How will cultural competence, diversity, and inclusion benefit my organization?

Extant research 1,2,3,4 indicates that to the extent that senior leaders commit to diversity as a core competency of the organization, they will be successful in reaping the benefits of a diverse workforce. However, this requires going beyond simply stating a commitment to diversity and “going through the motions.” Successful organizations will discuss diversity and related values at all levels of organizational culture (artifacts, values, assumptions) to create a truly inclusive organization. In other words, successful inclusive organizations engage in such practices because they stem from the underlying assumptions in the organization’s culture rather than simply being a cultural artifact on which most members fail to act. 5

The following are benefits that may be earned through cultural competence, diversity, and inclusion:

1.      Increased Recruitment of Diverse Populations

Strength and consistency of cultural competence and diversity information provided in an inclusive culture leads to a more diverse applicant pool. By aligning artifacts (e.g., pictures of diverse others), values, and assumptions in their recruitment strategy, organizations with inclusive cultures will send stronger diversity-related signals to prospective applicants, leading to greater diversity in the ensuing applicant pool.

2.      Improved Group Processes

Heterogeneous groups may be more creative. Inclusion generates programs to improve communication, conflict, and cohesion among all employees, leading to improved group performance. The policies, practices, and additional resources provided in an inclusive culture are focused on improving communication, conflict, and cohesion among all employees, resulting in improved problem solving, creativity, and flexibility.

3.      Reduced Costs

Organizations with practices in place to help manage diversity may benefit from reduced costs associated with turnover and absenteeism. For example, programs put in place to help individuals in diverse groups relate to one another may also contribute to a reduction in turnover by reducing isolation of diverse employees. The practices associated with inclusion lead to reduced financial costs, in part by improving group processes.

4.      Marketing

With increased diversity comes increased financial benefit. Organizations with inclusive cultures may receive more diversity-related accolades and may see resulting increases in their stock prices and financials by virtue of their practices, not simply as a function of diversity. Examining diversity management practices together with organizational culture may explain if, and when, a diverse organization can expect to see financial results. Organizations with inclusive cultures, by virtue of their superior practices overall, are more likely to reap financial rewards.

The above information was adapted from the following article:

Scott, K.A., Heathcote, J.M., & Gruman, J.A. (2011). The diverse organization: Finding gold at the end of the rainbow. Human Resource Management, 50, 735-755.

Footnotes

  1. 1. Cox, T.H. (1991). The multicultural organization. Academy of Management Executive, 5, 45-56.
  2. 2. Cox, T.H., & Blake, S. (1991). Managing cultural diversity: Implications for organizational competitiveness. Academy of Management Executive, 5, 45-56
  3. 3. Konrad, A. (2006). Defining the domain of workplace diversity scholarship. Group & Organization Management, 28, 4-17.
  4. 4. Roberson, Q.M. (2006). Disentangling the meanings of diversity and inclusion in organizations. Group and Organization Management, 31, 212-236.
  5. 5. Scott, K.A., Heathcote, J.M., & Gruman, J.A. (2011). The diverse organization: Finding gold at the end of the rainbow. Human Resource Management, 50, 735-755.
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