Your business may not be as diverse as you think it is, and for your staff to be truly diverse and feel comfortable about it, you may need to re-evaluate how you see diversity entirely, new research shows.
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The study examined group dynamics as they pertain to racial diversity, and found that diversity is all about perspective.
According to the study, it's difficult for different people to agree on how racially diverse a group really is because many people judge diversity based on whether they feel that their own race is adequately represented, while they may not notice that groups different from their own aren't included, the researchers said. [Why Diversity is Good for Business ]
These findings also shed light on another key diversity issue: Conversations about race in the United States have long focused on relations between whites and racial minorities, rather than on relations between racial minority groups, which means society isn't looking at diversity from all angles, the researchers wrote in the study, published in the latest issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
So, what does this mean for your business? You may not notice a lack of diversity, but your employees might feel out of place or underrepresented in the workplace.
"Our research shows that a lack of diversity may simultaneously trouble some people but not be apparent to others," said Christopher Bauman, an assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine and one of the co-authors of the study. "We believe many leaders of organizations may underappreciate how much of a concern diversity is for their employees and job candidates."
And while there's no quick and easy solution to the problem, there is a way to start making a difference: talk about it.
"Achieving diversity can mean different things to different people, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution," Bauman said. "People must be willing to have candid conversations about specific types of representation rather than use 'diversity' as a catch-all phrase."
In the end, the study seems to suggest that diversity is all about being open to new points of view.
The study was co-authored by Sophie Trawalter, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, and Miguel Unzueta, an associate professor at UCLA.
Originally published on Business News Daily.
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