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Managing diversity: does it matter to municipal governments?

Yongbeom Hur (Government and Justice Studies, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA)
Ruth Ann Strickland (Government and Justice Studies, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA)
Dragan Stefanovic (Government and Justice Studies, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 13 July 2010




This paper seeks to investigate how seriously diversity issues are considered by municipal governments in North Carolina and to identify specific diversity management practices (DMPs) that are adopted more often by municipalities. It also aims to examine whether the adoption levels of DMPs are influenced by demographic and economic factors and the various backgrounds of city managers.


Data about adopted DMPs and city managers' backgrounds were collected by surveying all municipalities in North Carolina with populations of at least 5,000 (response rate: 50 percent). An index was constructed to determine the adoption level of DMPs, and the cities were divided into four groups, based on their index scores (i.e. DMP scores). Analysis of variance and correlations were used to test the relationship between a number of factors and the index score.


A number of DMPs were identified as being more popular among municipalities that took diversity and its related issues more seriously, and other DMPs as being less popular among cities that did not pay particular attention to diversity. It was also found that the adoption level of DMPs was significantly affected by population size, the heterogeneity of population, urbanization level, and city manager's age.

Practical implications

The DMPs that were found suitable for each one of the four groups of cities can be used as a guide when cities in a particular group want to adopt more DMPs to support and encourage diversity at work. According to the findings, cities need to be more proactive in managing diversity by introducing appropriate DMPs when their demographics are changing substantially.


This is one of the first studies to identify the more popular DMPs among municipalities with different attention levels toward diversity and its related issues. The study also contributes to the construction of a comprehensive diversity management model that explains how cities respond to changing demographics.



Hur, Y., Strickland, R.A. and Stefanovic, D. (2010), "Managing diversity: does it matter to municipal governments?", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 500-515.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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