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The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior :
Diversity Scholarship and Impact on Performance: Research Synthesis and Future Directions for Theory Building
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While diversity has been generally accepted as a requisite or desirable feature in various group settings and activities, its relationship with outcomes such as performance excellence has been found to be at best tenuous. In fact, scholars have struggled to even define the construct comprehensively. Moreover, while empirical studies showing correlation-based causation abound, there is little in terms of integrated theoretical exposition. This paper explores, from the extant literature, the various conceptualizations of diversity, identifies moderating variables to establish its connection with performance and delineates the composition of performance outcomes, contingent upon the variations among the previous two categories of constructs. This exercise is meant to bring clarity with regard to the impact of diversity research and also has implications for theory building in this domain. Future research directions are also discussed.

 
 
 

The issue of whether diversity in the workforce leads to enhanced productivity and performance has spawned an entire body of research. However, no work till date has attempted to synthesize this body of knowledge due to one very fundamental problem, that of differences among scholars with respect to construct definition. With increasing globalization on the other hand, and realization among managers that they must lead ‘teams’ rather than individuals, it has become imperative to engage in such an exercise. We have therefore reviewed the state of diversity scholarship here in three distinct but inter-related parts. First, we discuss the various extant conceptualizations of diversity; second, we examine the diversity-performance linkage in terms of the multitude of factors that moderate or mediate it, and finally, we attempt to understand what are the new kinds of performance outcomes that concern managers, i.e., what is the benefit expected by business out of diversity management and how it manifests. We wrap up our discussion with an integrated conceptual model which will help researchers in advanced theory building, thus enriching the discourse.

 
 
 

Organizational Behavior Journal, Diversity Scholarship and Impact on Performance, Research Synthesis and Future Directions