The Moral Credentials of Organizational Diversity
Date: March 25, 2014
Time: 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Room 245
What are the consequences of organizational diversity? Although we often push for more diversity, research has not often tracked its ultimate consequences. In this talk, I will present evidence that the level of racial diversity within an organization provides moral credentials for that organization. In my first studies, I find that there is a unique link between organizational diversity and moral credentials: racially diverse organizations are perceived to be more ethical than organizations with more homogeneity in their racial composition. My next studies show that when an organization is accused of being unethical, people become more attuned to its diversity, compared to when people are aware of a non-ethics related problem. One reason for why organizational diversity provides moral credentials is that diverse organizations are seen as less affected by conformity pressures than homogeneous organizations. My last study shows that racial diversity serves as a type of armor for organizations, protecting them from accusations of unethicality; as a result, racially diverse organizations receive a smaller penalty for their unethical actions than a racially homogeneous organization. Racially diverse organizations are punished less because they are seen as valuing ethics more. Collectively, these results suggest that organizational diversity provides organizations with moral credentials. Understanding the link between organizational diversity and perceptions of morality provides insight into the central role that diversity now plays for organizations. More broadly, the findings also extend our understanding of how our moral values shift to be in tune with contemporary issues.
For more information, please contact Linda Foster at: linda.foster [at] mcgill.ca.