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Culture and Diversity at Work


Entry requirements

Only open to second year students that completed at least a Social and Organisational Psychology course or a similar course. For admission requirements, please contact the study advisor.


In this course we study the social psychological processes related to culture and diversity in work and organisations. Diversity and inclusion are important issues in today’s world, offering opportunities as well as posing major challenges for organisations and its employees at all levels. Increasing globalisation and the many forms of diversification have a growing impact on work outcomes, mobility, and wellbeing. Diversity is often associated with innovation, but research has shown ambiguous results for the impact of group composition on workgroup performance. One of the questions we will address is how to explain this. Other topics include, but are not limited to, strategies to enhance equality and inclusion, managing diversity, diversity training, the role of ethnic minorities, and gender inequality.

In the lectures and readings we examine classic and current theories and research on the impact of diversity on group processes, motivation and performance. We specifically pay attention to challenges in recruitment and selection, evaluation, leadership, and decision-making. We also discuss how stereotypes and prejudice can influence personnel decisions and career development; how group composition affects teamwork, and how motivation is impacted by group processes. The course is taught in English.

Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize and describe the key concepts and theories that are presented in the course;

  • Explain and/or recognize how these relate to each other;

  • Apply these concepts and theories to practical issues relevant to culture and diversity at work.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis. You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from July. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December.
The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC). First year Bachelor students as well as premaster students will be registered by the Student Service Center; they do not need to register themselves.

The registration period for all courses closes five calendar days before the start of the course.
Also read the complete registration procedure


Elective students have to enroll for each course separately. For admission requirements contact your study advisor.

Mode of instruction

8 2-hour lectures


Students will be examined on their knowledge and understanding of the material and their ability to apply the knowledge they have acquired in a final exam comprising multiple choice (70% of the grade) and open questions (30% of the grade). Open questions may be answered in English or in Dutch. The students will be examined on the readings and the information presented in the lectures. How and when an exam review will take place will be communicated on Brightspace after publication of the exam results.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these three policies.


Reading consists of articles and chapters made available via Brightspace. Typical examples are provided below. The final list and additional readings will be printed in the syllabus; changes may be announced in lecture and/or via Brightspace.

  • Berry, J. W. (2005). Acculturation: Living successfully in two cultures. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 29(6), 697-712.

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

  • 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.

  • Ellemers, N. (2014). Women at work: How organizational features impact career development. Policy Insights from Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1(1), 46–54.

  • Ely, R. J., & Thomas, D. A. (2001). Cultural diversity at work: The effects of diversity perspectives on work group processes and outcomes. Administrative Science Quarterly, 46(2), 229-273.

  • Fiske, S. T., & Lee T. L. (2008). Stereotypes and prejudice create workplace discrimination. In A. P. Brief (Ed.), Diversity at work (pp. 13–52). Cambridge University Press.

  • Gaertner, S. L., & Dovidio, J. F. (2005). Understanding and addressing contemporary racism: From aversive racism to the common ingroup identity model. Journal of Social Issues, 61(3), 615–639.

  • Gündemir, S., Martin, A. E., & Homan, A. C. (2019). Understanding diversity ideologies from the target’s perspective: A review and future directions. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 282.

  • Hornsey, M. J., & Hogg, M. A. (2000). Assimilation and diversity: An integrative model of subgroup relations. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4(2), 143-156.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Richard, N. T., & Wright, S. C. (2010). Advantaged group members’ reactions to tokenism. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 13(5), 559-569.

  • Roberge, M. É., & van Dick, R. (2010). Recognizing the benefits of diversity: When and how does diversity increase group performance? Human Resource Management Review, 20(4), 295–308.

  • 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.

  • Shore, L. M., Randel, A. E., Chung, B. G., Dean, M. A., Holcombe Ehrhart, K., & Singh, G. (2011). Inclusion and diversity in work groups: A review and model for future research. Journal of Management, 37(4), 1262–1289.

  • 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). Sage.

  • Van Knippenberg, D., De Dreu, C. K., & Homan, A. C. (2004). Work group diversity and group performance: An integrative model and research agenda. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(6), 1008–1022.

  • Van Knippenberg, D., & Schippers, M. C. (2007). Work group diversity. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 515–541.

  • 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.

Contact information

Dr. Niels van Doesum