Ties that bind
: understanding why and how diversity management relates to black and ethnic minority employees’ experience of organisational life.

  • Lilian Otaye

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Despite much anecdotal and oftentimes empirical evidence that black and ethnic minority employees do not feel integrated into organisational life and the implications of this lack of integration for their career progression, there is a dearth of research on the nature of the relationship black and ethnic minority employees have with their employing organisations. Additionally, research examining the relationship between diversity management and work outcomes has returned mixed findings. Scholars have attributed this to the lack of an empirically validated measure of workforce diversity management. Accordingly, I sought to address these gaps in the extant literature in a two-part study grounded in social exchange theory.
In Study 1, I developed and validated a measure of workforce diversity management practices. Data obtained from a sample of ethnic minority employees from a cross section of organisations provided support for the validity of the scale. In Study 2, I proposed and tested a social-exchange-based model of the relationship between black and ethnic minority employees’ and their employing organisations, as well as assessed the implications of this relationship for their work outcomes. Specifically, I hypothesised: (i) perception of support for diversity, perception of overall justice, and developmental experiences (indicators of integration into organisational life) as mediators of the relationship between diversity management and social exchange with organisation; (ii) the moderating influence of diversity climate on the relationship between diversity management and these indicators of integration; and (iii) the work outcomes of social exchange with organisation defined in terms of career satisfaction, turnover intention and strain. SEM results provide support for most of the hypothesised relationships.
The findings of the study contribute to the literature on workforce diversity management in a number of ways. First, the development and validation of a diversity management practice scale constitutes a first step in resolving the difficulty in operationalising and measuring the diversity management construct. Second, it explicates how and why diversity management practices influence a social exchange relationship with an employing organisation, and the implications of this relationship for the work outcomes of black and ethnic minority employees. My study’s focus on employee work outcomes is an important corrective to the predominant focus on organisational-level outcomes of diversity management. Lastly, by focusing on ethno-racial diversity my research complements the extant research on such workforce diversity indicators as age and gender.
Date of Award3 Oct 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSamuel N Aryee (Supervisor)


  • diversity management
  • social exchange with organisation
  • perception of overall justice
  • career satisfaction
  • work experience
  • perception of support for diversity
  • developmental experiences
  • work outcome

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