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THE DIVERSITY–VALIDITY DILEMMA: BEYOND SELECTION—THE ROLE OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Authors


  • I thank the editor, three anonymous reviewers, and Katherine Huston, Rob Ployhart, Keith Pyburn, and Sandy Butler Weil for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.

and requests for reprints should be addressed to David A. Kravitz, George Mason University, School of Management, Enterprise Hall MSN 5F5, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444; dkravitz@gmu.edu.

Abstract

Several of the most valid predictors used to make employment decisions create a diversity–validity dilemma (Pyburn, Ployhart, & Kravitz, this issue, 2008). This diversity–validity dilemma can be resolved by (a) reducing adverse impact through a variety of technical steps (Ployhart & Holtz, this issue, 2008) or (b) using affirmative action to increase representation of the disadvantaged groups. This paper focuses on the second approach. The paper begins with a very brief review of the legal bases of affirmative action and a summary of the research on affirmative action attitudes. This is followed with reviews of research on the ongoing existence of workplace discrimination, the economic impact of affirmative action on target groups and organizations, and stigmatization of target group members by others and by target group members themselves. Most problems with affirmative action apply only or primarily to preference-based forms, so nonpreferential approaches to affirmative action are recommended to increase the attraction, selection, inclusion, and retention of underrepresented group members.

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