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Culture and Diversity at Work


Admission requirements

Both the ‘propedeuse’ and the bachelor course ‘Groepsdynamica’ (Group dynamics) are required. For information, please contact one of the student counsellors of Psychology


The aim of this course is to give students insight into the social psychological processes that play a role in the field of work and organisations with regard to culture and diversity. The world of people in organizations has changed dramatically in past years as more ethnic minorities are entering the labour force and as women are moving into traditionally male-dominated fields and into higher managerial positions. Organisations are also increasingly operating on a global scale, managing workforces consisting of many nationalities and in different countries. In the coming decades this diversity is expected to grow as these processes continue.

This course provides insight into classic and current theories and research regarding the impact of diversity on group processes, motivation and performance. It pays particular attention to the challenges that are presented by a diverse labour force in recruitment and selection, evaluation, leadership, and decision-making. It also addresses how stereotypes and prejudice can influence personnel decisions and career development; how group composition affects team work and how motivation is impacted by group processes.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will be expected to understand the key concepts and theories presented in the course and their relationship to each other, and are expected to be able to apply these to issues relevant to culture and diversity at work.


Culture and Diversity at Work (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of a series of six lectures.

Assessment method

Students’ understanding and ability to apply the knowledge acquired in class will be tested in a 40-item multiple choice exam. The information presented in lectures will be part of the exam material.


Information on

  • The syllabus for this course.

  • The class literature.

  • Sheets for each lecture (available just before each lecture commences).

  • A document with links and descriptions of websites where you can find more information and documents relevant to Culture and Diversity at Work.

  • A document with referrals to literature relevant to Culture and Diversity at Work.

Reading list

The reading consists of articles and chapters (typical examples below – readings available via ‘Blackboard’)

  • Kulik, C. T., & Roberson, L. (2008). Diversity initiative effectiveness: What organizations can (and cannot) expect from diversity recruitment, diversity training, and formal mentoring programs. In A. P. Brief (Ed.), Diversity at work (pp. 265-317): Cambridge University Press.

  • Van den Brink, M. (2011). Scouting for talent: Appointment practices of women professors in academic medicine. Social Science & Medicine, 72(12), 2033-2040.

  • Stephan, W. G., & Stephan, C. W. (2001). Diversity initiatives in the workplace. In W. G. Stephan & C. W. Stephan (Eds.), Improving intergroup relations (pp. 75-101). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  • Kanter, R. M. (1976). The impact of hierarchical structures on the work behavior of women and men. Social Problems, 23(4), 415-427.

  • Eccles, J. (2009). Who am I and what am I going to do with my life? Personal and collective identities as motivators of action. Educational Psychologist, 44(2), 78-89.

  • White, J. B. (2008). Fail or flourish? Cognitive appraisal moderates the effect of solo status on performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(9), 1171-1184.

  • Seegars, L. (2007, February 23). Being the token: One person cannot represent an entire race. Harvard Crimson,

  • O’Brien, L. T., Major, B. N., & Gilbert, P. N. (2012). Gender differences in entitlement: The role of system-justifying beliefs. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 34(2), 136-145.

  • Wright, S.C. (2001). Restricted intergroup boundaries: Tokenism, ambiguity, and the tolerance of injustice. In J. T. Jost & B. Major (Eds.), _The psychology of legitimacy: Emerging perspectives on ideology, justice, and intergroup relations _(pp. 223-250). New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (2007). Sex discrimination: The psychological approach. In F. J. Crosby, M. S. Stockdale & S. A. Ropp (Eds.), Sex discrimination in the workplace: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 155-187). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

  • Schmitt, M. T., Ellemers, N., & Branscombe, N. R. (2003). Perceiving and responding to gender discrimination in organizations. In S. A. Haslam & D. Van Knippenberg & M. J. Platow & N. Ellemers (Eds.), Social identity at work: Developing theory for organizational practice (pp. 277-292). New York: Psychology Press.

  • Brewer, M. B. (1995). Managing diversity: The role of social identities. In S.E. Jackson & M. N. Ruderman (Eds.), _Diversity in work teams: Research paradigms for a changing workplace _(pp. 47-68). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

  • Schofield, J. W. (2007). The colorblind perspective in school: Causes and consequences. In J. A. Banks & C. A. McGee-Banks (Eds.), Multicultural education (6th ed.) (pp. 271-295), New York: John Wiley.

  • Ely, R. J., & Thomas, D. A. (2007). Cultural diversity at work: The effects of diversity perspectives on work group processes and outcomes. In A. S. Wharton (Ed.), The sociology of organizations: An anthology of contemporary theory and research (pp. 290-315). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

  • Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. L., & Bachman, B. A. (2001). Racial bias in organizations: The role of group processes in its causes and cures. In M. E. Turner (Ed.), Groups at work: Theory and research (pp. 415-439). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

  • Wasserman, I. C., Gallegos, P. V., & Ferdman, B. M. (2008). Dancing with resistance: Leadership challenges in fostering a culture of inclusion. In K. M. Thomas (Ed.), Diversity resistance in organizations (pp. 175-200). New York: Taylor & Francis /Lawrence Erlbaum

  • Eagly, A. H., & Karau, S. J. (2002). Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders._ Psychological Review_, 109(3), 573-598.

  • Ryan, M. K., & Haslam, S. A. (2007). The glass cliff: Exploring the dynamics surrounding the appointment of women to precarious leadership positions. Academy of Management Review, 32(2), 549-572.

  • Berry, J. W. (1997). Individual and group relations in plural societies. In C. S. Granrose & S. Oskamp (Eds.), Cross-cultural work groups: Claremont symposium on applied social psychology (pp. 17-33). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Electives students

You have to enroll for each course separately. Read more on the electives (in Dutch) or international students contact the study adviser mrs D. de Groot..

Exam registration

Registration for the (re)exam is not automatic. Students, who have not registered cannot participate in the (re)exam

Contact information

Dr. Colette van Laar
Room 2A28
Tel.: +31 (0)71 527 3923