictions and nonwhite employees’ hired rates (NWH rates) (p < 0.01). According to this finding, as local governments have more diversified population in their
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jurisdictions, they tend to hire more nonwhite employees and adopt more DMPs, which leads to a higher racial diversity level as a result. With respect to possible conflicts among diverse groups, however, government efforts such as adopting more “Type B” DMPs do not seem to reduce voluntary turnover among nonwhite employees (NWQ rates).
We also found a positive and significant relationship between nonwhite quit rates (NWQ rates) and total employee quit rates (TEQ rates) (r = 0.45, p < 0.01). In fact, the percentage of resigned White employees among White employees was not different from that of resigned nonwhite employees among nonwhite employees. This indicates that possible conflicts among diverse groups affect all employees, not just minority employees. While employees may quit due to growing conflicts among diverse groups, their decision for resignation can be also affected by other factors such as a low pay level, unique organizational culture, better job opportunities, and so on (e.g., Fields, Dingman, Roman, & Blum, 2005; Mobley, 1982; Price, 1977; Wagner, 2007). In this study, however, the effects of those factors were not examined due to data unavailability.
We ran regression analyses to explore collective effects of adopted DMPs (i.e., Indexes A, B, and AB) on increasing a racial diversity level (table 2) and on reducing conflicts among diverse groups (table 3). No evidence of multicollinearity was found in any regression model according to the rules of thumb suggested by Chatterjee, Hadi, and Price (2000). As seen in table 2, the Blau Index (Model 1) and a percentage of nonwhite hired employees (NWH rates in Model 2) were used as dependent variables and two socio-demographic variables such as a population size and a percentage of nonwhite population in a jurisdiction were included as the diversity literature suggested (Eisinger, 1982; Kerr & Mladenka, 1994; Stein, 1986). As seen in adjusted R-square values, about 40 percent of the variation in hiring nonwhite employees was explained by Model 1, and more than 70 percent of the variation in racial diversity levels was explained by Model 2. While the percentage of nonwhite population in a jurisdiction and a total population size in the jurisdictions had significant and positive effects on hiring more nonwhite employees (Model 1) and increasing diversity levels
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(Model 2), DMP indexes did not show significant effects on increasing a diversity level in local governments. According to this finding, local governments’ DMP adoption might not be sufficient enough to achieve a goal of increasing a racial diversity level among employees. Table 1 Correlation matrix
Blau Index 1 NWH ratesa
.56 ** 1
.08 -.00h 1
Index Ad .32 .04
Index Be .35 * .35
Index ABf .40 * .27
Population .15 .08
Notes: *p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01 *** p < 0.001 a – percentage of minority in hired employees, b – total employee quit rates, c – nonwhite employee quit rates, d – index for “Type A” DMPs e – index for “Type B” DMPs f – index for Types A and B DMPs, g – percentage of nonwhite population in community, h – the correlation coefficient is less than 0.005
To examine the effects of adopted DMPs on conflict levels, the percentage of nonwhite employee resignation (NWQ rates) was used as dependent variables in Model 3 and the Blau Index was included in the model because more conflicts are predicted as workforces become more diversified. Although resignation decisions can be affected by other factors such as
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alternative job opportunities as well as diverse personal reasons (Mobley, 1982; Price, 1977), Model 3 accounted for about 30 percent of variation in minority employees’ turnover decision according to adjusted R-squared values. As seen in table 3, nonwhite employees are likely to resign as a result of possible conflicts among diverse groups when workforces become more diversified (p < 0.01). However, neither index—Types A or B— worked to reduce the resignation levels of nonwhite employees. As discussed later, local governments might not proactively adopt DMPs to address expected conflicts. Rather, they might decide to adopt DMPs after conflicts became an issue as workforces became more diversified. Table 2 Effects of Adopted DMPs on Diversity Levels
Model 1 (D.V.: NWH rates)a Model 2
(D.V.: Blau Index)
Population (log val.)
Index Bc .06 -.03 Index ABd -.06 .02
Observation no. 32 32 32 35 35 35
F-value 7.80 **
Adjusted-R2 .40 .37 .37 .77 .77 .76 Notes: Standardized coefficients are displayed *p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01 *** p < 0.001 a. NWH rates: percentage of nonwhite hired employees b. Index A: Index for “Type A” DMPs c. Index B: Index for “Type B” DMPs d. Index AB: Index for Types A and B DMPs
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Table 3 Effects of Adopted DMPs on Conflict Level Model 3 (Dependent var.: NWQ rates)a
Blau Index .48 ** .48 **
Index Bb .17
Index ABc .16
Observation no. 32 32
F-value 6.84 ** 6.76 **
Adjusted-R2 .27 .27
Notes: Standardized coefficients are displayed *p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01 *** p < 0.001 a. NWQ rates: percentage of nonwhite employee resignation b. Index B: Index for “Type B” DMPs c. Index AB: Index for Types A and B DMPs Effects of Individual DMPs
Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was run to examine whether or not there was a significant difference between governments that adopted DMPs and governments that did not in terms of their racial diversity and conflict levels. While both diversity and conflict levels were compared between governments that adopted and did not adopt DMPs in examining the effects of “Type B” DMPs, only diversity levels were compared when we examined the effects of “Type A” DMPs, whose focuses are increasing a diversity level. As seen in table 4, some DMPs such as diversity training and manager’s accountability to diversity initiatives were more popular among local governments and more than 65 percent of participating governments adopted those DMPs, other DMPs such as set-aside pool of resources targeted for diversity, diversity management review committee, and minority internship programs were not commonly adopted by local governments and less than 10 percent of participating governments adopted them (percentages not shown in the table).
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According to the ANOVA results, local governments that adopted some DMPs showed significantly higher diversity levels than the others (detailed results not shown in the table). That is, the higher Blau index was significantly associated with the adoption of such DMPs as diversity plans, diversity training, diversity advocates, affirmative action plans, and diverse methods for recruiting and hiring minority employees. Adopting a diversity plan and having diverse methods for recruiting and hiring minority employees were also significantly related with hiring more nonwhite employees. However, conflict levels were not reduced by adopting “Type B” DMPs. The percentage of nonwhite employee resignation (NWQ rates) was even higher for governments who adopted diversity plans or held managers accountable for diversity initiatives. This paradoxical finding about conflict levels can be possible in the following situations. First, local governments might decide to adopt “Type B” DMPs as a response to increased conflicts among diverse groups, instead of proactively adopting them to manage it. If local governments tried to preempt possible conflicts among diverse groups before conflicts emerged, then the conflict level could be much lower and manageable. In a second possible situation, some local governments might not adopt “Type B” DMPs because a perceived level of conflict among diverse groups is not high enough to get attention from managements. Therefore, those local governments that adopted “Type B” DMPs could have a higher conflict level than other governments that did not adopt “Type B” DMPs although “Type B” DMPs might actually work in reducing conflicts.
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Table 4 ANOVA Results for the Effects of Adopting Individual DMPs
or y Individual DMPs
DMP adopting Gov’t (With/Without)
Diversity levels. Conflict levels
Blau Index (F-stat)
NWH ratesc (F-statistics)
NWQ ratesd (F-statistics)
Minority internship Programs
(2/33)a .42b .04 N/Ae
Affirmative action plans (15/20) 3.08
+ .01 N/A
Statistics comparison (16/19) .62 .08 N/A
Methods for recruiting & hiring diverse groups
(17/18) 7.52** 4.87* N/A
Diversity missions (13/22) .07 1.38 1.72
Diversity plans (18/17) 3.80
+ 10.27** 3.42+
Diversity training (21/14) 3.71
+ .02 .27
Manager’s accountability to diversity initiatives
(30/5) 1.98 1.02 3.11+
Set-aside pool of resources
targeted for diversity (3/32)
.54 .51 .92
Diversity advocates (8/27) 3.1
+ 1.90 1.98
Diversity management review committees
(2/33) 1.28 .33 .84
Notes: + < .10, * p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001 a. The first number denotes the number of governments that adopted a subject DMP and the second number is the number of governments that did not adopt a subject DMP out of 35 participating governments. For example, 2 local governments adopted diversity mission and 33 local governments did not adopt it. b. F-statistics of ANOVA are displayed in the table. For example, when the Blau indexes were compared between governments with and without adopting minority internship programs, no significant difference was found according to the F-statistics (0.42). c. NWH rates: percentage of nonwhite hired employees d. NWQ rates: percentage of nonwhite employee who resigned (or quit) e. Not applicable. Conflict levels were not compared between DMP-adoption and non-adoption governments because these four “Type A” DMPs focus on increasing diversity levels, not on addressing possible conflicts.
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SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION
In this study, we probed the consequences of adopting DMPs in local government both individually and collectively. To measure the effects of collective DMPs, we ran regression analyses using constructed indexes (indexes A, B, and AB) as a measure of government efforts to address diversity management issues. We found no significant effects of collective DMPs on a racial diversity and conflict levels. However, when the effects of individual DMPs were examined using ANOVA, some DMPs were identified to help significantly increase diversity levels in local governments. In particular, local governments with a diversity plan or diverse methods for recruiting and hiring minority employees showed higher diversity levels (i.e., Blau index) or hired more nonwhite employees (i.e., NWH rates) than other governments that did not adopt DMPs. No individual DMPs among “Type B” DMPs were identified to reduce conflicts among employees. While it is all right to make efforts to increase a workforce diversity level, local governments may not fully enjoy benefits derived from more diversified workforces or may even hurt themselves if conflict issues are ignored or addressed too late because diversified workforces can be “a double-edged sword” in the end (Milliken & Martins, 1996).
According to the findings in this study, it seems that DMP adoption was not a big help to achieve a traditional goal (i.e., increasing a minority diversity level) or a management- oriented goal (i.e., reducing conflicts among diverse groups) in diversity management. We interpret these findings as follows. First, local governments might take an action of adopting DMPs too late. That is, their decision to adopt DMPs may be reactive, not proactive. As mentioned previously, if a local government decided to adopt DMPs to address conflict issues among diverse groups only after conflicts among diverse groups became a serious issue, there would be no difference in the conflict level between governments that adopted DMPs and governments that did not even though DMPs may actually work. Second, there may be a threshold in the number of adopted DMPs to see their effects. If a threshold exists, local governments that already
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adopted some DMPs need to adopt more DMPs to see significant effects of DMP adoption in managing diversity.
Due to difficulties in operationalizing diversity management functions in empirical research (Pitts, 2009, p. 329) and lack of available data, only a few researchers (Choi, 2009; Naff & Kellough, 2003; Pitts, 2009) examined the effects of adopted DMPs in the public sector, using second-hand data at a federal level for their studies. Unlike extant studies, however, we directly collected information by surveying local governments in North Carolina and could probe the effects of adopted DMPs both individually and collectively. Although our investigation about the effects of adopted DMPs can be preliminary, to the best of our knowledge, this study is a first empirical endeavor at a local government level that answered an urgent question, “what does and does not work for managing diversity” (Pitts & Wise, 2010, p. 62). In this study, we provided an insight into how typical local governments in the U.S. address diversity management issues, as well as what consequences would be possible when DMPs are adopted by them. We hope that more studies will be prompted to examine the effects of DMP adoption in more depth, particularly focusing on the timing and a possible threshold of DMP adoption.
1. The working definition of diversity, as developed and used by the former Vice President Al Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government (Formerly National Performance Review) is “all characteristics and experiences that define each of us as individuals” (U.S. Department of Commerce and Vice President Al Gore 2000). From the NPR’s perspective, diversity includes “the entire spectrum of primary dimensions of an individual, including Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Age, Religion, Disability, and Sexual Orientation (REGARDS).” 2. Our implicit assumption is that adopted DMPs should help achieve diversity management goals from both traditional and management- oriented views. 3. For diversity training, local governments may invite experts from outside. Street-level bureaucrats can be trained by their managers or HR staffs that already received diversity training.
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4. One point was given to each adopted DMP. For recruitment methods, 0.2 point was given to each of five recruiting methods to make the weight same to other DMPs (i.e., one point). 5. Hair et al. (1998) suggested 0.6-0.7 as a criterion for acceptability. Some other scholars (e.g., Nunnally and Bernstein 1994) suggested 0.7 as a modest reliability criterion and 0.66 was also close to that value. 6. Originally 45 counties responded, but three counties were excluded due to their anonymous responses. 7. Population estimation (2006) for cities came from the North Carolina Office of State Budget Management because the U.S. census bureau provided population estimation only for cities with more than 25,000 residents. 8. We acknowledge that states can be different in responding to diversity-related issues due to their different history and political cultures. As a result, cultural considerations may make trends toward adopting DMPs unique. 9. The Blau Index of diversity is calculated by this formula:
where p = proportion of individuals in a diversity category, N = number of diversity categories 10. Individual Value Inflation Factors (VIFs) were between 1.03 and 1.44, and the mean VIF was 1.18. According to Chatterjee et al. (2000), the evidence of multicollinearity exists if the largest VIF is greater than 10 and if the mean of all the VIFs is considerably larger than one such as 10 or 30 (StataCorp 2003, p. 378). 11. Although some DMP indexes had negative coefficients, the effects of DMP indexes can be ignored because p-values were large enough (p > 0.40). 12. Although we did not display the effects of Index A in table 3 because “Type A” DMPs focus on promoting minority levels, not addressing possible conflicts among diverse groups, the effects of Index A were also insignificant. The effects of DMP indexes on reducing resignation can be ignored because p-values were too large (p > 0.30). 13. Although only F-statistics are displayed in the table for the sake of simplicity, mean values of the Blau index, NWH rates, and NWQ rates are available upon request. We compared mean values of the Blau Index, NWH rates, and NWQ rates between governments that adopted DMPs and governments that did not adopt DMPs in our analysis. 14. The Central Personnel Data File and the Federal Human Capital Survey Data were used by Naff and Kellough (2003) and Pitts (2009), respectively.
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15. We could not include more control variables in the regression analyses due to a small observation number and data limitation, and ANOVA tests did not control for other possible variables that may be related to diversity or conflict levels.
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