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Defining diversity: the evolution of diversity

Camille Kapoor (C.N. Hilton College, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




The Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute (Hidi) has put together a review of diversity research that looks at the entrance of diversity into the management conversation, how it compares and contrasts with affirmative action, the transformation of diversity into a broad based and inclusive concept, and some concerns with a broad diversity definition. This paper aims to address these issues.


The methodology includes qualitative archival research which has been done to establish the review. The design of the paper flows through the entrance of diversity to an inclusion of diversity today, with a concern on a broad definition of diversity.


The research has led the author to affirm The Diversity Task Force's 2001 definition of diversity, whereby diversity includes “all characteristics and experiences that define each of us as individuals” (Diversity Task Force, 2001).

Research limitations/implications

Hidi wishes to be mindful of a broad definition of diversity and emphasizes the importance of recognizing that individuals with primary dimensions may have very different secondary dimensions. Research has been limited to pre‐existing articles. Further research could include broad‐based diversity initiatives, the differences of diversity at a cultural level, and dimensions in diversity that are relevant to the workplace.


The originality of this paper stems from its attempt to define the broad concept of diversity as it has evolved. In all industries, valuing all of the components of an individual is crucial to an organization's success. This paper's value is in providing information to help those organizations, specifically the hospitality industry, and society better understand diversity.



Kapoor, C. (2011), "Defining diversity: the evolution of diversity", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 284-293.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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