Diversity Management: It Depends on Context

Diversity Management: It Depends on Context


"Broad diversity is necessary, but if you just walk away after you have it, you may not get the outcomes you want.... You really have to manage it, grow it, and educate around it." Steve Voigt, former CEO of King Arthur Flour, quoted in a Harvard Business Review article on great leaders who make diversity work.



How people define workplace diversity is broad, and conclusions drawn from research on how to effectively manage one category of diversity may or may not translate to other categories of diversity. The research on diversity's impact on creativity & innovation, team performance, employee engagement, and business performance demonstrates the benefits of diversity, but it also demonstrates that diversity doesn't automatically translate into benefits for an organization. It depends on context.

As Nigel Bassett-Jones highlights in his study on the paradox of diversity management, creativity, and innovation, one category of diversity that may prove useful in one organizational context may present challenges in another, or require different management strategies to capture its value.

Understanding the different types of diversity and how they intersect and interact under a given set of circumstances, and within different organizational contexts, is essential to determining how to manage and get the most of workplace diversity. 


See related Diversity Remix Blog Post:

Missing Out on Diversity




Bassett-Jones, Nigel, The Paradox of Diversity Management, Creativity and Innovation, Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 14, No. 2, June 2005, pp., 169-175.

Groysberg, Boris, & Katherine Connolly, Great Leaders Who Make the Mix Work, Harvard Business Review, Sept. 2013 (digital article).