Diversity as a management strategy for organizations: A view through the lenses of chaos and quantum theories

Reuben R. McDaniel, Michelle E. Walls

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The unique contribution of this article is to examine the underlying nature of organizations to derive a logic for workforce diversity. When organizations are viewed from a Newtonian perspective in which elements behave in deterministic fashion and the managerial problems are command and control along with prediction and planning, diversity is seen as a barrier to managerial success On the other hand, when the natural world is seen and understood as quantum in nature and chaotic in its unfolding, then a diverse workforce is not something done because organizations are interested in doing the right things as captured in notions of justice or doing the required things as a response to environmental pressures. Rather, organizational diversity is an objective sought as a source of strategic advantage. When one observes an organization seeking a diverse workforce, one might well conclude that the organization is looking out for its own well-being. As managers come to understand this, organizations will seek diversity independently of questions about justice or responding to the environment. Rather, workplace diversity will be seen as a strategy for organizational health, and efforts to achieve a diverse workforce will be seen as acts of organizational selfishness. Because diverse organizations are better able to cope with complexity in relationships they face and because diverse organizations are better able to learn in ways that will enable them to cope with the unknowability of the world, diverse organizations will be more likely to survive and prosper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-375
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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