Nontarget support for diversity practices – A field experiment on the role of content and framing

Zoom Research Seminar / 5th Floor EE Lecture 2

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Past event — 30 November 2022

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Dr. Rouven Kanitz

Assistant Professor of Organisational Change

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

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As organizations actively promote diversity in their workforces, the practices they employ aim at specific underrepresented groups (e.g., women as a target group, with men as so-called nontargets). While typically welcomed by the target group, such diversity promoting efforts may be compromised by nontargets withholding their support. It remains unclear, however, how organizations can implement diversity-promoting practices to best preserve nontarget support. To address this oversight, we examine the interplay of diversity practice content (identity-conscious vs. blind) and leader framing (high vs. low vision of continuity). Specifically, we propose that framing the diversity practice under a vision of high (relative to low) continuity can alleviate the negative responses of nontargets to diversity practices that are identity-conscious (rather than identity-blind). We argue that this weakening effect occurs because visions of high continuity elevate nontargets’ perceived distributive justice, which in turn preserve support. Our study provides evidence in a 2x2 between-person field experiment in a firefighter organization in Germany using self-reported and consequential measures of diversity initiative support. We call for research that explores the interactive effects of framing and content to motivate diversity practice support.


Rouven Kanitz is an Assistant Professor of Organisational Change at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. He received his Ph.D. in Management from Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München. His research focuses on how to manage large-scale change processes in more effective and sustainable ways. One main research focus is the human side of change, for example how leaders can navigate change or how people respond to organizational change. Moreover, he examines how digital innovations provide new opportunities and risks for managing change and shape the future of change management. Before entering academia, Rouven worked in medical technology industry and as a consultant on change-related topics.



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Bärbel Wegener

Assistant to Resident Faculty