Many organizations employ diversity initiatives, such as diversity mission statements, in order to effectively recruit and manage a diverse workforce. One approach emphasizes multiculturalism, which focuses on the acknowledgement and celebration of racial diversity. Multiculturalism has been found to produce greater inclusion by racial majorities and increased psychological engagement of racial minorities, but has also been linked to negative outcomes among Whites, from feelings of exclusion to greater stereotyping to perceiving racial discrimination claims as less valid. Another approach — value-in-merit — emphasizes a commitment to equal opportunity and meritocratic outcomes. The value-in-merit approach has been found to alleviate majority members' fear about exclusion but could create a threatening environment for minorities. We propose a hybrid approach — multicultural meritocracy — which combines the value-in-diversity elements of multiculturalism with the equal opportunity components of a value-in-merit ideology. We hypothesized that this integrative presentation would be a more effective approach for organizations than its constituent parts. Five studies demonstrated that the hybrid ideology of multicultural meritocracy limits the negative effects while retaining the positive impacts of the separate approaches. Compared to traditional multiculturalism, multicultural meritocracy reduced stereotype activation and de-legitimization of racial discrimination claims for Whites. Multicultural meritocracy also increased the psychological engagement of both racial minorities and Whites. Furthermore, we found that this increased engagement was driven by multicultural meritocracy increasing feelings of inclusion for both groups. Multicultural meritocracy offers an approach to diversity that benefits all members, both majority and minority, of a group.

S. Gundemir, A.C. Homan, A. Usova, and Adam Galinsky
Journal Article
Publication Date
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Full Citation

Gundemir, S., A.C. Homan, A. Usova, and Adam Galinsky
. “Multicultural meritocracy: The synergistic benefits of valuing diversity and merit.”
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
, (November 01, 2017):