From diversity to inclusion to equity in organisations
This paper develops a practice-based Theory of Generative Interactions across diversity that builds on empirical findings and conceptual frameworks from multiple fields of study. This transdisciplinary review (Montuori in World Futures 69:200–230, 2013) draws on the disciplines of sociology, social psychology, organisation studies, and communications.
The Theory of Generative Interactions suggests that in order to facilitate inclusion, multiple types of exclusionary dynamics (self-segregation, communication apprehension, and stereotyping and stigmatising) must be overcome through adaptive cognitive processing and skill development, and engagement in positive interactions must occur in order to facilitate inclusion that is created and sustained by contextually relevant sets of organisational practices.
The organisational practices provide the following conditions for generative interactions: pursuing an important, shared organisational purpose, mixing diverse members frequently over protracted periods of time, enabling differing groups to have equal standing and insider status in contributing to success, and providing collaborative interdependence, interpersonal comfort, and self-efficacy. These interactions are generative in that they help to challenge the guiding assumptions of the organisational culture, reconsider taken-for-granted aspects, and raise fundamental questions about organisations (Gergen in Person Soc Psychol 36:1344–1360, 1978).
The authors assert that such interactions, properly structured, can help organisations more fully address all stakeholders in creating value ethically, and ultimately creating equity for individuals and groups in the organisation.
Ruth Sessler Bernstein, Morgan Bulger, Paul Salipante & Judith Y. Weisinger. 2020. From Diversity to Inclusion to Equity: A Theory of Generative Interactions.