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In today’s business climate it’s interesting to note how people now view a company’s ethical behavior based on its overall ethnic diversity. Is a diverse workforce more ethical than a non-diverse workforce? Is a diverse workforce moral or even fairer? Experiments conducted by Professor Katherine Phillips of the Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics in the Management Division at Columbia Business School and Sun Young (Sunny) Kim of Northwestern University demonstrated that people valued an ethnically mixed workforce as one of the leading reasons diverse firms are perceived as more ethical, fairer and less deserving of punishment when found guilty of committing a business transgression.
The following excerpt is posted with the permission of the Columbia Business School ideas at work. The full article appeared in the Columbia Business School ideas at work Winter 2013 Edition and was originally posted online September 29,2012.
Ethically Diverse By: Katherine Phillips
Four years into the financial crisis, a midst the many questions about regulation, bailouts and executive compensation, one question has received less attention than is perhaps warranted: Would a more diverse Wall Street — which remains largely white and male — make for a more ethical Wall Street?
The assumption built into that question — that with greater diversity comes more ethical behavior — is ripe for investigation. There is no direct evidence that diverse firms are more moral than their homogeneous counterparts, although there is some research suggesting links between diversity, fairness, and equality.
And other research suggests that homogeneous groups experience more conformity than diverse groups —that people in a homogeneous group are more likely to try “getting along and going along” as a way to remain part of the group and are less likely to counter questionable behavior. Recognizing a dearth of research about diversity and ethics. Read more …