In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Diversity

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Reference Works
  • Journals
  • History and Trends
  • Dimensions
  • Perspectives
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Physical Ability
  • Age
  • Work Team
  • Nationality

Management Diversity
Stella M. Nkomo
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 May 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 May 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0031


Diversity is defined as real and perceived differences among individuals or groups and the ways in which these differences affect interactions and relationships as well as the status of different groups in organizations. The types of differences include general ones of gender, race and ethnicity, nationality, and sexual orientation as well as individual differences such as personality. Theoretical and empirical knowledge about diversity draws from several fields, including psychology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, and race and ethnic relations, as well as management. Though the relevant types of diversity may differ from one country to another, the core issue is how to effectively manage the benefits of diversity and mitigate its negative effects as well as preventing the exclusion and devaluation of members of non-dominant groups.


There are a limited number of diversity textbooks. However, most of the widely used management, organizational behavior, and human resource management textbooks typically include a section or even a chapter devoted to the topic of diversity. Because diversity research and practice emanated from the United States, the largest number of textbooks are by US authors. A large section of most textbooks is devoted to describing the particular demographic groups within the country and their history and experiences in the workplace. Bell 2017 is an example of this type of textbook as it centers on diversity in the US context as well as Byrd and Scott 2018. Mor Barak 2016 offers a global approach to the subject. In a similar vein, Özbilgin and Tatli 2008 focuses on helping students gain a global understanding of the multilayered nature of diversity, as well as acquiring tools for comparative analysis across contexts and levels. Gatrell and Swan 2008 is a condensed, introductory paperback textbook. Another diversity textbook format contains not only subject matter but also practical exercises. This approach is typified by Carr-Ruffino 2012. More recently, theme-oriented or topic-specific textbooks have been published. Examples of these types are Kirton and Greene 2010 and Özbilgin and Syed 2010.

  • Bell, Myrtle P. Diversity in Organizations. 3d ed. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2017.

    Although the book focuses on the demographic composition of the US labor force, one of its strengths is the inclusion of relevant research from the fields of psychology, sociology, management, and other relevant disciplines.

  • Byrd, Marilyn Y., and Chaunda Scott. Diversity in the Workplace: Current Issues and Emerging Trends. New York: Routledge, 2018.

    DOI: 10.4324/9781315188980

    An integrated teaching resource from a USA perspective that provides students with the tools and methodologies to understand and respond to the multiple dynamics and challenges that emerge from difference in the workplace.

  • Carr-Ruffino, Norma. Managing Diversity: People Skills for a Multicultural Workplace. 9th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2012.

    The unique feature of this textbook is the combination of diversity content with practical exercises on topics ranging from cultural differences to discrimination. First published in 1998, it continues to be popular.

  • Gatrell, Caroline, and Elaine Swan. Gender and Diversity in Management: A Concise Introduction. London: SAGE, 2008.

    This is a nifty, concise introductory textbook on diversity in management. Its length does not compromise substance.

  • Kirton, Gill, and Anne-Marie Greene. The Dynamics of Managing Diversity: A Critical Approach. 3d ed. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2010.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780080966175

    This textbook provides a thorough critical treatment of diversity with a specific focus on the UK and European context.

  • Mor Barak, Michàlle E. Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2016.

    This paperback textbook takes a global perspective on diversity issues and offers a thorough exposition of relevant theory. A unique feature is chapters on how organizations can achieve an inclusive workforce.

  • Özbilgin, Mustafa, and Jawad Syed. Managing Cultural Diversity in Asia: A Research Companion. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2010.

    Provides an overview of the complex diversity issues in several Asian countries.

  • Özbilgin, Mustafa, and Ahu Tatli. Global Diversity Management: An Evidence-Based Approach. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-137-26059-8

    Similar to Mor Barak 2016, the authors offer an in-depth treatment of diversity from a global perspective. The interesting and fresh approach provides students with a rigorous multilayered approach that contextualizes diversity issues while offering assorted tools for further exploration.

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