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Reframing the Business Case for Diversity: A Values and Virtues Perspective


  • Hans Dijk


  • Marloes Engen
  • Jaap Paauwe


We provide an ethical evaluation of the debate on managing diversity within teams and organizations between equality and business case scholars. Our core assertion is that equality and business case perspectives on diversity from an ethical reading appear stuck as they are based on two different moral perspectives that are difficult to reconcile with each other. More specifically, we point out how the arguments of equality scholars correspond with moral reasoning grounded in deontology, whereas the foundations of the business case perspective are crafted by utilitarian arguments. We show that the problems associated with each diversity perspective correspond with the traditional concerns with the two moral perspectives. To resolve this stalemate position, we argue that the equality versus business case debate needs to be approached from a third, less well-known moral perspective (i.e. virtue ethics). We posit that a focus on virtues can enhance equality by reducing prejudice and illustrate this by applying it to the HRM domains of recruitment and selection and of performance management. Subsequently, we argue that values are key to aligning virtues with each other and with corporate strategy, delineate our values and virtues perspective on diversity, and argue why and how it can enhance organizational performance. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Hans Dijk & Marloes Engen & Jaap Paauwe, 2012. "Reframing the Business Case for Diversity: A Values and Virtues Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 73-84, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:111:y:2012:i:1:p:73-84
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1434-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Syed, Jawad & Kramar, Robin, 2009. "Socially responsible diversity management," Journal of Management & Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(05), pages 639-651, November.
    2. den Hartog, D.N. & Boselie, J.P.P.E.F. & Paauwe, J., 2004. "Performance Management: A model and research agenda," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2004-068-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    3. Dewettinck, K., 2007. "Employee performance management systems in Belgian organisations: Purpose, contextual dependence and effectiveness," Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series 2007-31, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.
    4. Zeger van der Wal & Gjalt de Graaf & Alan Lawton, 2011. "Competing Values in Public Management," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 331-341, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tanja Rabl & María del Triana, 2014. "Organizational Value for Age Diversity and Potential Applicants’ Organizational Attraction: Individual Attitudes Matter," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 121(3), pages 403-417, May.
    2. repec:bla:gender:v:24:y:2017:i:5:p:533-546 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:bla:gender:v:24:y:2017:i:5:p:519-532 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:kap:jbuset:v:144:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2825-8 is not listed on IDEAS


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