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Describe the attraction-selection-attrition (ASA) framework. How does it help to explain the “maintenance of homogeneity” in organisations?
The attraction-selection-attrition framework was proposed by Benjamin Schneider in 1987 as a person-oriented model that evaluates organisational behaviour (Schneider, Goldstein and Smith (1995). The framework draws on the psychological theory that explains the existing organisational structure based on its employee composition. The theory proposes that the organisations are a function of its workforce and this phenomenon has been explained using the three-step model.
Attraction: This is the first stage which highlights the tendency of people to be attracted towards organisations that are in congruence with their personal characteristics. These characteristics include values, cultures, personal interest and personality (Schneider, 1987). The theory elucidates that an individuals’ perception of these similarities drives their attraction.
Selection: The second stage of the framework addresses the mechanism adopted by organisations when selecting their employees. The ASA model suggests that organisations are inclined towards choosing candidates who match the skill-sets of their existing workforce (Ployhart, Weekley and Baughman, 2006). These skills might be manifested in knowledge, abilities and qualifications.
Attrition: The theory further proposes that if there has been any incongruence between the fit between the person and the organisations, the employee is likely to leave (De Cooman et al., 2009). The underlying assumption is that an individual is likely to make a switch if they feel that the organisational values and cultures are no longer aligned with their personal needs. This would leave a group of a relatively homogeneous workforce who are ultimately retained over time.
This model makes a strong case for the maintenance of homogeneity in organisations because all three steps of the framework actively seek to attract, gather and maintain people with similar personal characteristics. The theory suggests that only individuals with similar psychological attributes are attracted to, selected by and retained by an organisation. Such a cohort of similar employees leads to the formation and consolidation of an organisational culture that purports a homogeneous workforce composition. Similar minded individuals are likely to build the organisation in such a manner that it consequently will be a reflection of their combined characteristics. These characteristics will form the foundation of the organisation’s culture, values, structures and processes.
Since the fundamental assumption of the ASA framework is that organisations are a reflection of its people, there is a strong focus on the formation of a group culture (Denton, 1999). The mutual characteristics of the like-minded people who are attracted, selected and retained by an organisation are likely to bond and grow similar over time leading to homogeneity. This can be represented in a pictorial form as under.
This diagram explains how the ASA framework contributes to homogenous organisations. As per the theory, only like-minded people are attracted to organisations which are further funnelled by selecting only those individuals who the employers believe to have similar skills to the existing workforce. Furthermore, if and when an individual believe that there is an inconsistency between their characteristics and that of the organisation, they leave making the employee composition more solid and uniform.
De Cooman, R., De Gieter, S., Pepermans, R., Hermans, S., Du Bois, C., Caers, R. and Jegers, M., 2009. Person–organisation fit: Testing socialization and attraction–selection–attrition hypotheses. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74(1), pp.102-107.
Denton, D.W., 1999. The attraction–selection–attrition model of organisational behavior and the homogeneity of managerial personality. Current Research in Social Psychology, 4(8), pp.146-59.
Ployhart, R. E., Weekley, J. A. and Baughman, K.. (2006). The Structure and Function of Human Capital Emergence: A Multilevel Examination of the Attraction-Selection-Attrition Model. The Academy of Management Journal, 49(4), 661–677. http://doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.2307/20159791
Schneider, B., 1987. The people make the place. Personnel Psychology, 40(3), pp.437-453.
Schneider, B., Goldstein, H. W. and Smith, D. B. (1995). The ASA Framework: An Update. Personnel Psychology. Retrieved February 04, 2016, from https://www.tamu.edu/faculty/bergman/schneider1995.pdf.
How does role congruity theory help to explain why women are under-represented in leadership roles?
The role congruity theory is based on the prejudices that are faced by women in the leadership roles. The theory stresses that there are two roles, namely gender roles and leadership roles that form the basis of the prejudice towards women in the workplace setting. The theory explains that the women are under-represented in the leadership roles because of the inherent inconsistencies in these two roles leading to (a) perception of women as inferior to men when assuming leadership roles and (b) evaluating the identical desired leadership behavior as less effective when enforced by female (Eagly and Karau, 2002). The gender bias targeted towards the female leaders inflict the consequence that the very attitude and perception are negative when they assume the leadership roles, discouraging female participation and representation in the managerial levels that warrant a leader. Another reason for the under-representation is that such prejudice undermines confidence and makes it difficult for the female leaders to discharge their leadership duties successfully.
The incongruity theory highlights the deep-rooted perception regarding the incongruence between the expected the female gender role and the leadership role. This is the implication of stereotyping where female gender roles are associated with characteristics such as being communal, supportive, emotional and nurturing. On the contrary, the expected leadership roles are associated with characteristics such as being authoritative, masculine, dominant and assertive. This categorisation of the perceived characteristics of female employees’ vis-à-vis the desired characteristics in leaders are mutually exclusive and biased (Garcia-Retamero and López-Zafra, 2006). This inconsistency lowers the ability of the evaluators when they assess an individual as the potential occupant of the leadership position, as a result of the stereotyped social roles. This means that women are less likely to the favoured for leadership positions as opposed to men, which leads to under-representation in the senior levels (Cabrera, Sauer and Thomas‐Hunt, 2009).
In general, the bias stems from the incongruity between the perceptions of the desired set of qualities needed to fulfil leadership roles and the inherent characteristics of women. Such mind block leads to the emergence of concepts such as glass ceilings which highlight the under-representation of women in leadership positions, despite being as qualified, competitive and experienced as their male counterparts. The misguided expectation of the desired and ideal behaviour of women and men instigate the foundation of biased gender roles that place women in a disadvantaged position. These consensual beliefs inhibit the women’s abilities to perform and lead because of the influence and subliminal messaging from the society to behave according to the socially shared expectations. Due to the contrasting and incongruent role definitions, it becomes a challenge for women to be true to their gender roles while discharging their leadership duties. Such bipolar requirements hinder the development of leadership qualities in women which results in the further strengthening of the pre-conceived notion that men are more suitable to take up leadership positions due to their characteristics disposition. These reasons lead to underrepresentation of women in leadership roles.
Cabrera, S.F., Sauer, S.J. and Thomas‐Hunt, M.C., 2009. The evolving manager stereotype: The effects of industry gender typing on performance expectations for leaders and their teams. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33(4), pp.419-428.
Eagly, A.H. and Karau, S.J., 2002. Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological Review, 109(3), p.573.
Garcia-Retamero, R. and López-Zafra, E., 2006. Prejudice against women in male-congenial environments: Perceptions of gender role congruity in leadership. Sex Roles, 55(1-2), pp.51-61.
What motivates employers to avoid hiring disabled workers? Are these motivations justified by empirical evidence?
Traditionally, the managers emphasised largely on organisational productivity and efficiency based on the effectiveness of employee yield. This made the managers reluctant to introduce disabled and differently-abled workforce in their teams and workplace with a conception that they are not competitive enough to yield higher results (Goldstone and Meager, 2002). The change in business environment and ethics has led changes in the human resources perspective in different areas including disability. With the introduction of equal opportunities and workforce diversity in organisations, there has been acceptance and integration of diverse workforce determining the higher performance of the organisation (Kaye, Jans and Jones, 2011).
The legislation and enforcement of law to treat everyone equally disregarding sex or disability show the previous orientation of hesitation among managers to include disabled people in the workforce. Following these legal regulations and gradually changing organisational culture, managers are looking beyond physical capabilities to mental abilities when it comes to work and talent equivalence (Goldstone and Meager, 2002). One of the reasons that encourage managers to not employ disabled candidates is the suitability of the job. A study shows that the lack of proper environment and facilities to accommodate the disabled individuals also restricted them to employ one (Kaye, Jans and Jones, 2011). Other reasons include the nature and severity of disability that impacts the performance of individuals.
The larger organisations seem to have lower drawbacks or issues in recruiting disabled employees as they are able to afford the concerned expenses. Moreover, these firms have separate policies that identify the recruitment of disabled workers (Goldstone and Meager, 2002). However, for the firms without financial capacity to support such employees, managers are unenthusiastic to hire them. These managers have relatively difficult time to manage the costs and benefits of recruitment given that the risen costs impact the profitability of the company (Kaye, Jans and Jones, 2011). Moreover, these managers also pose their own inability to address the needs of the disabled personnel; this includes them being worried on the extra time that will require other co-workers to assist the ones with disabilities (Kaye, Jans and Jones, 2011).
Therefore, the disabilities of workers have many reasons that hinder their recruitment. The attitudes of employers regarding the costs and benefits of the company along with the convenience associated are major reasons encouraging their hesitance. However, there have been significant regulations that require organisations to have written policies to address the recruitment of disabled workers to ensure equality and support to all individuals at work.
Goldstone, C., and Meager, N. (2002). Barriers to employment for disabled people. Great Britain, Analytical Services Division.
Kaye, H. S., Jans, L. H. and Jones, E. C. (2011). Why don’t employers hire and retain workers with disabilities?. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 21(4), 526-536.
According to the rational actor model of hiring decisions, employers will change their stereotyped beliefs about minority job applicants after having positive experiences with members of that minority group. According to Pager and Karafin’s (2009) study, what do employers do in real life?
The rational actor theory is a social and behavioural model which proposes that the managers are likely to alter their stereotypes and biases when they have a positive experience with individuals from a minority group during the hiring of the job applications from that particular group. On the contrary, the study proposed by Pager and Karafin (2009) elucidates that there is an ongoing stereotyping by hiring managers with strong negative associations towards minority workers and especially towards African-American men. The study emphasises that if an African-American candidate performs well in contrast to the negative stereotype – the individual is treated as an exception while the rest of the minority job applicants are still viewed from a negative perspective.
The finding of the study stands in stark contrast to the role actor model of hiring decisions. It suggests that most employers express strong negative opinions about African American men without a corresponding direct experience that formed the decisions. This means that the general perceptions influenced their stereotyping with views formed as a result of general encounters in public places, observations, information obtained from the media and the prevalent discrimination in the society. The employers had already had formed opinions against the African American job applicants which resulted in lowered selection rates.
Furthermore, even if the managers have had a positive experience in the workplace with individuals belonging to a minority, they were treated as exceptions, and this did not have a substantial impact on changing the overall perception towards other applicants belonging to that particular minority group, particularly the African American candidates.
Overall, the study indicated towards a disturbing hiring process pattern which was biased and had no scope for influencing that bias with the positive behaviour of the existing employees of the African American origin or another minority group. The study showed that employers consistently avoided hiring minority workers and showed higher preferences for the white population, even if the educational qualifications and experiences were similar. The incongruent element identified by the study was that although most of the employers have had positive experiences with minority workers, this did not alter their overall perception of the other members of the group during the hiring process. The bias and stereotype stayed intact, and new minority applicants would need to face similar problems of stereotyping and discrimination with a lower probability of being hired for the job. This led the study to conclude that it is likely that hiring discrimination will continue in future among the black and white candidates with no positive impact of the good work experiences with existing employees from the minority group. Therefore, the rational actor model of hiring and the study by Pager and Karafin (2009) offer differing perspectives and conclusion.
Pager, D. and Karafin, D., 2009. Bayesian bigot? Statistical discrimination, stereotypes, and employer decision making. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 621(1), pp.70-93.
What are the main differences between an ‘equal opportunities’ approach and a ‘diversity management’ approach?
Equal opportunity, traditionally, emerged to create a balance between the workforce such as eliminating gender discrimination and associated discrepancies in opportunities provided to the employees based on their gender for instance (Liff, 1999). At present, with intensive globalisation, the workforce is diverse comprising of people from different sexual orientation, age, background, race and personality. This has diversified the visible and non-visible differences (Liff, 1999). The foundations of managing diversity revolve around the conception of accepting this diverse group of the workforce and managing them for optimum business profits. It is observed that integrating these differences creates a better working environment enhanced by creativity and higher respect among the workforce. Talent acquisition, retention and management are fully utilised to meet the organisational goals.
The major differences between managing diversity and equal opportunity lie on their implementation. The equal opportunity is generally implied by external forces of legislation and societal ethics such as equality, human rights and justice. The notion of equal opportunity is to treat each employee without partiality regardless of their gender, appearance or values. In both national and international level, equal opportunities aim to disregard any disadvantage to any individual at workplace regarding their gender or any form of identity (Sharma, 2016). Meanwhile, diversity management is initiated by the company and driven by the internal needs of the businesses. The diversity management emphasises on recognising and improving employee skills and potential for effective operations and higher productivity. In the lack of recognising these differences and skills would be termed as discrimination leading to higher costs for the organisation in both productivity and culture depletion (Thomas, 1990). Hence, the addressing and recognition of holistic backgrounds, demonstrating equal opportunities, is quintessential for improving efficiency and competitive advantage.
The general objective of the equal opportunity is to maintain social justice and rectify the errors made in the past (Thomas, 1990) while managing diversity aims to treat each employee as individuals acknowledging their unique needs and quality to determine the various ways providing assistance for their success (McDougall, 1996). The roots of equal opportunity are based more on societal values that promote equality while the management of diversity is inclined to business objectives and related economic purpose of the organisation. Management of diversity is largely associated with an organisational culture that encourages each employee to improve their capabilities and drive motivation for higher productivity that ultimately empowers the company as a whole (Kochan et al., 2003).
One of the arguments presented on these approaches is that managing diversity arises from the very foundations of equal opportunities. However, the distinction among the approaches lies in the conceptualisation of external and internal forces driving them (Sharma, 2016). As mentioned, equal opportunity is more of coercive approach to be followed by organisation while managing diversity is in the hands of managers on how efficiently they handle the differences in the workforce, integrating their differences and talents to give the best outcome on individual and organisational level maintaining harmony throughout (Kochan et al., 2003).
Kochan, T., Bezrukova, K., Ely, R., Jackson, S., Joshi, A., Jehn, K., Leonard, J., Levine, D. and Thomas, D., 2003. The effects of diversity on business performance: Report of the diversity research network. Human resource management, 42(1), pp.3-21.
Liff, S., 1999. Diversity and equal opportunities: room for a constructive compromise?. Human Resource Management Journal, 9(1), pp.65-75.
McDougall, M., 1996. Equal opportunities versus managing diversity: Another challenge for public sector management?. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 9(5/6), pp.62-72.
Sharma, A., 2016. Managing diversity and equality in the workplace. Cogent Business & Management, 3(1), p.1212682.
Thomas, R.R., 1990. From Affirmative Action To Affirming Diversity. Harvard Business Review, 1.
Under what circumstances are diverse teams likely to out-perform homogeneous teams?
Diverse team compositions have been a staple in the initiative to enhance inclusive workplace, while homogeneous groups have been favoured due to the benefits of lack of conflict and smoother decision making. While both these team formations have their own advantages and disadvantages, diverse teams are likely to outperform homogeneous teams under the following circumstances.
- A need to focus on facts
Diverse groups are known to focus on facts as they do not face the pressure to conform to a heterogeneous group’s majority opinion (Rock and Grant, 2016). This contributes to enhanced information accumulation, processing and analysis while facilitating a more accurate group thinking mechanism. A diverse group composition enables fact collection from different people by capitalising on their varied backgrounds, expertise and networks which is likely to lead to an enhanced group performance.
- A broader outlook is required
A homogenous group is likely to be influenced by the social norms and the need to conform to the opinions of its influential members. In such circumstances, a diverse group will facilitate a global outlook as its unique composition of various cultures, qualifications, life experiences and opinions are likely to generate stronger group dynamics and broader perspectives (Phillips, Liljenquist and Neale, 2010). Furthermore, such groups are known to be more organic, giving them the ability to be agile and break conventional thoughts to enable the perception and interpretation of the broader outlook.
- Potential Biases Need to be Eliminated
Diverse teams are prone to fact-checking while constantly re-evaluating the existing facts. These teams remain objective and have a greater ability to scrutinise the actions of the team members as a result of their accumulated cognitive abilities (Hewstone, Rubin and Willis, 2002). Once the team composition is heterogeneous, it facilitates the identification of potential biases among the employees as there will be others who would challenge their inputs and opinions. This would compel the team members to view their opinions with greater care and precision to avoid any biases which would otherwise go undetected, thus enabling precise, accurate and informed decision making.
- Fresh Insight, Creativity and Innovation is Solicited
Diverse teams are invariably more innovative and creative as they are not restricted to the confines of thinking as per the group’s norms (Mannix and Neale, 2005). On the contrary, homogeneous groups would be more engaged in the implementation of the existing know-how. The composition of people in a heterogeneous group come with a myriad of varied experiences, thinking, opinions, ideas, information and backgrounds – challenging existing protocols and know-how and discovering a new and innovative way to do things.
Due to the potential for conflicting ideas and opinions in a diverse group, they are better suited for work that demands less scrutiny and control with more freedom and flexibility to perform.
- Workplace is Inclusive
An inclusive workplace is a fertile ground for the diverse group as this facilitates greater innovation, creativity and ability to perform (Roberson, 2006). The employees feel empowered to contribute positively to the organisation.
Hewstone, M., Rubin, M. and Willis, H., 2002. Intergroup bias. Annual Review of Psychology, 53(1), pp.575-604.
Mannix, E. and Neale, M.A., 2005. What differences make a difference? The promise and reality of diverse teams in organisations. Psychological science in the public interest, 6(2), pp.31-55.
Phillips, K.W., Liljenquist, K.A. and Neale, M.A. 2010. Better decisions through diversity. Kellogg Insight.
Roberson, Q.M., 2006. Disentangling the meanings of diversity and inclusion in organisations. Group & Organisation Management, 31(2), pp.212-236.
Rock, D. and Grant, H 2016. Why diverse teams and smarter. Harvard Business Review, 1.
Organisations use images of diversity or information about diversity initiatives in their recruitment advertising to attract job candidates from under-represented groups. Drawing upon Avery (2003), Martins & Parsons (2007), and Williamson et al. (2008), identify three factors that have been shown to influence job applicants’ reactions to this type of advertising, and explain how they do so.
Diversity management and inclusive approach to Human resource management have rendered the current recruitment approaches to become highly integrative. One of the most common integration methods is the affirmative action hiring of underrepresented groups. With more women and ethnic minorities being involved the process of attracting them has significantly applied the diversity information that the company has retained at the time of employment. As such the study aims to identify three factors that show the influence that such endeavours of brandishing their diversity policies have on new diverse recruits. To this end, the study will utilise the three papers from Avery (2003), Martins and Parsons (2007), and Williamson et al. (2008)
Within Sex Differences
Martins and Parsons’ (2007) study shows us that there is no distinct variation between the opinions of affirmative action recruitment advertisement on most of sex issues and parities. The within sex issues that are specific to mostly women has explored both sexes to respond more positively towards the company hiring them. This allows the factor of gender-specific issues in the workplace to be a better tool recruitment tool than intergender messaging. Though those issues are pertinent more gender-specific issues are seen as factors those illicit better responses towards advertisements of this nature.
Managerial Position attractiveness
The study conducted by Avery (2003)
Was an interesting one and it helped us distinctively identify a factor that allows more racial interest from the black community. The study shows that those belonging to a Caucasian race were not much affected by a diversity advertisement and in the case of the members of the other race; they were enticed by such promotions but only with the prospect of the affirmative action extending to managerial positions.
Explanation and Experience
Williamson et al. (2008) conducted a study regarding the very topic but extracted results that were more complex and provided with another factor that influences recruit perception. The factor, here named explanation and experience, refer to the recipient’s reasoning of the diversity hire taking place. The study shows that with candidates who have had previous experience with discrimination are more likely to respond to the advertisement of such nature. Furthermore, people who believe that the reasoning for hiring is not some mandate or quota fulfilment. With better reasoning for hiring such diverse candidates the interest of recruitments are likely to be peaked.
In conclusion, the different authors bring insights regarding the various distinct factors that seem to affect the underrepresented recruits’ decisions regarding joining the organisation.
Avery, D. R. (2003). Reactions to diversity in recruitment advertising–are differences black and
white?. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(4), 672.
Martins, L. L., and Parsons, C. K. (2007). Effects of gender diversity management on perceptions of organisational attractiveness: The role of individual differences in attitudes and beliefs. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(3), 865.
Williamson, I. O., Slay, H. S., Shapiro, D. L. and Shivers‐Blackwell, S. L. (2008). The effect of explanations on prospective applicants reactions to firm diversity practices. Human Resource Management, 47(2), 311-330.
How can resistance to diversity be reduced in organisations?
The resistance to diversity can be reduced in organisations by deploying the following techniques to enable the employees to embrace the differences among its workforce composition.
- Highlighting the Benefits of Diversity:
The resistance to diversity can be positively challenged by highlighting its potential benefits to the individuals and well as to the organisation. The individuals benefited from varied idea generation, enriched social experiences and widened exposure to broad views, opinions and cultures. In addition, diversity contributes to organisational benefits such as improved creativity and innovation with an enhanced firm image in the industry (Kim, 2006). By highlighting such potential benefits of having a diverse work team, it is possible for the organisations to not only manage diversity but to value diversity.
- Internalising Diversity with Training and Open Conversations:
It is essential for the senior members of the organisations to internalise diversity to encourage the rest of the workforce to follow. There should not be a discontinuity and incongruence between policy and practice. The fact that diversity is valued should be reflected in the values, cultures and daily actions while open conversations on the issue should be encouraged. This process is called embedding whereby embracing diversity is encouraged in daily work, thereby reinforcing to the workforce that a diverse work environment is accepted and encouraged (Thomas, 2012). Open communications can further help strengthen an organisation’s effort in reducing resistance and controlling bias by addressing fundamental issues that might lead to resistance in a timely manner.
- Identifying and Rectifying the Subtle Forms of Resistance:
One technique to rectify resistance is to identify the subtle forms of resistance. It has been noticed that some of the biases have been passively accepted by the workforce that would not be very vocal or transparent. In fact, there might be circumstances where an individual might not know that they are being biased due to the pervasive and wide practice of that behaviour. Some of the subtle forms of resistance might include social distancing, secondary victimisation and ethnic drift (Dipboye and Halverson, 2004). Therefore, it is essential that organisations display their commitment to embracing diversity by taking proactive measures to identify and rectify even the subtle form of resistance to send a strong message to the workforce. This attitude will signal that the organisation cares deeply about creating a non-biased workplace, which will influence the positive behaviours in the employees. The idea is to ensure that the organisation takes the issue of diversity as substantive rather than just symbolic (Allison, 1999).
Allison, M.T., 1999. Organisational barriers to diversity in the workplace. Journal of Leisure Research, 31(1), pp.78-101.
Dipboye, R.L. and Halverson, S.K., 2004. Subtle (and not so subtle) discrimination in organisations. The Dark Side of Organisational Behavior, 16, pp.131-158.
Kim, B.Y., 2006. Managing workforce diversity: Developing a learning organisation. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 5(2), pp.69-90.
Thomas, K.M. ed., 2012. Diversity resistance in organisations. Psychology Press.