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Journal Article

Managing Cultural Diversity: Implications for Organizational Competitiveness

Taylor H. Cox and Stacy Blake
The Executive
Vol. 5, No. 3 (Aug., 1991), pp. 45-56
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL:
Page Count: 12
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The recent business trends of globalization and increasing ethnic and gender diversity are turning managers' attention to the management of cultural differences. The management literature has suggested that organizations should value diversity to enhance organizational effectiveness. However, the specific link between managing diversity and organizational competitiveness is rarely made explicit and no article has reviewed actual research data supporting such a link. This article reviews arguments and research data on how managing diversity can create a competitive advantage. We address cost, attraction of human resources, marketing success, creativity and innovation, problem-solving quality, and organizational flexibility as six dimensions of business performance directly impacted by the management of cultural diversity. We then offer suggestions for improving organizational capability to manage this diversity.

Notes and References

This item contains 26 references.

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    This reference contains 2 citations:
    • William B. Johnston, Global Work Force 2000, Harvard Business Review, March-April, 1991
    • "Middle-age at 26," Wall Street Journal, April 10, 1990
  • 2
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    • Lennie Copeland, "Learning to Manage a Multicultural Workforce," Training, May1988, 48-56
    • Barbara Mandrell and Susan Kohler-Gray, "Management Development that Values Diversity," Personnel, 67, March1990, 41-47
    • Katherine Etsy, "Diversity is Good for Business," Executive Excellence, 5. 1988, 5-6
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  • 5
    Taylor Cox, Jr. and Stella Nkomo, "A Race and Gender Group Analysis of the Early Career Experience of MBA's," Work and Occupations, forthcoming in 1991
  • 6
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    • Cathy Trost, "Women Managers Quit not for Family but to Advance their Corporate Climb," Wall Street Journal, May 2. 1990
    • Schwartz, Endnote 3
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    • "The 50 Best Places for Blacks to Work," Black Enterprise, February1989, 73-91
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  • 14
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    Rosabeth Moss-Kanter, The Change Masters, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983)
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  • 17
    Susan E. Jackson, "Team Composition in Organizational Settings: Issues in Managing a Diverse Workforce," in Group Process & Productivity, J. Simpson, S. Warchel and W. Wood (eds), Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1989)
  • 18
    L. Richard Hoffman and Norman R.F. Maier, "Quality and Acceptance of Problem Solving by Members of Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Groups," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 62. 1961, 401-407
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    • J.E. McGrath, Groups: Interaction and Performance, (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1984)
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  • 20
    C.R. Shepard, Small Groups, (San Francisco: Chandler Publishing Co., 1964), 118
  • 21
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    • Ed Schein, "Organizational Socialization and the Profession of Management," in D.A. Kolb, I.M. Rubin, and J.M. McIntyre (Eds.), Organizational Psychology, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1984, 7-21
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  • 24
    Wallace Lambert, "The Effects of Bilingualism on the Individual: Cognitive and Sociocultural Consequences," in Peter A. Hurnbey (Ed.), Bilingualism: Psychological, Social, and Educational Implications, New York: Academic Press, 1977. 15-27
  • 25
    Taylor Cox's article, "The Multicultural Organization" which appeared in the May. 1991 issue of The Executive
  • 26
    This reference contains 2 citations:
    • Taylor Cox and Stella Nkomo, "Differential Performance Appraisal Criteria," Group and Organization Studies, 11, 1986, 101-119
    • Asya Pazy's article: "The Persistence of Pro-Male Bias," Organization Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 38, 1986, 366-377
  • 27
    Taylor Cox's article "The Multicultural Organization" (endnote 24)