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Diversity management has recently attracted a lot of attention in both academia and practice. Globalization, migration, demographic changes, low fertility rates, a scarce pool of qualified labor, and women entering the workforce in large scales have led to an increasingly heterogeneous workforce in the past twenty years. In response to those ongoing changes, organizations have started to create work environments which address the needs and respond to the opportunities of a diverse workforce. The implementation of diversity policies and practices and the creation of an organizational culture that values heterogeneity have been the focus of recent organizational initiatives. This special issue aims at shedding light on some of open research questions by including both theoretical and empirical contributions.



Managing diversity in organizations

Diversity management has recently attracted a lot of attention in both academia and practice. Globalization, migration, demographic changes, low fertility rates, a scarce pool of qualified labor, and women entering the workforce in large scales have led to an increasingly heterogeneous workforce in the past twenty years.
Barbara Beham, Caroline Straub, Joachim Schwalbach

Diversity research—what do we currently know about how to manage diverse organizational units?

Diversity with respect to demographic variables such as gender, age, and cultural background, as well as directly job-related characteristics such as tenure, educational specialization, and functional background is both a challenge and an opportunity. We review the extant literature on how best to manage diverse organizational units. We discuss the definition and conceptualizationof diversity, its direct effects on team performance and team member satisfaction, as well as the mediating variables that explain these effects and the moderating variables that determine when the positive effects of diversity are likely to prevail over the negative effects. We conclude by offering managerial suggestions on how to leverage diversity’s potential.
Eric Kearney, Sven C. Voelpel

Getting tuned in to those who are different: The role of empathy as mediator between diversity and performance

We present a theoretical model on the processes that mediate and moderate the diversityperformance relationship. Past research on this topic—for example the categorization elaboration model (van Knippenberg et al. 2004)—has often focused on information elaboration as mediator. Complementing this cognitive perspective, we propose that group diversity can also stimulate group members to engage with each other emotionally, resulting in higher levels of empathy—an emotional state which arises from the comprehension and apprehension of fellow group members’ emotional state. Empathy, in turn, is likely to enhance performance through processes within a single group member and through processes between group members. At the core of the model lies the proposition that group- as well as individual-level empathy mediate the relationship between diversity of organizational units and the performance of individual members and groups at large (multilevel mediation). Furthermore, we specify moderating conditions for the relationship between diversity and empathy. Diversity beliefs and diversity climates are introduced as second-order moderators.
Sebastian Stegmann, Marie-Élène Roberge, Rolf van Dick

Managing demographic change and diversity in organizations: how feedback from coworkers moderates the relationship between age and innovative work behavior

In a field study of 211 employees of a midsized German high-tech company, useful feedback from coworkers was examined as a moderator of the relationship between age and supervisor ratings of radical innovative work behavior. When employees perceived higher levels of useful feedback from their coworkers, the relationship between age and radical innovative work behavior followed an inverted U-shape. This inverted U-shaped relationship was decreasingly manifested as the level of perceived useful feedback from coworkers dropped. Given demographic change and the aging of the workforce of many organizations, this finding broadens the still fragmentary knowledge of the conditions under which aging is likely to have more or less positive effects on innovative work behavior. The authors discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these results on both the individual and the team level of analysis.
Stefan Schaffer, Eric Kearney, Sven C. Voelpel, Ralf Koester

Gender and nationality pay gaps in light of organisational theories

A large-scale analysis within German establishments
This paper analyseswage inequality with respect to gender and nationality within German establishments. It is a large-scale analysis based on linked employer-employee data from the Institute for Employment Research (LIAB).Wage inequality is measured as the intra-establishment pay gap by gender and nationality, taking into account that human capital may not be equally distributed across the different groups of employees. Consistent with economic theories of discrimination we find significant pay gaps by gender and nationality, even taking into consideration employees’ qualifications. We can show that pay differentials between men and women are much larger on average than those between Germans and non-Germans, and that both pay gaps exhibit a tremendous variation across establishments. Drawing on organisational theories we inquire as to how selected firm characteristics are related to the variation of these intra-firm pay gaps and derive hypotheses about which establishments have a greater incentive and/or are more able to pursue wage equality in their workforces. By use of regression analysis we then investigate whether variables that reflect the firms’ social, institutional and cultural environment and their resource requirements are empirically related to the sizes of the pay gaps. The results are rather ambiguous, suggesting larger, innovating and foreign-owned establishments with a larger share of non-German employees and with a collective bargaining agreement to have smaller gaps, particularly with respect to gender.
Elke Wolf, Miriam Beblo, Clemens Ohlert

Women on German management boards

How ownership structure affects management board diversity
In this paper we want to investigate the impact of company owners on the low percentage of women on management boards and whether they are attempting to increase this percentage. After analysing whether ownership concentration influences the number ofwomen on management boards we distinguish between different types of owners.We find that ownership concentration has no effect on the presence of women on German management boards, we show however that institutional and individual owners have a significantly positive effect. Classifying institutional owners into national and foreign owners illustrates that foreign investors are the primary driver of the positive effect within the class of institutional owners; the presence of national investors that are strongly influenced by the national banking system does not show any effect. Our analyses are based on 15,976 management board member positions from 2000 to 2007 in approximately 600 German-listed companies.
Jana Oehmichen, Marc Steffen Rapp, Michael Wolff


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