HOW MUCH INEQUITY DO YOU SEE? STRUCTURAL POWER, PERCEPTIONS OF GENDER AND RACIAL INEQUITY, AND SUPPORT FOR DIVERSITY INITIATIVES

Christopher To, Elad N. Sherf, Maryam Kouchaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The success of diversity initiatives depends on the support of those in positions of structural power—that is, managers. However, managers often resist such initiatives. Existing academic and practitioner conversations point to managers’ demographics or ideology as the source of resistance to diversity initiatives. We propose that such resistance may originate from the managerial position itself. We argue that positions of structural power induce organizational identification, which motivates a view that one’s workplace is equitable. Seven archival studies of government employees (Studies 1a–1 g) and three surveys of working adults (Studies 2a, 2b, and 3) suggest those higher in structural power perceive less inequity in their workplace due to higher organizational identification, resulting in lower support for diversity initiatives. Asking managers to deliberate on inequities within their own organization, thus challenging their default positive view, helps managers overcome their identification barrier (Study 4). This research helps shift the foci of resistance toward diversity initiatives from demographics or ideology to one’s managerial position and provides practical implications for organizations seeking to support their diversity initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-149
Number of pages24
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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