Theses Doctoral

Diversity (Mis)Management: How Organizational Approaches to Diversity Management Can Backfire

Carter, James T.

This dissertation focuses on understanding the current diversity landscape by examining which diversity efforts have the potential to improve organizational outcomes and stakeholder perceptions. Specifically, my work aims to uncover the psychological and contextual factors that pose barriers and offer pathways to achieving diversity and inclusion.

In Chapter 1, I document how a perceived disconnect between diversity policies and practices negatively impact stakeholder perceptions—particularly women and Black Americans. Across two studies and 3 samples of data, I demonstrate that stakeholders like prospective employees penalize organizations that claim to value diversity and are not diverse more than organizations that are equally not diverse but do not make similar claims. I also find that this penalty is explained by differences in perception of behavioral integrity wherein participants perceive organizations that have misaligned diversity claims and outcomes to lack behavioral integrity, but surprisingly, this finding does not differ by race as prior work has shown and argued.

In Chapter 2, I examine the contents and contexts of organizational allyship displays and document the factors that shape whether Black observers perceive these statements to be true signals of allyship. In this work I use field data from Fortune 500 companies and find that perceived cost and consistency of organizational allyship displays work interactively to shape Black Americans perceptions that the companies making these statements are actual allies. Importantly, in a follow-up experiment I show that these perceptions are mediated by authenticity.

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This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2028-05-05.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Akinola, Modupe
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 10, 2023