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Running Head: DIVERSITY PRACTICES AND ENGAGEMENT 1 The Role of Diversity Practices and Inclusion in Promoting Trust and Employee Engagement Please cite as: Downey, S. N., van der Werff, L., Thomas, K. M., & Plaut, V. C. (2015). The role of diversity practices and inclusion in promoting trust and employee engagement. Journal of Applied Social Psychology , 45 (1), 35- 44. Stephanie N. Downey University of Georgia Lisa van der Werff Dublin City University Kecia M. Thomas University of Georgia Victoria C. Plaut School of Law University of California, Berkeley
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DIVERSITY PRACTICES AND ENGAGEMENT 2 Abstract This paper investigates the association of diversity practices with an important aspect of workplace well-being, engagement. It was hypothesized that the association of diversity practices would be mediated by trust climate and that this mediation relationship would be stronger when employees experienced feelings of inclusion in the workplace. Using a sample of 4,597 health sector employees, results indicated that diversity practices are associated with a trusting climate that, in turn, is positively related to employee engagement. Furthermore, the relationship between diversity practices and trust climate was moderated by inclusion. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed along with recommendations for future research.
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DIVERSITY PRACTICES AND ENGAGEMENT 3 The Role of Diversity Practices and Inclusion in Promoting Trust and Employee Engagement In order to be competitive, organizations must realize that today’s workforce is increasingly diverse. Without efforts to promote policies and practices that support and include individuals from all backgrounds, organizations will find themselves left behind. Implementing diversity practices can result in positive outcomes for organizations such as increased profitability, creativity, flexibility, successful adjustment to fluctuations in the market, and overall individual and organizational growth (Thomas & Ely, 1996). One area of research that has received scant attention concerns the impact of human resource (HR) practices on less tangible outcomes such as employee well-being (Gould- Williams, 2007). This paper aims to investigate the association of diversity practices with employee engagement, a vital ingredient in overall workplace well-being. Although well-being has been disputed in the literature, a recent review suggests that it is an important mediator between HR practices and organizational performance (Van De Voorde, Paauwe, & Van Veldhoven, 2012). To our knowledge, this paper represents the first in-depth examination of the relationship between diversity practices and engagement. Therefore this study contributes to the literature by providing support for the efficacy of diversity practices at an individual employee level. Furthermore, we examine the climate in which individuals interact with their colleagues and suggest that diversity practices will lead to a climate that employees perceive as high in trust.
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