Bazerman & Moore's six steps
Several relational demography studies have demonstrated asymmetrical effects of dissimilarity across different groups of employees. Some groups of employees appear to be more inﬂuenced by differences from fellow employees, whereas other groups of employees appear indifferent. Although numerous theoretical explanations have been developed to account for these asymmetrical effects, this paper argues that such effects are actually methodological artifacts resulting from an imbalance in the proportion of group members and deﬁciencies in the most commonly used measure of dissimilarity, Euclidean distance. This paper illustrates how such asymmetrical effects can be observed even when none exist in the population. Suggestions for methodological improvements in future diversity research are discussed along with recommendations for managing diversity in organizations.
Theoretically speaking, there is reason to expect members of racial/ethnic minority groups to experience equivalent, less pronounced, or more pronounced effects of dissimilarity than those in the majority. In formulating relational demography, Tsui and her colleagues (Tsui et al., 1992; Tsui & O’Reilly, 1989) relied heavily on social identity (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) and self-categorization theories (Turner, 1987). Together, these two perspectives suggest individuals classify everyone (including themselves) along salient dimensions such as race, sex, and age. Based on these classiﬁcations, others are deemed either similar (i.e., in-group members) or dissimilar (i.e., out-group members) to oneself and individuals typically exhibit bias in favor of the former. Accordingly, employees, irrespective of group membership, should prefer and react more favorably to organizational settings containing a greater proportion of in-group members. In other words, the effects of dissimilarity should be equivalent across groups.
Although Tsui and O’Reilly’s initial theorizing predicted...