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Using data from 260 U.S. organizations, we found partial support for our hypotheses that demographic diversity of senior management would be positively associated with the diversity of the workforce, adoption of diversity practices, and power of an organization’s diversity/EEO officer, and that diversity practices impact organizational performance.

Organizations wishing to attract, retain, and benefit from diverse talent are often advised to begin by increasing the diversity of their senior management. Data collected from 260 U.S. organizations supports this idea. We found that the demographic diversity of senior management teams is positively associated with the demographic diversity of workforces at large and with the adoption of diversity practices, and that, furthermore, those firms that adopted diversity initiatives outperformed those that did not. Organizations that have diversity/EEO officers with real power and clout were more likely to benefit from these effects.


Suggested Citation
Nishii, L., Gotte, A., & Raver, J. (2007). Upper echelon theory revisited: The relationship between upper echelon diversity, the adoption of diversity practices, and organizational performance (CAHRS Working Paper #07-04). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.