The Impact of Explanations and Demographic Group Membership: Reactions to Diversity Initiatives


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Orlando C. Richard, Department of Management and Marketing, Louisiana Tech University, P. O. Box 10318, Ruston, LA 71272.


In a laboratory experiment, we investigated the impact of procedural explanations and demographic group membership on dependent measures of diversity program support. Our analysis took one important perspective: the examination of work-force-diversity programs from the perspective of multiple beneficiary (i. e., targeted) demographic groups. The experiment's design used 99 student volunteers in a 3 × 3 (Explanation × Demographic Group) factorial design. Our findings reveal that both adequate explanation and demographic group membership have a significant impact on how potential work-forcediversity program beneficiaries expect their coworkers to perceive them. In addition, group membership was a significant predictor of potential beneficiaries' attitudes toward the diversity program and their self-perceptions of competence. Finally, we discuss implications for future research and diversity practice.