Backlash Toward Diversity Initiatives: Examining the Impact of Diversity Program Justicfication, Personal, and Group Outcomes

Posted: 19 Oct 2006

See all articles by Deborah L. Kidder

Deborah L. Kidder

University of Connecticut - Department of Management

Melenie Lankau

University of Georgia

Donna Chrobot-Mason

University of Cincinnati - McMicken College of Arts and Sciences

Kelly Mollica

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ray Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Abstract

This study used a scenario design to examine whether there are different reactions among Whites based on how a diversity program is justified by an organization. A reactive justification (affirmative action) was proposed to result in greater backlash than a competitive advantage justification (diversity management). In addition, this study examined the effects of personal and group outcomes on backlash and explored two individual difference variables, gender and orientation toward other ethnic groups, as potential moderators of the proposed relationships. Backlash was operationalized in four ways: an affect-based measure (negative emotions), two cognitive-based measures (attitude toward the diversity program, perceptions of unfairness of promotion procedures), and a behavioral-intentions-based measure (organizational commitment). Results indicated that the diversity management justification was associated with more favorable support of the diversity initiative, and that unfavorable personal and group outcomes adversely affected backlash reactions. There was no empirical support for the influence of the moderator variables on the proposed relationships, however, a main effect for gender was found. Implications of the study's findings and future research directions are discussed.

Keywords: diversity,race, justice, affirmative action

Suggested Citation

Kidder, Deborah L. and Lankau, Melenie and Chrobot-Mason, Donna and Mollica, Kelly and Friedman, Raymond A., Backlash Toward Diversity Initiatives: Examining the Impact of Diversity Program Justicfication, Personal, and Group Outcomes. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=938127

Deborah L. Kidder (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - Department of Management ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1041
United States
860 486-6418 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sba.uconn.edu/mgt/faculty/kidder/index.html

Melenie Lankau

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States

Donna Chrobot-Mason

University of Cincinnati - McMicken College of Arts and Sciences ( email )

513-556-2659 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.artsci.uc.edu/faculty_staff/facDetails.cfm?username=masond

Kelly Mollica

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Raymond A. Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-3992 (Phone)
615-343-7177 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://mba.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/rfriedman.cfm

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