Diversity and Homophily at Work: Supportive Relations Among White and African-American Peers
Academy of Management Journal, Forcoming
Posted: 30 Nov 2004
Recent research suggests that inter-group knowledge and information sharing are often required in order for employee diversity to yield significant dividends, and that such patterns of inter-group cooperation may themselves be contingent upon the prior emergence and continued maintenance of more intimate and supportive peer relations. However, little is known about the antecedents of such supportive relations among racially dissimilar peers in work organizations. We posit that the relative prevalence of supportive relations among racially dissimilar peers will be higher among those employed in work units characterized by greater task interdependence and a strong peer support climate, but will decline as the proportion of racially different others in the work unit increase (i.e., homophily effect). While we find an inverse relationship between the proportion of racially different others in the work unit and such inter-group supportive relations among whites and blacks, we also find this relationship to be curvilinear and subject to moderation by support climate.
Keywords: Diversity, cooperation, peer relations, support, task interdependence, homophily
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