Chapter 3: Leading and Building a Diverse Workplace Culture

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Analyze organizational best practices on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. (LO1)
  • Determine diversity management techniques needed to attract, engage, and retain employees. (LO3)

Multiethnic Diverse People in a Circle Holding Hands” by Helge V. Keitel is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Leadership of Diverse Teams

Effective leaders will build a team with greater cultural and demographic diversity. They will do this, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because they realize diversity is critical to their ability to serve diverse constituents and empower diverse communities.

Organizations that take the time to analyze their organizational make-up may realize there are fewer women than they’d like or maybe less people from differing cultures.

There are some steps to take to begin building and leading diverse teams:

  1. Evaluate what groups should be included in your organization. Decide what capabilities are needed to succeed, in what roles, and set a time line.
  2. Provide on-going training to all employees to be more culturally competent as well as leadership training, when you begin to fill the gaps in the organization.
  3. Detail a vision, a leadership road map if you will, that describes the plan for empowering diverse leaders in key roles.
“Love diversity” by anno.malie is licensed under CC-BY 2.0

But, if the team isn’t broke, why change it?

Fair point. Yes, your team may be working well already. Maybe your team has some diverse components. Continually searching for diverse talent and recruiting them is only going to benefit your organization. In fact, one study shows that diversity plays a role in organizational resilience. Resilience is considered an essential component for organization in uncertain times, allowing them to better cope with crisis. Consider the COVID-19 pandemic, some organizations struggled because they could not adapt. Granted, maybe the could not adapt because they didn’t have the means to adapt (money), but it could also have been because they did not have the diverse perspectives brainstorming solutions to overcome shutting down, restricted public interaction, and more. Organizations that were able to thrive during the pandemic were adapting, coming up with solutions to continue to bring in sales.

Reflect on the toll the pandemic took on your local community, who could not remain open? Who is thriving? What do you think was key to their success?

For more about organizational resilience and its connection to diversity, read this study by Duchek, Raetze, and Schueuch (2020).

Consider this cartoon, from a deck of cards. Consider the message of “the many advantages of working here” when this card was printed, in regards to the woman shown. Then consider how that same message could be used today, but with a completely different (and less terrible) meaning. We will be looking at the many advantages of diverse people working together below.

“Pin-up Cartoon Playing Cards” by andertoons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Benefits of Team Diversity

Diverse perspectives can enhance teams, as we have discussed. Here are some ways that diversity benefits a team, can you think of others?

  1. More likely to have financial returns above their industry average
  2. More likely to have higher return on equity and income growth if there is gender diversity on their board of directors
  3. Perform better at decision-making and problem-solving
  4. More likely to base decisions on facts rather than opinions, often remaining more objective than homogeneous teams
  5. Encourage greater scrutiny, keeping cognitive resources sharp and vigilant
  6. Richer discussions
  7. Greater innovation, more revenue from new products and services

Additional Learning Materials:


  1. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Center for Open Science (1 page) (LO3)
  2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at ORCID (2 pages) (LO3)
  3. NERCHE Self-Assessment Rubric (LO3)


  1. Ask a Chief Diversity Officer (4:31) (LO1) (LO3)
  2. How to Get Serious About Diversity and Inclusion (11:04) (LO1)


  1. Thought Leaders Episode 15: Pride in the Workplace (46:51) (LO1) (LO3)


References for Remixed Content:

The Bridgespan Group (n.d.). Build a diverse team to address future needs. The Bridgespan Group. Retrieved February 4, 2022 from

Duchek, S., Raetze, S. & Scheuch, I. The role of diversity in organizational resilience: a theoretical framework. Bus Res 13, 387–423 (2020).

OpenStax (n.d.) Principles of management. OpenStax. Retrieved February 4, 2022 from


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