Workforce Diversity: Evidence of Positive Business Outcomes and How to Achieve them. A Review of the Literature.


  • Mervyl McPherson EEO Trust, Auckland



The demographic diversity of local and global work forces and markers is increasing within what is still generally a context of tight labour market conditions, especially or skilled labour. This paper reviews a wide range of literature on the impact of workforce diversity on business oil/comes and how that diversity can he best managed for business success. The review considers various types of diversity, different methodological approaches from quasi-experimental to case studies, and a range of positive business outcomes including improved staff recruitment and retention; improved creativity, innovation and problem solving, improved marketing strategies and outcomes, productivity and net financial returns. Although there are some specific studies or instances that appear to prove the exception to the rule, the consensus from the body of evidence existing to date is that diverse workforces are the reality of the future and that, in general, they have the potential to result in positive/enhanced business outcomes. The exceptions are generally explained away as being due to lack of best practice implementation of diversity and equality policies, and management of diverse teams and workforces. This paper, therefore, also investigates the key workplace, management and implementation factors associated with positive versus negative outcomes. We found lack of research into the links between diversity, workplace practices and business outcomes in the New Zealand context with its large number of small businesses, a unique range of ethnic groups and its own cultural norms, signaling the potential for further research.


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Author Biography

Mervyl McPherson, EEO Trust, Auckland