Diversity and Organizational Performance

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Promoting efforts related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has been a core component of professional and scholarly studies on organizations, both public and private. Research consistently demonstrates that workforce and managerial diversity positively contribute to the performance of organizations.

One recent article that clearly articulates this positive link analyzes studies focusing on the impact of DEI in bureaucracy. Riccucci and Van Ryzin concluded that “beyond the basic issues of social equity in hiring and promotion, diversity of the workforce may also influence the capacity of the agency to accomplish its mission by more effectively meeting client needs and by inspiring public trust and cooperation” (28). The authors also called upon managers to perceive workforce diversity as an “important asset for their organization’s effectiveness and efficiency” (28).

Other research on public organizations also points to a similar positive influence of diversity. Park meta-analyzed 72 studies related to gender and public administration that were published between 1992 and 2017. The author finds that a more gender diverse workforce is positively related to the performance of public organizations. A more comprehensive work by Riccucci examines the strategies of managing diversity in public sector workforces, and how these strategies might have positive implications for public sector employees and public organizations.

Positive Influence of Workplace Diversity

Several studies also reach similar conclusions about the positive influence of a diverse workplace on private organizations. For example, Carter, Simkins, and Simpson (51) find that there is a positive relationship between governing board diversity and firm value. Similarly, Gomez and Bernet reviewed publications related to diversity within the healthcare industry. They conclude that diversity in the healthcare industry is positively related to “higher profits and a range of financial rewards including: innovation, increased productivity, improved accuracy in risk assessment and has already been associated with improved patient health outcomes” (391).

In conclusion, scholarly research shows that DEI efforts work. They increase efficiency and effectiveness at the organizational level in both the public and private sectors. Initiatives related to increasing diversity of the workforce and managerial positions should be an essential goal for organizations.

Carter, David A., Simkins, Betty J., Simpson, W. Gary. “Corporate Governance, Board Diversity, and Firm Value.” 04 February 2003. https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-6288.00034

Gomez, L.E., Bernet, Patrick. “Diversity improves performance and outcomes.” August 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnma.2019.01.006

Park, Sanghee. “Gender and performance in public organizations: a research synthesis and research agenda.” 11 March 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/14719037.2020.1730940

Riccucci, Norma M. “Managing Diversity in Public Sector Workforces.” 29 June 2021. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003176534

Riccucci, Norma M., Van Ryzin, Gregg G. “Representative Bureaucracy: A Lever to Enhance Social Equity, Coproduction, and Democracy.” 20 September 2016.  https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.12649

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