The Project

Creating an Inclusive Climate

Inclusion Climate: A multilevel investigation of its antecedents and consequences
Y. Li, S. Perera, C. Kulik, & I. Metz (2019)
Human Resource Management Journal

Diversity climate comprises employees’ shared perceptions of how fair and inclusive their organisation is, and is made up of two dimensions: fairness climate and inclusion climate. Research has shown the positive effect of diversity climate on individual and organisational outcomes, however, organisations still struggle on how best to create a positive diversity climate and how to sustain that positive diversity climate after it has been established.

In this article, the authors focused on one aspect of diversity climate: inclusion climate. Using data from HR managers in 100 organisations and 3,229 employees across these organisations, they report ways in which an inclusion climate can be developed and sustained to achieve increased employee commitment. 

They found that an inclusion climate is created when an organisations formal diversity management programs explicitly incorporate the social identity of individual social groups into its HR decisions (i.e. identity-conscious programs). These sort of programs have the potential to generate shared perceptions among the employees that their social identities are valued and hence create a feeling of inclusion.

Examples of identity-conscious programs include; setting goals for the demographic composition of the workforce, measuring the achievement of diversity goals, auditing the demographic composition of the workforce etc. The article showed that when organisations focus on such programs, their attention and resources are directed to collecting and monitoring data on diversity which could then enable organisations focus on issues programs which would help resolve issues noted in the data. Employees will hence see more evidence of mentoring, network groups, diversity training etc. which will develop their shared perceptions of organisational inclusiveness and organisational commitment.

Practical Takeaways

  • Inclusion climate is the extent to which employees collectively perceive that the organisation values differences, gives employees from all identity groups’ equal access to organisations resources, and creates opportunities to establish networks within a diverse workforce
  • Programs that target specific identity groups generate an inclusion climate
  • Organisations that have an inclusion climate are perceived to be fulfilling their diversity management obligations
  • Employees within organisations that have an inclusion climate are more likely to me committed to that organisation
  • Blanket diversity management practices that are identity-blind, are not as effective as specific diversity management practices which are identity conscious, in creating an inclusion climate
  • The HR function has a role to play in creating an inclusion climate through developing and implementing identity-conscious diversity management practices



Li, Y., Perera, S., Kulik, C. T., & Metz, I. (2019). Inclusion climate: A multilevel investigation of its antecedents and consequences.
Human Resource Management Journal.

Further Reading

Slides from seminar where this case study was presented

Nishii, L. H. (2013). The benefits of climate for inclusion for gender-diverse groups.
Academy of Management Journal, 56(6), 1754-1774.

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