Organizations are looking to increase diversity in the workplace, and the United States is becoming more racially diverse as well. But are the racial composition and inclusiveness of the community also important to organizational outcomes? A recent study of accounting professionals in the U.S. indicates that they are.
THE RESEARCH STUDY
Researchers (Ragins et al., 2012) found that when white employees lived in a community in which they were racially dissimilar to others, they were more likely to intend to move and therefore leave their jobs. This was not the case for non-whites. The authors also found that perceived inclusiveness of the diversity climate of their community negatively predicted moving intentions; in other words, the more negative the diversity climate, the more likely an employee was to move away from the community. This effect was stronger for people of color than for white people. Finally, employees who planned to move were also more likely to search for other jobs and to leave their jobs, and they showed more physical symptoms of stress at work.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
These results indicate that community diversity also has an effect on organizational life. Organizations should be interested in the diversity and diversity climate of their communities, so in order to help retain their best employees, they should be more involved with fostering inclusiveness. The authors suggest that organizations can become more involved with community programs and initiatives that increase intergroup interaction and create economic opportunity for everyone, such as programs that help fund minority-owned businesses or provide equal educational opportunities.
Ragins, B. R., Gonzalez, J. A., Ehrhardt, K., & Singh, R. (2012). Crossing the threshold: The spillover of community racial diversity and diversity climate to the workplace. Personnel Psychology, 65, 755-787.