The expected positive link between diversity management and organisational efficiency is often used as a reason for pursuing diversity management and equal employment opportunity programmes. However, this positive link is only supported to a limited degree by in-depth empirical research and therefore it is often based on normative expectations. Recent research has further indicated that the link between diversity and efficiency may be more complex and cannot a priori be taken for granted. This article argues that some theoretical rethinking of the issues is necessary and suggests that the combination of more theoretical cross fertilisation and in-depth research may be the way forward. Based on our own empirical research, barriers preventing a positive link between diversity and efficiency can come in different forms and our case studies illustrate situations where both containing and constraining patterns have to be overcome.
New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations, 2004, Vol 29, Issue 1, p. 89-103