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Group & Organization


Understanding Diversity Management Practices: Implications of

Institutional Theory and Resource-Based Theory
Yang Yang and Alison M. Konrad
Group & Organization Management 2011 36: 6
DOI: 10.1177/1059601110390997

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390997 GOM

Group & Organization Management

Understanding 36(1) 6­–38

© The Author(s) 2011
Reprints and permission: http://www.
Diversity Management
DOI: 10.1177/1059601110390997
Practices: Implications

of Institutional Theory
and Resource-Based

Yang Yang1 and Alison M. Konrad2

Diversity management practices consist of the set of formalized practices
developed and implemented by organizations to manage diversity effectively
among all organizational stakeholders. We review the extant literature on
antecedents and outcomes of diversity management practices. Applying
institutional and resource-based theories, we develop a research model out-
lining several possible avenues for future research. We also identify ways
that research on diversity management practices has the potential to advance
the two theoretical perspectives.

workplace diversity, diversity management, diversity management practices,
institutional theory, resource based theory

Given the potential of the business case for diversity and the fact that organi-
zations must cope with diversity regardless of whether it offers an opportunity
for competitive advantage or not (Cox & Blake, 1991), organizations are

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

Corresponding Author:
Yang Yang, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Suite 2000,
SH-DH, 3620 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370

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Yang and Konrad 7

developing systems and practices to manage the contemporary diverse

workplace more effectively. Multiple prior reviews and meta-analyses have
examined the outcomes of workplace diversity (Bowers, Pharmer, & Salas,
2000; Joshi & Roh, 2009; Webber & Donahue, 2001; Williams & O’Reilly,
1998), and these reviews have shown that the relationship between diver-
sity and outcomes is complex and based on a variety of contingencies. One
of the contingencies that may be critical to the outcomes of workplace diver-
sity is the presence or absence of effective diversity management. The focus
of this review is on the diversity management practices designed and imple-
mented by organizations with the intention of generating positive outcomes
in a diverse workplace.
The extant literature provides two theoretical models describing the appro-
priate organizational design for effective diversity management. Cox’s (1993)
model of the multicultural organization explains that organizations must allow
employees to bring their entire set of identities to work rather than requiring
employees to suppress important identities in order to assimilate to the domi-
nant organizational culture. Ely and Thomas’ (2001) learning and integration
paradigm explains further that organizations should encourage employees to
bring the entire sum of their demographic and cultural knowledge to bear on
organizational problems. The greater variety in knowledge and experience
generated by diversity will benefit the organization by providing a larger set
of choices for managing problems and opportunities. The result will be a
superior set of products and work processes.
Both Cox (1993) and Ely and Thomas (2001) describe an ideal end state
for organizations to achieve if they wish to manage diversity effectively.
Kossek and Pichler (2006) extend their work by identifying three types of
diversity management practices they believe are most effective for achieving
the desired end state. They conclude that the best diversity management prac-
tices accomplish the following three goals: (a) promoting perceptions of orga-
nizational justice and inclusion, (b) reducing discrimination, and (c) improving
financial competitiveness.
We intend to add to these advances by providing a theoretical foundation
for understanding the antecedents and outcomes of diversity management
practices. By diversity management practices, we mean any formalized orga-
nizational system, process, or practice developed and implemented for the
purpose of effective diversity management. In the field of workplace diversity,
as in the field of management in general, “effectiveness” has multiple meanings.
As such, we include in our definition practices intended to generate a variety
of positive outcomes, including creating a more diverse set of stakeholders,

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8 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

developing a positive working relationship among diverse stakeholders, and

creating value from diversity.
To contribute to the field’s understanding of workplace diversity manage-
ment, we review the extant literature examining the antecedents and outcomes
of diversity management practices. We also identify possibilities for future
research based on two perspectives that have previously been brought to bear
on this topic: resource-based theory (Richard, 2000; Richard, McMillan,
Chadwick, & Dwyer, 2003) and institutional theory (Fuller, Edelman, &
Matusik, 2000; Konrad & Linnehan, 1995). Resource-based theory and insti-
tutional theory offer valuable theoretical lenses for identifying fundamental
research questions for the field of diversity management, and diversity man-
agement provides a special context for testing both theories and can in turn
facilitate the theoretical development of the two perspectives.
We structure the review as follows. The first section defines the construct
of diversity management practices to identify the domain of this review arti-
cle. The second section reviews the major arguments of institutional theory,
identifies research questions for the field of workplace diversity based on that
theoretical perspective, and outlines extant research relevant to those ques-
tions. The third section outlines the major arguments of resource-based the-
ory to identify research questions for the field of workplace diversity and
outlines extant research relevant to that set of questions. The last section of
this article identifies ways that workplace diversity research can inform and
extend both institutional theory and resource-based theory. We conclude with
suggestions for future research.

Diversity Management Practices

The concept of diversity management practices, which we define as the set
of formalized practices developed and implemented by organizations to man-
age diversity effectively, is complex. We focus this review on formalized
diversity management practices for a number of reasons. First, formalized
practices are relatively long-lived. In a 30-year longitudinal study, Kalev,
Dobbin, and Kelly (2006) found that very few formalized diversity practices
were removed once they were put into place by an organization. Second,
formalized practices have the potential to penetrate across the organization,
unlike informal actions by individual diversity champions, who may either
lose energy or leave the organization. Third, the tradition of strategic human
resource management (SHRM) has shown that formalized practices can be
observed and compared between organizations and linked with important

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Yang and Konrad 9

outcomes at the organizational level of analysis (Becker & Huselid, 2006).

Although diversity management by individual leaders is an important topic
of inquiry and a nascent literature on diversity leadership is showing promis-
ing results (Kearney & Gebert, 2009; Nishii & Mayer, 2009; Stewart &
Johnson, 2009), leadership models are conceptually distinct from the models
of organizational design relevant to formalized management practices, and
we do not consider studies of diversity leadership in this review.
Kossek and Pichler (2006) argued that the best practices for diversity focus
on selecting for diversity, reducing workplace discrimination, and generating
financial effectiveness. Consistent with their categorization, we include in
our definition of diversity management practices any formalized practices
intended to enhance stakeholder diversity, create a positive working relation-
ship among diverse sets of stakeholders, and create value from diversity.
Many organizations are significantly more homogeneous than the avail-
able and qualified working population (Avery, McKay, & Wilson, 2008). To
become effective in the area of diversity requires that such organizations
increase the diversity of their stakeholder groups, including but not limited to
employees and leaders. For this reason, management practices designed to
enhance organizational diversity constitute a key component of this review.
Such practices often involve the removal of barriers to employment of histori-
cally marginalized groups and, as such, we include employment equity and
affirmative action programs under our definition of diversity management
Considerable research and theorizing have demonstrated that it is easier to
develop effective working relationships in homogeneous workplaces than in
diverse workplaces (van Knippenberg, De Dreu, & Homan, 2004). For this
reason, it is important to include in our definition of diversity management prac-
tices, those practices intended to create a good working relationship among a
diverse set of stakeholders. Finally, because the business case for diversity has
been a key driver of organizational efforts in this area (Cox, 1993; Kossek,
Lobel, & Brown, 2006; Litvin, 2006), we include practices designed to gen-
erate value from diversity in our definition of diversity management practices.
We identified research studies for possible inclusion in this review by
searching the academic databases, Academic Search Premier, Business
Source Complete, ProQuest, PsycINFO, SAGE, and JSTOR using the search
terms diversity management, diversity management practices, employment
equity, and affirmative action. We also identified review articles and meta-
analyses and searched the reference lists of those articles for studies to include
in this review. In total, we identified 41 quantitative field studies, 15 qualita-
tive field studies, and 12 laboratory experiments of the antecedents and/or

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10 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

outcomes of diversity management practices in organizations. All of these

studies were analyzed in the preparation of this review, and 53 of them are
cited in the review.
Although practices designed to enhance the validity of human resource
decisions in general constitute an important foundation of effectiveness in
diversity management (Kossek & Pichler, 2006), we did not review validity
studies of employment selection practices. Validity studies concern them-
selves with many other issues besides diversifying the organization’s human
capital base, and other authors have provided valuable reviews. For instance,
Huffcutt and Roth (1998) presented meta-analytic evidence showing that
structured interview techniques significantly reduce racial group differences
in employment interview evaluations.
We did not include studies examining the outcomes of diversity training
because other authors have provided prior reviews of this literature (Kulik &
Roberson, 2008; Roberson, Kulik, & Pepper, 2003), and because this body of
research examines complex training effectiveness models beyond the scope
of our theorizing in this article (e.g., Roberson, Kulik, & Pepper, 2009).
Kulik and Roberson (2008) concluded that diversity training programs result
in positive learning effects in both educational and organizational settings.
Diversity training increases participants’ knowledge of diversity and enhances
positive attitudes toward diverse organizations. Attitudes toward particular
groups do not seem to be significantly affected by diversity training, however
(Kulik & Roberson, 2008). In Roberson et al.’s (2009) longitudinal study, it
is shown that transfer of diversity training knowledge to the workplace is
greatest for participants who score highly on diversity skills, who work in a
unit where utilization of the training is valued, and who are members of racio-
ethnic minority groups (as compared with their White counterparts).
Previous authors have also reviewed the extant research on individuals’
reactions to targeted recruiting techniques and developed a sophisticated
psychological model for subsequent testing (Avery & McKay, 2006), so we
did not include those studies in our review. Avery and McKay concluded
that women and members of racioethnic minority groups consider the emp­
loyer’s support of diversity to be more important than their male and White
counterparts do. Recruitment ads that include equal employment opportu-
nity statements and pictorial displays of a diverse set of people holding high-
status jobs are particularly attractive to women and racioethnic minorities
(Avery & McKay, 2006). Statements about an employer’s efforts to move
women into leadership positions are attractive to women with a strong gen-
der identity but undesirable to women with a weak gender identity (Martins
& Parsons, 2007). Use of demographically similar recruiters is beneficial for

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Yang and Konrad 11

Antecedents of Diversity Implementation of Diversity Outcomes of Diversity

Management Practices: Management Practices: Management Practices:
Institutional Theory Institutional Theory Institutional Theory
Regulative forces • Ceremonial adoption External Legitimacy
• Laws, regulations, rules • Actual substantive change • Government, advocacy groups,
Normative forces • Consistency across the customers, funders
• Social & professional norms organization and over time Internal Legitimacy
Cognitive forces • Fairness perceptions,
Resource Based Theory
• Culture, ethics • Adoption of bundles of practices acceptance of diversity
Resource Based Theory that are difficult for competitors management practices by
Competitive forces to diagnose and imitate organizational members
• Value of diversity for conceiving • Internal fit or consistency of
an effective business strategy diversity management practices
• Value of diversity for with each other and with
implementing strategy internal processes
• Management recognition of the
value of diversity Outcomes of Diversity
Diversity of Human Capital: Management Practices:
Institutional Theory Resource Based Theory
• Employment statistics • Development of effective
business strategy
Resource Based Theory • Effective implementation of
• Rare and imitable diversity of strategy
information, knowledge, • Sustained competitive advantage
perspectives, talents o Innovativeness, Market
• Rare and inimitable share, Firm financial
development of effective performance, Cost
working relationships among a reduction, Product
diverse workforce differentiation

Figure 1. Research Model: Antecedents and Outcomes of Diversity Management


attracting racioethnic minorities but unrelated to employer attractiveness for

women (Avery & McKay, 2006).

Theoretical Perspectives on
Diversity Management
A number of major contributions to the workplace diversity field have been
based on inductive research methodologies (e.g., Cox, 1993; Ely & Thomas,
2001; French, 2001). Scholars are beginning to build theories regarding the
impact of diversity on workplace outcomes (van Knippenberg et al., 2004),
and diversity management has been posited as a moderator of the relation-
ship between diversity in the workplace and outcomes such as working rela-
tionships and performance (Kochan et al., 2003). We extend existing theorizing
by drawing from institutional theory and resource-based theory to identify both
antecedents and outcomes of diversity management practices (see Figure 1).
The left-hand box in Figure 1 shows the antecedents of diversity manage-
ment practices posited by institutional theory and resource-based theory. The
top middle box shows the predicted characteristics of diversity management

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12 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

practices implemented in organizations. These characteristics are posited to

result from the antecedent forces identified by institutional theory and resource-
based theory. The bottom middle box indicates that the implementation of
diversity management practices results in increased diversity of the organiza-
tion’s human capital and lists the types of outcomes predicted by institutional
theory and resource-based theory.
The top right-hand box lists the legitimacy outcomes resulting from both
implementation of diversity management practices and greater diversity of
human capital, as predicted by institutional theory. The bottom right-hand box
lists the performance outcomes resulting from a greater diversity of human
capital, as predicted by resource-based theory. Importantly, while the presence
of diversity management practices alone can generate legitimacy outcomes
for organizations (Edelman, 1992), the performance outcomes developed
from resource-based theory only result if the diversity management practices
actually generate rare and inimitable diversity of human capital resources for
the organization.

Institutional Theory and Diversity

Management Practices
Institutional theory emphasizes the normative contexts within which organi-
zations exist. In this view, an understanding of organizational structures and
actions cannot be separated from an understanding of their social environ-
ment (Martinez & Dacin, 1999). A critical component of the social environ-
ment influencing the structuring of organizations are institutions, defined
as “regulative, normative, and cognitive structures and activities that provide
stability and meaning for social behavior” (Scott, 1995, p. 33). Regulative
institutions include laws, regulations, and rules; normative institutions
include social and professional norms; and cognitive institutions include
cultures and ethics (Scott, 1995). These institutions exert three forms of pres-
sures on organizations to conform to their expectations. Coercive pressures
stem arise from societal expectations and interorganization interdependence;
normative pressures arise from professionalization; and mimetic pressures
derive from uncertainty in environment (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). As
organizations in the same field are subject to similar coercive, normative,
and mimetic pressures, they tend to develop similar sets of administrative
structures. For this reason, institutional pressures result in organizational
homogeneity (Scott, 1995).
By adopting structures that conform to institutional requirements, orga-
nizations demonstrate their conformity to social norms and thereby garner

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Yang and Konrad 13

Table 1. Institutional Theory and Diversity Management Practices

Researched topics Unresearched topics

Antecedents of Influence of government The role of HR managers and
diversity regulation and legislation diversity specialists
management The role of competitors
practices The interplay of social and
economic antecedents
Implementation of Symbolic adoption of best Institutionalization of adopted
diversity practices practices
management Link between antecedents
practices and thoroughness of
How to implement diversity
management practices in a
legitimate way
Consequences of Importance of merit Impact of diversity management
diversity basis for selection practices on career
management legitimacy development
practices Internal legitimacy: impact Impact of diversity management
  on work attitudes, on diversity of stakeholders
absenteeism, and other than employees
retention Human capital diversity as a
  Employment of designated mediator of the legitimacy
groups effect of diversity management
  External legitimacy: social
responsibility, social
performance, impact on the

legiti­macy for their operations. Legitimacy refers to whether organizational

actions are accepted and approved by internal and external stakeholders
(Kostova, Roth, & Dacin, 2008). Legitimacy is a valuable commodity that
indicates an organization’s propriety in its actions and integrity in its dealings,
factors that help the organization to garner material resources from a wide
variety of actors (Oliver, 1997).
Table 1 summarizes the application of institutional theory to diversity
management practices by listing the research topics derived from institutional
theory and identifying those that have received empirical study as well as
those that have not. Institutional theory has implications for the antecedents

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14 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

of diversity management practices, the implementation of those practices, and

the human capital and legitimacy outcomes of those practices. Each of these
factors is discussed in turn.
Antecedents of diversity management practices. Institutional theory first offers
explanations of the antecedents of diversity management practices (see also
the left-hand box in Figure 1). Prior research shows that government regula-
tion and legislation are significant coercive pressures driving the adoption of
diversity management practices (Edelman, 1992). Government affirmative
action and employment equity programs result in the development of recruit-
ment and screening practices intended to diversify the employment base
(Benimadhu & Wright, 1991; Holzer & Neumark, 2000), the provision of
accommodations to workers with disabilities (Balser, 1999; Woodhams &
Corby, 2007), and the formalization of staffing systems to reduce discrimina-
tion in compensation, promotions, and career advancement (Dobbin, Sutton,
Meyer, & Scott, 1993; Konrad & Linnehan, 1995).
In examining the adoption of diversity management practices, little res­earch
has explored the influence of normative and mimetic pressures. Insti­tutional
theory suggests that similarities in managers’ educational and professional
experiences contribute to organizational isomorphism, or similarity in busi-
ness models, structures, and practices (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). Examining
the characteristics of diversity managers and diversity-related professional
associations can facilitate understanding of the development of norms for
diversity management and how normative pressures influence the adoption
of diversity management practices.
Similarly, the diversity management field has not devoted much research to
the impact of mimetic pressures on organizations. According to institutional
theory, an organization tends to mimic its competitors as a way to reduce
uncertainty. As the consequences of diversity are often unclear, managers
make social comparisons to reduce uncertainty regarding which diversity
management practices are effective. It would be interesting to examine how
competitors’ adoption of diversity management practices influences focal
organizations’ adoption of similar practices. Such research can enhance under-
standing of the institutional antecedents of diversity management practices.
Another way to study antecedents of diversity management practices is to
separate early adopters and later adopters and then to examine their similari-
ties and differences. In the two-stage model proposed by Tolbert and Zucker
(1983), it is suggested that early adopters are driven by technical gains of
adoption, while later adopters seek the social benefits of appearing to be
legitimate. Proponents of the two-stage model have applied this logic to
examine civil service reforms (Tolbert & Zucker, 1983), adoption of total

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Yang and Konrad 15

quality management (TQM) in U.S. hospitals (Westphal, Gulati, & Shortell,

1997), and evolution of personnel administration in U.S. industries (Baron,
Dobbin, & Jennings, 1986). Opponents of the two-stage model argue that eco-
nomic and social outcomes are not mutually exclusive (e.g., Kennedy & Fiss,
2009; Schneiberg & Soule, 2005). Some studies have shown that there is no
differences between early and later adopters in terms of the antecedents of
institutionalized organizational practices (Kennedy & Fiss, 2009; Kraatz &
Zajac, 1996). Diversity management provides a context in which to test the
alternative perspectives developed in this debate because legitimacy outcomes
are very important in the diversity management area. Although the business
case for diversity identifies financial reasons to manage diversity effectively,
no research to date has examined the joint impact of legitimacy and financial
concerns as antecedents to early or late adoption of diversity management
Implementation of diversity management practices. In addition to identifying
predictors of the adoption of diversity management practices, institutional
theory also offers insights into implementation issues (top middle box in
Figure 1). “Institutionalization” describes the processes through which
socially appropriate organizational forms and behaviors become rule-like and
taken for granted (Martinez & Dacin, 1999). Institutionalization could be one
explanation for why few diversity management practices are ever removed
once they are in place (Kalev et al., 2006), but institutionalization can have a
negative effect on diversity management as well. Specifically, the institution-
alization of traditional people management practices and their status as the
obvious and natural way to do things constitutes a barrier to change as orga-
nizations attempt to develop new approaches that are more effective for
managing diversity. For instance, in the qualitative study performed by
Rangarajan and Black (2007), it is documented that institutionalized written
examinations came to be viewed as the natural and best way to determine
hiring and promotions within a civil service system, a perception that resulted
in disadvantage to members of historically marginalized groups. More research
is needed on the institutionalization process and how it can enhance and detract
from the implementation of diversity management practices.
Institutional theory also makes a distinction between ceremonial or super-
ficial adoption and actual substantive change to show differences between prac-
tices adopted and practices actually in use (Kostova et al., 2008). Edelman
(1992) interpreted her findings as indicating that organizations create super-
ficial symbols to show conformity to legal requirements in the area of equal
employment opportunity and affirmative action. Similarly, a recent study
on U.S. hospitals showed that a concern for achieving economic and social

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16 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

gains was associated with more complete implementation of TQM, while a

concern for economic and social losses was associated with more superficial
implementation (Kennedy & Fiss, 2009).
Implementation is an underresearched area in diversity management. Quali­
tative research has been the most useful for identifying whether an organiza-
tion’s diversity management practices have been superficial or substantive.
A number of qualitative studies showing positive outcomes of diversity man-
agement efforts suggest that effectiveness results from extensive initiatives
that extend diversity management practices across the entire staffing and
people management system (Benschop, 2001; Bilimoria, Joy, & Liang, 2008;
Cox, 2001; Douglas, 2007; Hopkins, 2007; Thomas, 2004; Wong, 2008). For
example, Thomas describes the successful diversity initiative at IBM, which
includes a diversity council among senior leaders, a set of employee affinity
groups charged with identifying ways to attract customers and make employ-
ees more productive, targeted leadership development activities which diver-
sify the leadership pipeline for the future, mandatory diversity training for all
managers, targeted marketing activities, and community outreach.
While the success stories are founded on integrated and sustained cross-
organizational initiatives, the failures seem to result when diversity manage-
ment practices are disconnected from other organizational activities (Allison,
1999; Bierema, 2005; Linehan, 2001). Hence, superficial diversity manage-
ment efforts are those which are relatively narrow and implemented in isola-
tion from other organizational systems and processes. Substantive diversity
management efforts that are integrated across multiple organizational subsys-
tems have more positive outcomes for individuals and organizations.
An important area remaining for future investigation is to examine differ-
ences in how organizations implement diversity management practices, such
as the number of practices, the extent to which the practices extend across the
entire organization, and the consistency with which people managers use
diversity management practices. Also, future research could link implemen-
tation effectiveness to the legitimacy concerns serving as antecedents to the
adoption of diversity management practices.
Human capital outcomes of diversity management practices. Although some
studies show no link between diversity management practices and employ-
ment statistics (Moore, Parkhouse, & Konrad, 2001; Naff & Kellough, 2003),
the majority of studies document a significant positive link between diversity
management practices and the employment of designated groups (bottom
middle box in Figure 1, French, 2001; Goldin & Rouse, 2000; Holzer &
Neumark, 2000; Kalev et al., 2006; Konrad & Linnehan, 1995; Leck & Saunders,
1992; Leck, St. Onge, & LaLancette, 1995; Leonard, 1985; Moore, Konrad, &

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Yang and Konrad 17

Hunt, 2010; Moore, Parkhouse, & Konrad, 2004; Süß & Kleiner, 2008;
Woodhams & Corby, 2007). The fact that the link between diversity manage-
ment practices and diversity of human capital has been increasingly well
documented indicates that organizations have been at least somewhat effec-
tive in implementing processes with substantive impact.
Most of the research linking diversity management practices to employ-
ment statistics has focused on women and racioethnic minority groups, par-
ticularly African Americans. More research is needed to document the impact
of diversity management practices on persons with disabilities, religious
minorities, members of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender communities,
indigenous peoples, and other historically marginalized groups. Beyond initial
hiring, more research is needed on the impact of diversity management prac-
tices on career development for members of historically marginalized groups.
Legitimacy outcomes of diversity management practices. The primary outcome
variable in institutional theory is legitimacy (top right-hand box in Figure 1).
Extant research has linked both the implementation of diversity management
practices and the presence of relatively diverse employment statistics to legit-
imacy outcomes. For instance, both the U.S. courts (Edelman, 1992) and the
U.S. affirmative action regulations (Konrad & Linnehan, 2003; Office of
Federal Contract Compliance Programs, 2002) do not require employers to
demonstrate that they hire a diverse workforce. Rather, they require only that
employers show a “good faith effort” to hire a diverse set of employees. Diver-
sity management practices such as identifying and targeting more diverse
feeder pools for job applicants have been sufficient to certify organizations as
legitimate employers, regardless of lack of diversity in their employment sta-
tistics (Edelman, 1992), supporting a direct link between the presence of
diversity management practices and legitimacy outcomes for organizations.
Other research streams are related to the link between the implementation
of diversity management practices and organizational legitimacy outcomes
as shown in Figure 1. Laboratory experiments have shown that selection
practices are perceived to be considerably more legitimate if they unambigu-
ously link selection to individual merit (Bobocel & Farrell, 1996; Elkins,
Bozeman, & Phillips, 2003; Heilman, Battle, Keller, & Lee, 1998; Turner &
Pratkanis, 1994). This finding indicates the importance of linking merit to all
diversity management practices.
Much field research documents significant associations between diver-
sity management practices and positive work attitudes, which suggests that
these practices are often accepted as legitimate by organizational members.
Perhaps not surprisingly, members of historically marginalized identity groups
have shown positive responses to diversity management practices in the field

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18 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

(Day & Schoenrade, 2000; Friedman & Holtom, 2002; Friedman, Kane, &
Cornfield, 1998; Gilbert & Ivancevich, 2001; Graves & Powell, 1994; McKay
et al., 2007; Ragins & Cornwell, 2001; Taylor, 1994; Williams, Fitzgerald, &
Drasgow, 1999). More interestingly, perhaps, is the set of findings showing
that all employees, including White men, have positive job attitudes in orga-
nizations engaging in diversity management (Choi, 2008; Magoshi & Chang,
2009; McKay et al., 2007; Parker, Baltes, & Christiansen, 1997; Pitts, 2009).
Although the presence of diversity management practices has been linked
to positive work attitudes, research is needed on the link between legitimacy
outcomes and implementation issues, such as consistency across the organi-
zation and managerial acceptance of diversity management practices.
Research on how to implement diversity management practices effectively
in ways that result in high internal acceptance would be extremely valuable
to practice as well as a contribution to the institutional perspective on diversity
Research has not been as extensive in examining the reaction of external
constituencies to an organization’s implementation of diversity management
practices. The most common measures of conformity to external requirements
in diversity management research are adoption of required practices and emp­
loyment of designated groups (e.g., Kalev et al., 2006; Konrad & Linnehan,
1995). It might be fruitful to extend the scope of outcomes examined in rela-
tion to diversity management practices, such as measures of organizational
social responsibility and social performance. The scope could even be extended
to examine influence on other organizations and industries, which frequently
constitute the level of analysis in institutional theorizing. Extending the scope
of research outcomes in the diversity management field can facilitate under-
standing of the benefits of legitimacy.
Beyond the direct link between diversity management practices and legiti-
macy outcomes, the model in Figure 1 posits a direct link between diversity
of human capital and legitimacy outcomes. Research has documented that the
employment of a diverse set of individuals in highly visible key jobs enhances
the organization’s legitimacy in terms of reputation for managing diversity
effectively, regardless of the presence or absence of diversity management
practices. Specifically, McKay and Avery (2006) linked employment statis-
tics to applicants’ ratings of the diversity reputation of prospective employers,
Roberson and Stevens (2006) linked employment statistics to employees’
accounts of diversity-related incidents in organizations, and Pugh, Dietz, Brief,
and Wiley (2008) linked employment statistics to employee ratings of the
organizational diversity climate. Hence, all of these studies have documented
a direct link between the diversity of an organization’s human capital and

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Yang and Konrad 19

legitimacy as a fair and non-discriminatory employer. Research has not

examined the possibility, however, that the effect of diversity management
practices on legitimacy outcomes could be partially mediated by the diversity
of the organization’s human capital.
We expect partial instead of full mediation because previous research has
shown that diversity practices can have a direct impact on legitimacy out-
comes (Edelman, 1992). However, this direct effect may be unique only to
certain practices, particularly those prescribed by government regulations or
recommended by advocacy groups. Moreover, the direct association between
diversity practices and legitimacy is contingent upon the institutional envi-
ronment. In environments where institutions set requirements for human
capital diversity, such as Norway’s 2003 law–requiring companies to fill 40%
of corporate board seats with women, the direct effect of diversity practices
on legitimacy would be diminished. Under such circumstances, we would
expect diversity of human capital to completely mediate the association between
diversity management practices and legitimacy outcomes.

Resource-Based Theory and Diversity

Management Practices
While the primary focus of institutional theory is on organizational homoge-
neity, the main research question of resource-based theory is performance
heterogeneity among organizations (Barney & Clark, 2007). This perspec-
tive views organizations as consisting of a variety of resources, generally
including four categories: physical capital, financial capital, human capital,
and corporate capital resources (Barney & Clark, 2007). Since resources can
either facilitate or inhibit firms from efficiently conceiving and implement-
ing business strategies, the attributes of resources held by firms determine
firm performance heterogeneity. Resources that allow a firm to conceive and
implement strategies that improve its efficiency and effectiveness are viewed
as valuable, and can be a source of competitive parity (Barney, 1989). Res­
ources that are valuable and rare, or valuable and are possessed only by a
small number of firms, can be a source of competitive advantage. Resources
that are valuable, rare, and inimitable, can be a source of sustained com-
petitive advantage (Barney & Clark, 2007). Moreover, to achieve a sustain-
able competitive advantage, a firm needs to have the ability to exploit the
full competitive potential of its valuable, rare, and inimitable resources
(Barney & Clark, 2007). Such ability often resides in the firm’s structures,
procedures, and practices.

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20 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

Table 2. Resource-Based Theory and Diversity Management Practices

Researched topics Unresearched topics

Antecedents Top management support Strategy as a predictor of
of diversity of diversity diversity management
management practices
practices Managers’ expectations about
the value of diversity
Implementation Implementation of bundles of
of diversity practices
management Internal fit among different
practices diversity management
Fit between diversity
management practices and
other organizational systems
Consequences Main effect of diversity Cost reduction, and/or value
of diversity management practices creation, innovation
management on performance
practices Interaction of diversity Extent to which diversity
  management practices management practices can
and business strategy generate a rare and inimitable
on performance diverse human capital base
  Interaction of human Extent to which diversity
capital diversity and management practices can
diversity management generate a rare and inimitable
practices on positive working relationship in
performance a diverse set of stakeholders

Table 2 summarizes the implications of resource-based theory for research

on diversity management practices. Resource-based theory has implications
for the antecedents, implementation, and outcomes of diversity management
practices. Table 2 identifies the topics derived from resource-based theory
that have and have not yet received research attention.
Antecedents of diversity management practices. Resource-based theory implies
that the primary reason firms acquire and exploit resources is for economic
gain in the context of product market competition (left-hand box in Figure 1).
Managers acquire resources to conceive and implement a product market
strategy that is expected to have the highest future value. The closer their exp­
ectations are to the actual value of the strategy, the more valuable are the resources.

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Yang and Konrad 21

The reason why alignment between expectations and actual value is critical
is because firms that underestimate the value of diversity make insufficient
investments in diversity management, while firms that overestimate the value
of diversity invest too much and, as such, overinflate their costs (Barney &
Clark, 2007).
Following Cox (1993) and other leaders articulating the business case for
diversity, Richard and his colleagues (Richard, 2000; Richard, Barnett, Dwyer,
& Chadwick, 2004; Richard et al., 2003) have suggested that diversity can be
a valuable, rare, and inimitable resource that enhances firm competitiveness.
Their research, which is grounded in resource-based theory, has empirically
demonstrated that racial diversity is positively associated with financial per-
formance when a growth or innovation strategy is pursued (Richard, 2000;
Richard et al., 2003), and that cultural diversity has a positive association
with financial performance when entrepreneurial orientation is high (Richard
et al., 2004). Richard and Johnson (1999) found that firms with more diver-
sity management practices in place experienced lower levels of turnover and
that diversity management practices interacted positively with an innovation
strategy, resulting in higher productivity and better market performance.
No research to date has examined the possibility that corporate strategy
predicts diversity management practices, however. It is likely that managers
have different views about the value of diversity for the creation and imple-
mentation of effective business strategies. Research has documented that top
management support is a positive predictor of the presence of diversity man-
agement practices (Buttner, Lowe, & Billings-Harris, 2006; Kellough &
Naff, 2004; Konrad & Linnehan, 1995; Moore et al., 2001, 2004, in press;
Rynes & Rosen, 1995). Furthermore, studies have shown that organizations
with a clearly articulated link between diversity effectiveness and performance
are more likely to develop diversity management practices (Balser, 1999; Buttner
et al., 2006; Rynes & Rosen, 1995).
Resource-based theory suggests that differences in managers’ views regar­
ding the value of diversity for organizational effectiveness affect the adop-
tion of diversity management practices. Also, when diversity is perceived to
be highly relevant to firm strategy, managers may adopt diversity practices
more comprehensively to acquire and exploit this valuable resource. Therefore,
exploring the link between strategy and diversity management can facili-
tate understanding of the heterogeneity of diversity management practices
across firms.
Implementation of diversity management practices. Resource-based theory
also offers a lens to examine questions of implementation (top middle box in
Figure 1). Diversity management practices can be viewed as a type of firm

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22 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

capability, as they are designed to enhance and exploit diversity. Single pra­
ctices may not be a source of competitive advantage if they can be easily
copied. It may be difficult for competitors to copy even straightforward diver-
sity practices, however, if managers resist change and fail to implement diver-
sity management practices consistently across the organization (Thomas,
2008). Competitors may lack core cultural values that support the effective
management of diversity (Chatman, Polzer, Barsade, & Neele, 1998) or
else may fail to recognize the importance of internal diversity champions
for the effective “selling” of diversity management practices to senior leaders
(Meyerson, 2001).
In addition, a strategic human resource management perspective would
suggest that when different diversity management practices are bundled together,
the combinations may be difficult to imitate and may serve as a source of
competitive advantage. The difficulty for competitors attempting to copy
bundles of practices is that multiple practices can create a synergistic effect
which is greater than the simple sum of each individual practice (Wright &
Snell, 1991). Therefore it becomes difficult for competitors to attribute the
outcomes to any one particular diversity management practice, and copying
the whole bundle becomes costly. Future research can build on the notion of
bundling diversity management practices as well as “internal fit” of diversity
management practices to examine how diversity practices can be compatible
with or in conflict with one another.
Outcomes of diversity management practices. The primary outcome variables
in resource-based theory are competitive advantage and sustained competi-
tive advantage. One implication for research on diversity management prac-
tices is the need to understand how the practices can create value for firms
(bottom right-hand box in Figure 1). The main effects of diversity manage-
ment practices on performance have been fairly consistently positive, although
a number of null findings have been reported. For instance, Ely (2004) found
that employee participation in diversity education programs was positively
related to sales productivity, but unrelated to five other performance mea-
sures. Jehn and Bezrukova (2004) found that supervisors’ assessments of
emp­loyees’ diversity competencies were positively associated with bonuses
received, but unrelated to group or individual performance ratings. Pitts (2009)
found that employee perceptions that their managers supported diversity
were positively associated with their perceptions of work unit performance
and quality of work. Studies at the firm level have shown positive associations
between receiving a diversity award and firm financial performance (Roberson
& Park, 2007; Weigand, 2007; Wright, Ferris, Hiller, & Kroll, 1995), although
Bierman (2001) reported null results.

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Yang and Konrad 23

Kochan et al. (2003) argued that conceptually, diversity management prac-

tices should be treated as a moderator of the association between diversity of
human capital and performance outcomes. This argument is consistent with
resource-based theory, which suggests that an organization must have the
ability to utilize its resources in order to gain performance advantages (Barney
& Clark, 2007). Kochan et al. (2003) report several findings supportive of the
idea that diversity management practices help firms to derive value from a
diverse employee base. Specifically, they found that training-focused HRM
practices reduce the negative effect of racial diversity on constructive group
processes. Diversity-focused HRM practices, a people-oriented organiza-
tional culture, and a customer-oriented business strategy enhance the positive
effects of gender diversity on constructive group processes. A competitive
organizational culture and growth-oriented business strategy negate the asso-
ciation between racial diversity and business unit performance, while an
integration-and-learning approach to diversity management enhances the
positive association between racial diversity and performance.
Value creation can be realized through decreasing product or service costs,
and/or through charging a premium price by providing distinctive services or
products. The negative consequences of diversity, such as prejudice, discrim-
ination, and intergroup conflict, imply a cost to a firm, while the bright side
of diversity, variety of information, flexibility, and creativity, suggests the
potential for diversity to create value. For resource-based theory, the primary
goal of diversity management is to reduce costs and/or to exploit the benefits
of diversity. Future research which examines the association between diver-
sity management practices and cost reduction and/or product and service dif-
ferentiation can identify how diversity generates competitive advantages for
Figure 1 indicates that in resource-based theory, diversity management
practices have a direct effect on the intermediate outcome of building a rare
and inimitable diversity of human capital (bottom middle box in Figure 1),
which is thought to lead to performance advantages. No research to date has
attempted to assess the extent to which a diverse set of stakeholders resulting
from diversity management practices is relatively rare and difficult for com-
petitors to imitate. Nor has any research examined the link between diversity
management practices and the presence of effective working relationships
among a diverse workforce, or the extent to which such a working relation-
ship might be rare and inimitable. Hence, future research is needed that effec-
tively measures these intermediate outcomes and shows how they mediate
the relationship between diversity management practices and organizational
performance. Research is also needed to test whether firms with more complex

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24 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

Table 3. Potential Contributions to Theory of the Diversity Management Field

Contributions to Contributions to
institutional theory resource-based theory
Antecedents of diversity Structure versus agency Attentiveness to
management practices debate contextual factors
Implementation of Institutionalization Sources of inimitable
diversity management processes resources
practices Institutional change Social complexity
Causal ambiguity
Path dependence
Consequences of The impact of Evolution of resources
diversity management conformity on Coevolution of resources
practices substantive and management
performance capabilities

bundles of diversity management practices accrue a competitive advantage

over firms adopting individual practices because they build a more inimitable
diverse human capital base. Also, it would be interesting to explore the dif-
ferences between bundles of practices that generate human capital which is a
source of competitive advantage, and those that generate a source of sustained
competitive advantage.

Potential Contributions of Diversity

Management Research to Theory
We have argued that institutional theory and resource-based theory have sev-
eral implications for research in the area of diversity management practices.
Both institutional and resource-based theories have internal inconsistencies
which point to the need for future development, however. Research on diver-
sity management practices can make a contribution in this regard. In this
section, we make several suggestions for how diversity management research
can contribute to institutional theory and resource-based theory (Table 3).

Contributions to Institutional Theory

One of the primary debates in institutional theory is the “structure versus
agency” debate (Heugens & Lander, 2009; Hirsch & Lounsbury, 1997). Divergent
views exist regarding whether macro social forces or organizational agency

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Yang and Konrad 25

is the key determinant of organizational behavior. Prior research on diversity

management shows support for both views. Adoption of diversity practices
has been linked to the influence of employment equity legislation (e.g., Leck
& Saunders, 1992), which suggests structural determinacy. Adoption of diver-
sity practices have also been linked to the efforts of leaders (e.g., Buttner et al.,
2006). Studying diversity management, therefore, offers an area where struc-
ture and agency combine to produce organizational outcomes.
In addition, research on the implementation of diversity management prac-
tices provides an opportunity to explore the processes through which institu-
tional forces are transferred into organizational action, an area which is
claimed to lack sufficient research (Heugens & Lander, 2009). For instance,
organizations may vary in terms of speed and comprehensiveness of adopting
diversity management practices, even within the same industry. Speed and
comprehensiveness, in turn, may influence the extent to which the practices
become institutionalized. Studying the process of implementing diversity
management practices therefore can facilitate understanding of ways that
practices are diffused from the higher institutional field level to the lower
organizational level of analysis.
Moreover, research on the implementation of diversity management prac-
tices can add insights regarding how organizations influence their institutional
context. For instance, as diversity management practices operate to move
more members of historically marginalized groups into positions of power,
those individuals can act to implement an even wider range of diversity man-
agement practices (Fuller et al., 2000). As more leading organizations adopt
a wider set of diversity management practices, the institutional field changes
and larger numbers of other organizations may adopt diversity management
practices through the mimicry process (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). Groups
of organizations can also develop normative networks that facilitate the
emergence of new institutions (Lawrence & Suddaby, 2006). Hence, the out-
comes of implementing diversity practices, in turn, influence the institutional
environment and reshape its content and requirements, and research on diver-
sity management practices provides a distinctive angle from which to study
institutional change.
Finally, research on the outcomes of diversity management practices offers
an opportunity to address the dispute concerning the relationship between con­
formity and organizational performance (Heugens & Lander, 2009). Researchers
have suggested that conforming to institutional forces helps an organization
acquire legitimacy, which, in turn, enhances the organization’s performance
because legitimacy is associated with social support and resources (Baum &
Oliver, 1991). Other authors have argued that the consideration of legitimacy

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26 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

is often independent from the consideration of performance (Barreto & Baden-

Fuller, 2006). Therefore, being socially accepted and normatively appropri-
ate has little to do with performance and sometimes the former can even
diminish the latter (Meyer & Rowan, 1977). Thus, examining the effects of
diversity management practices on both representation of designated groups
and organizational financial performance can improve understanding of the
relationship between conformity and performance.

Contributions to Resource-Based Theory

Resource-based theory is criticized for being inattentive to contexts (Priem
& Butler, 2001). Oliver (1997) has argued that neither resource acquisition
nor deployment are independent from the influence of institutional context.
Studying the antecedents of diversity management practices can address this
concern because diversity practices are closely associated with the institutional
environments in which organizations operate. Prior research has shown that
diversity management originated in affirmative action and was gradually trans-
formed through the efforts of diversity specialists (Kelly & Dobbin, 1998).
This evolution shows that while management activities are influenced by
contextual institutional forces, at the same time, organizations can respond
to institutional forces in different ways, depending on their ability and will-
ingness to deviate from institutional pressures (Oliver, 1991). Examining the
joint effects of contextual pressures and managerial responses to those pres-
sures can help to explain organizational heterogeneity in diversity manage-
ment practices. In turn, differences in diversity management practices are
likely to explain organizational heterogeneity in access to the resources asso-
ciated with stakeholder diversity.
Resource-based theory takes firm heterogeneity in resources as given, and
the question of where resources come from has not been addressed (Barney
& Clark, 2007). Although the theory suggests that social complexity, causal
ambiguity, and path dependence are reasons for resource inimitability, the
specific processes of resource development are not well understood. Examining
the implementation of diversity management practices provides an opportu-
nity to explore these processes. For instance, research on the consequences of
diversity shows that increasing diversity on the negative side can lead to cat-
egorization processes and on the positive side can lead to elaboration pro-
cesses (van Knippenberg et al., 2004). The categorization process results in
stereotyping, prejudice, and intergroup conflict, while the elaboration process
is associated with learning and innovation. Diversity management research
is starting to identify practices for minimizing categorization and enhancing

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Yang and Konrad 27

elaboration in diverse teams (Homan, van Knippenberg, Van Kleef, & De

Dreu, 2007). Therefore, examining the effects of diversity practices on pro-
hibiting categorization may facilitate understanding of mechanisms generat-
ing social complexity in organizational settings. Exploring how diversity
practices foster elaboration can add insights on the creation of causal ambigu-
ity. Tracking how diversity practices improve integration and learning (Ely &
Thomas, 2001) over time can illustrate path dependencies in the development
of organizational resources.
In addition, resource-based theory is criticized for its relatively static point
of view, as characteristics of resources are assumed to be fixed (Priem &
Butler, 2001). In response to this criticism, scholars have proposed a life cycle
framework to examine how resources evolve over time (Helfat & Peteraf,
2003). Research on diversity management offers a unique opportunity to
explore the consequences of the evolution of organizational resources and,
therefore, can contribute to this research agenda. The representation of desig-
nated groups is an important outcome variable in the workplace diversity
field. Changes in levels of representation not only alter demographic compo-
sition but also reshape social relationships and interaction processes. These
factors, in turn, either facilitate or constrain a firm in conceptualizing strategy
and influence managers’ expectations about the future value of different
strategies. Managers’ expectations affect their decisions on the next round of
resource acquisition and exploitation. Therefore, studying the consequences
of diversity management can facilitate understanding of resource evolution
in organizations.
Furthermore, new diversity management practices emerge over time to
address new needs and new concerns. For example, organizations may mod-
ify recruitment practices in response to new trends in the demographic com-
position of the labor force. Changes in diversity management practices change
the organization’s means of attracting and exploiting its human resources
and, as such, alter the nature and characteristics of its resource base. Therefore,
research on diversity management provides opportunities to explore the coe­
vo­lution of diversity management capabilities and resources linked to diver-
sity of organizational stakeholders. Research of this type can contribute to the
development of dynamic resource-based theory (Helfat & Peteraf, 2003).

Conclusion and Discussion

In the current review, we summarize the research on diversity management
practices, including both qualitative and quantitative studies. Unlike previous
reviews, the current review not only addressed the consequences of diversity

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28 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

management practices, but also provided theoretical foundations to organize

studies of antecedents and implementation of practices. We suggest that res­
earch on diversity management practices can benefit from the insights of
institutional (Scott, 1995) and resource-based theories (Barney & Clark, 2007).
In turn, studies of diversity management practices can contribute to the deve­
lopment of these two theoretical perspectives.
In terms of the antecedents of diversity management practices, institutional
theory offers an approach to understanding the social and normative factors
affecting adoption of diversity practices, while resource-based theory sug-
gests linking adoption of diversity practices to firm strategy formation. For
implementation of diversity management practices, the notion of institution-
alization provides a possible explanation for inconsistent effects of diversity
practices across organizations. Resource-based theory emphasizes implement-
ing bundles of practices so that diversity management will generate resources
that are rare and difficult for competitors to imitate. For consequences of
diversity management practices, institutional theory focuses on legitimacy as
a primary outcome variable while resource-based theory focuses on the deve­
lopment of competitive advantage and sustained competitive advantage.
We suggested that research on diversity management practices can con-
tribute insights into the two theories. For institutional theory, diversity man-
agement provides an approach where the “agency versus structure” debate
can be reconciled. Also, diversity management is an appropriate context to
study the processes through which institutional forces are transformed into
organizational action, and to understand the association between conforming
to institutional requirements and achieving high performance (Heugens &
Lander, 2009). For resource-based theory, research on diversity management
increases the salience of normative factors in the environment in resource-
based arguments. It provides opportunities to explore sources of valuable
resources and the co-evolution of diversity resources and diversity manage-
ment capabilities, thus having a potential to advance dynamic resource-based
theory (Helfat & Peteraf, 2003).
Our review of the extant research on diversity management practices indi-
cates that research in this area has focused almost exclusively on practices
related to employees. In defining the concept of diversity management prac-
tices, however, we deliberately included the practices organizations put in
place to manage diversity among all stakeholder groups. Management prac-
tices for connecting with a diverse set of customers, suppliers, regulators,
board directors, and community members are likely to be important for ful-
filling the social and normative obligations emphasized by institutional theory.
These connections are also likely to generate learning and innovations and,

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Yang and Konrad 29

hence, have the potential to serve as rare and inimitable resources generating
competitive advantage in resource-based theory. Organizational researchers
can advance knowledge by extending measurement of diversity management
practices beyond human resources management to reach across multiple orga-
nizational functions.
One construct in our research model shown in Figure 1 that is likely to be
rather difficult to measure is “a rare and inimitable set of working relation-
ships among diverse stakeholders.” Rare and inimitable resources are key
mediators in resource-based theory, hence, measuring rare and inimitable
resources resulting from effective diversity management is necessary for
theory testing and development. The construct of diversity climate offers one
possible way to assess the effectiveness of working relationships among
diverse sets of stakeholders. Diversity climate has been defined as prevailing
beliefs among organizational members regarding the extent to which the
organization exhibits fairness and inclusiveness toward all demographic and
identity groups (Mor Barak, Cherin, & Berkman, 1998). Research has shown
significant variation among organizational members in perceptions of diver-
sity climate (Kossek, Markel, & McHugh, 2003; McKay, Avery, & Morris,
2009). An organization in which stakeholders give uniformly positive ratings
to diversity climate is likely to be relatively rare and, as such, a diversity
climate measure could be useful for measuring key mediating variables in
research grounded in resource-based theory. Another reason diversity cli-
mate is a good candidate for a mediator between diversity management prac-
tices and performance outcomes is because climates are conceptualized as
resulting from organizational practices (Hicks-Clarke & Iles, 2000). Diversity
climate has also been linked to performance indicators such as absenteeism
(Avery, McKay, Wilson, & Tonidandel, 2007) and sales (McKay, Avery, &
Morris, 2008), which suggests its relevance to resource-based theory, which
focuses on performance outcomes.
Using the two theoretical perspectives to conduct the current review made
us realize that institutional and resource-based theories can serve as comple-
ments and prior theorists have made efforts to integrate these two perspec-
tives to explain firm performance heterogeneity (Oliver, 1997). However, to
integrate these two theories to address diversity management requires more
space and is beyond the scope of the current arguments. Therefore, we treated
each view independently in the current article and, in the meantime, acknowl-
edge the implications of some similarities in the two theories for diversity
management. Specifically, both institutional and resource-based theories imply
a multilevel consideration. For instance, institutional theory suggests practices
are diffused from the higher institutional field level to the lower organizational

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30 Group & Organization Management 36(1)

level. And collective organizational action, in turn, shapes the institutional

environment. Similarly, although resources are a firm-level construct, the ori-
gins of some resources, such as human capital resources, are found at the
individual level. It might be interesting to examine internally how different
individual backgrounds emerge as diversity resources for the organization
and examine externally how diversity practices are diffused across different
organizational fields. Such a multilevel approach can further be applied to
address how organizational-level diversity practices influence the emergence
of diversity capital at the individual and work unit levels.
In addition, both theories emphasize the importance of qualitative studies.
These studies can make unique contributions to understanding diffusion and
institutionalization processes, and the mechanisms of resource development
and evolution. Similarly, a qualitative approach to diversity management prac-
tices can complement the quantitative approach, given the rich and detailed
information it can provide.

The first author gratefully acknowledges the support of the postdoctoral fellowship
award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada. The second
author gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corus Entertainment Chair in
Women in Management.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship
and/or publication of this article.

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of
Canada Standard Research Grant No. 410-2007-1673 to the second author.

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Yang Yang, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Management Department of the
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include work-
place inclusivity, diversity initiatives, human resource management, and organiza-
tional justice.

Alison M. Konrad, PhD, is Professor of Organizational Behavior and holder of the

Corus Entertainment Chair in Women in Management at the Richard Ivey School of
Business, U. of Western Ontario. Her research interests focus on women in leader-
ship, work-life interface, diversity management practices, and workers with

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