Article

A Positive Approach to Studying Diversity in Organizations

Lakshmi Ramarajan and David Thomas

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199734610.013.0041

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 A Positive Approach to Studying Diversity in Organizations

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In this chapter, we distinguish between positive findings in diversity research and a positive approach to studying diversity. We first review and integrate research on diversity from organizational behavior, social psychology, and sociology from 1998 to 2010, which has already documented positive findings in relation to diversity. We discuss this research using two broad categories: What is positively affected by diversity? (Positive for what)? This category consists of research that has shown instances of intergroup equality, positive intergroup relations, and the high performance of diverse groups. And, when is diversity positive (Positive when)? This category describes organizational and individual level conditions under which intergroup outcomes, relations, and group performance are positive. Second, we discuss a positive approach to studying diversity and describe some examples of organizational scholarship that have taken such an approach. We also discuss some of the limitations of taking a positive approach to diversity and propose some ways in which diversity scholars interested in taking a positive approach can overcome these limitations. By illuminating both positive findings in diversity research and a positive approach to studying diversity, we hope to spark more research that examines the beneficial and empowering aspects of difference for individuals and groups in organizations.

Keywords: Keywords; Diversity; positive

Article.  10206 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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