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Research on the efficacy of organizational diversity efforts has yielded mixed results. It remains unclear when positive or negative outcomes should be expected, and why. This article fills a gap in the sociological literature by examining critical social psychological mechanisms. In Experiment 1, I found that common diversity messaging led to increased bias towards racial minorities. In Experiment 2, I examined how alternative framing may influence these outcomes. Findings revealed that the common “business case” emphasizing profit and performance gains made decision-makers less likely to select a Black job candidate than emphasizing civil rights law. I then examined social psychological mechanisms that make civil rights framing more effective. Discussing civil rights promoted the belief that striving for diversity is morally “the right thing to do,” which mediated the promotion of a Black job candidate. Beyond theoretical contributions, findings can help organizational leaders better understand the effects of alternative diversity strategies.

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Submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journal