The commitment to diversity must be more than superficial, the researchers say.
“There are organizations that are doing what research and popular practice tells them to do. They are showing pictures of diverse workers on their website and say they have a commitment to diversity, but they’re not really going beyond what people may see as simply window dressing,” said Kristyn Scott, lead author of the study, The Diverse Organization: Finding Gold at the End of the Rainbow, and a professor with Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management. “That’s contrasted with an organization that has woven diversity into every fibre of its corporate culture and business practices.”
Scott and her co-authors, Professor Joanna Heathcote of University of Toronto at Scarborough, and Professor Jamie Gruman, University of Guelph, conducted a review of about 100 studies, mostly from the U.S. but some from Canada and elsewhere, from 1991 to 2009. They evaluated the studies based on six key advantages of corporate diversity as outlined by Cox and Blake’s framework, a U.S.-based study published in 1991, which are: recruitment, greater creativity, problem-solving, flexibility (better reaction to change), cost (employee turnover) and marketing (i.e. – stronger financial performance).