The Project


Promoting Employee Engagement through Inclusive Diversity Practices
Downey S. N., van der Werff L., Thomas, K. M., and Plaut V. C.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology (2015)

Diversity management has been known to have varying effects on individual and organisational level outcomes. On one hand, research has shown diversity to be linked to positive outcomes such as creativity, on the other hand, some have shown it to be linked with more negative outcomes such as conflict and reduced cohesion. This conflicting results have resulted in more recent studies focusing on how and under what conditions the positive effects of diversity can be actualised.

Based on data from 4597 participants, in this study, the authors found that that diversity practices will lead to a climate that employees perceive as high in trust which in turn will lead to better employee engagement within the organisation. They also found that diversity practices and trust climate will be strengthened in the presence of high employee perceptions of inclusion.


Practical Takeaways

  • Employees’ wellbeing is improved rather than impaired when they perceive that their organisation implements diversity-specific practices.
  • A trusting climate provides an underlying mechanism through which diversity practices transmits its positive effects on employee engagement.
  • Organisations should strive to create a climate and culture of Inclusion because positive perceptions of diversity practices will be positively related to a trusting climate only when employees perceive high levels of inclusion.
  • Inclusionary practices go above and beyond traditional recruitment and equal opportunity employment practices in fostering trusting relationships in organizations
  • Diversity is no longer only about recruitment and retention of individuals from minority groups, it is about including employees by changing entire business processes to  incorporate all employees’ perspectives into the main goals of the organization


Downey S. N., van der Werff L., Thomas K. M. and Plaut V. C. (2015) The Role of Diversity Practices and Inclusion in Promoting Trust and Employee Engagement
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45(1), 35 44.

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