This study examined the relationship between individual demographic dissimilarity from co‐workers and three indicators of inclusion by an organization: decision‐making influence, access to sensitive information, and job security. Data from 345 individuals in eight work units showed that individual dissimilarity in race and gender were negatively associated with inclusion, and the effect of race dissimilarity was more pronounced for whites than for non‐whites. In contrast, individual dissimilarity in tenure and education level were positively associated with inclusion, and these effects were more pronounced for those with greater tenure and greater education, respectively. Overall, the results suggest that whether being different hinders or helps organizational inclusion may depend on whether that difference is visible and whether it reflects job expertise. Further, they suggest that, when being different is a hindrance, it may be hardest on those who have traditionally been the majority in organizations.
Journal of Management Studies – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1999
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