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A field experimental analysis of the impact of self-efficacy on diversity training effectiveness

Gwendolyn Marizett Combs, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The magnitude and scope of diversity training has steadily increased since the projections of major demographic shifts were reported in the late 1980's. The market place for worker talents and expertise now reflects a more pluralistic population inclusive of many cultures, different races, and differently-abled individuals. Organizations have responded to the need to effectively access this market by altering their posture towards diversity. ^ Diversity training has been the primary management tool used to affect change in individual and organizational response dimensions of diversity. Major objectives of most diversity training are to increase employee awareness, to reduce individual and group biases, and to propel the organization into a valuing and appreciating diversity posture. In spite of its regular and continued use many have voiced disappointment with and criticism about perceived diversity training effectiveness. This study posits that training effectiveness can be impacted by perceptions of diversity related self-efficacy. It was also suggested that diversity self-efficacy could be tentatively connected to performance. Corollary to this reasoning was that the content of diversity training should be structured to allow maximum integration of sources for building and strengthening diversity self-efficacy. ^ A field study was designed to implement awareness and self-efficacy enhanced training interventions. A split-plot design with repeated measures utilized analysis of variance (ANOVA) to determine findings from the data. Data was gathered from 276 participants employed with three organizations, representing three different industry sectors. A specific measurement instrument was developed to assess diversity self-efficacy perceptions. Factor analysis successfully produced the Diversity Self-Efficacy Scale to measure diversity self-efficacy. This outcome contributes greatly to the diversity literature where no evidence of a similar instrument is found. ^ The study concluded that diversity training does make a difference through its positive and significant effect on diversity self-efficacy perceptions. Additionally, positive significant correlations of diversity self-efficacy with intention difficulty and intention magnitude tentatively connect diversity efficaciousness with diversity performance. ^

Subject Area

Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Business Administration, Management|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Combs, Gwendolyn Marizett, "A field experimental analysis of the impact of self-efficacy on diversity training effectiveness" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9976983.