Are diversity strategies all or nothing? Moving away from a winner takes all approach toward a fit for purpose approach (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Science
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsMelville, Savannahshow all
Various strategies have been brought forward as possible solutions to address the challenges arising from increased levels of diversity and intergroup relations. Some have been favoured more (or less) than others within public and political arenas across national contexts. Research on diversity strategies (i.e., multiculturalism, interculturalism, and colourblindness) has indicated mixed results regarding their costs and benefits for intergroup outcomes. An initial exploratory investigation examines whether each strategy is deemed by White Americans as more (or less) suitable for a variety of societal challenges (Study 1). Emerging from these patterns, an experiment examines White and African Americans’ preference of these diversity strategies in response to three challenges relating to poor performance (Study 2). The results revealed that, contrary to Study 1, White Americans did not display preference for specific strategies in response to the challenges. However, African Americans indicated clear preference for each strategy depending on the challenge. Specifically, across three social contexts, African Americans chose multiculturalism to address the challenge of ethnic subgroups underperforming, interculturalism for the challenge of poor performance due to a lack of social cohesion and cooperation, and colourblindness for the challenge of poor performance due to a lack of individual motivation. The patterns derived from Study 1 and the hypotheses supported in Study 2 both indicate an absence of a single, clear winner-takes- all strategy for managing diversity; instead, participants’ selections of diversity strategies varied in response to the particularities of any given challenge at play. Results therefore suggest that, instead of judging and subsequently labelling diversity strategies as entirely good or bad, it may be more logical to examine/recognize which strategy best manages specific societal challenges, based on each strategy’s central components and aims.