Leadership style as a component of diversity management experience
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The growing importance of managing workplace diversity necessitates investigating leadership style as a component of diversity management experience. This study aimed to determine the kind of leadership style required to establish a positive experience of diversity management in organisations. The proposition is that an engaging leadership style results in a more positive experience of diversity management. Four hundred and forty (440) leadership styles were measured in 11 selected workplaces. Their influence on diversity management experience along race, gender and generational lines among two thousand six hundred and sixty-nine (2 669) respondents in 11 workplaces were established. The symbolic interactionist study used the interrelated interactive leadership theories of Mintzberg (2004), McClelland (1975), McClelland and Burnham (1976), Burnham (2003) and the diversity and inclusion management indicators of Roberson (2004). This study used the Hall and Hawker (1988) inventory to determine leadership styles and a diversity questionnaire to measure diversity management experience. These were correlated using Spearman rank order correlations. Management styles in the 11 respondent workplaces were predominantly affiliative or tended towards heroic. The engaging leadership style of Mintzberg (2004) correlated positively with diversity management experience. Diversity management experience differed significantly between race and gender groups. No significant generational differences were established. Male respondents correlated positively with engaging leadership styles regardless of race, whereas female respondents correlated positively with heroic leadership styles. Younger generation respondents correlated negatively with fight/flight leadership styles. This study concluded with a symbolic interactive diversity competency model developed from Mintzberg (2004), with reference to Chang and Thorenou (2004) and Human (2005).
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