Diversity in New Zealand organisations : a case study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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Workplace diversity has become a hot topic in organisations worldwide. Although many organisations have expressed a commitment to diversity, the trade-off between the positive and negative outcomes of diverse workgroups are creating challenges for organisations to manage. As a result, very little progress has been made in terms of actual hiring of under- represented groups. In New Zealand, the higher unemployment rates for those identifying as Māori and Asian, and the under-representation of women in male-dominated occupations, are major considerations for organisations striving to achieve diversity in their workgroups. Names presented on resumes have been showed to act as cues to the ethnicity and gender of the candidate, which trigger cognitive processes such as social categorisation, stereotypes, and biases. This study aims to explore the cognitive processes that can affect selection decisions during resume screening and whether these effects are related to participants’ perceived diversity outcomes; whether they perceive diversity as beneficial or threatening to workgroup outcomes. A total of 233 participants from a New Zealand organisation completed an online hypothetical resume screening task asking them to select 4 candidates from a list of 12, who varied in gender, ethnicity, and level of experience. Participants completed 3 separate assessment types: competence, social fit, and interview shortlist. Following on from this task, participants indicated their agreement with a series of sentences designed to measure their perceptions regarding cultural and gender diversity outcomes in the workplace, before providing their demographic information. The findings indicated that biases and stereotypes are still likely to exist during selection decisions, in much subtler forms. Māori and Asian candidates are disadvantaged compared to equally qualified NZ/European candidates, and men are likely to perceive less benefits and more threats from diversity than women. Greater perceived benefits from diversity did influence the preference for diversity when selecting candidates. These findings have significant implications at an individual, organisational and societal level, and those tasked with hiring need to be aware of the processes that can influence selection during resume screening.
Diversity in the workplace, New Zealand, Employee selection, Minorities, Employment, Women, Résumés (Employment)