Differences in diversity conceptualizations and the relationship between diversity climate, belongingness, and turnover in US manufacturing

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Turnover rates have ballooned in recent years in manufacturing as power dynamics have shifted from organization to worker; Employees been rethinking their relationships with work - focusing more on quality of life and feelings of belongingness. At the same time, organizations have increased efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion and although this appears to align with the shifting focus of today’s workers, research has found mixed outcomes of these efforts. However, much research has excluded manufacturing and those that do include blue-collar workers tend to define diversity based on gender, age, or categorical race alone. Using a sample of 2,319 United States manufacturing workers, the current study examines the impact of categorical race and racial dissimilarity on perceptions of diversity climate, feelings of belonging, and turnover. Using survey responses and organizational turnover data, results revealed that belongingness mediates the relationship between turnover and both categorical race and racial dissimilarity, though in a direction contrary to prior literature. Additional analyses suggest that feelings of belongingness differ for employees of the same categorical race at varying levels of racial dissimilarity, and that perceptions of diversity climate by same-race employees differ depending on the racial majority at the plant. Combined, results suggest that conceptualizations of diversity should go beyond broad categorizations and account for proximal workplace context.

Manufacturing, Turnover, Diversity Climate, Belongingness, Inclusion