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
  • Organization Performance

Management Diversity
Stella M. Nkomo
  • LAST REVIEWED: 06 July 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 January 2013
  • 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 nondominant groups.


Textbooks focusing on diversity have only recently emerged, because of its relative newness as a field of study in management. However, most of the widely used management and organizational behavior 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. Thus, the textbooks available are typically context-specific (i.e., they focus on diversity in a particular country). Most of the context-specific textbooks tend to begin with a description of the diversity within the country and workforce trends. 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 2012 is an example of this type of textbook as it centers on diversity in the US context. Mor-Barak 2011 offers a more 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. Hannum, et al. 2010 contains theoretical chapters and cases as well as practical exercises. 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 2009. 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. 2d ed. Mason, OH: South-Western College, 2012.

    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.

  • Carr-Ruffino, Norma. Managing Diversity: People Skills for a Multicultural Workplace. 8th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2009.

    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.

  • Hannum, Kelly M., Belinda B. McFeeters, and Lize Booysen. Leading across Differences: Cases and Perspectives. San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2010.

    This textbook is well grounded in the latest theoretical developments and offers engaging research-based cases and exercises across various contexts. The theoretical summaries are authored by some of the top scholars in the field of diversity.

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

    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. 2d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2011.

    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.

    Similar to Mor-Barak 2011, 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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