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Diversity management research in hospitality and tourism: past, present and future

Valentini Kalargyrou (Department of Hospitality Management, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA)
Wanda Costen (Department of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 9 January 2017




The purpose of this paper is to present a review of diversity management research published in hospitality and tourism-specific and business discipline-based journals. The study objectives include attempting to assess the progress of diversity management research in hospitality and tourism, identifying gaps between the general business diversity management literature and the hospitality and tourism literature and providing hospitality and tourism scholars with suggestions to advance knowledge in diversity management.


The study is a critical review of the existing diversity management literature in the general business and hospitality and tourism disciplines in an attempt to identify gaps and make suggestions for expanding this knowledge in the hospitality and tourism fields.


There are significant gaps between the diversity management scholarship conducted in hospitality and tourism disciplines and the general business field. Diversity management research in general business is far more in-depth and uses sociological and social psychological theoretical frameworks.

Research limitations/implications

There are lessons to be learned from the general business literature that uses strong theoretical foundations deeply grounded in sociological, psychological, social-psychological and management theories. The general management literature also explores the conditions under which diversity management adds value or creates challenges for organizations.

Practical implications

The hospitality and tourism industry has employed large numbers of ethnic minorities, women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for decades. As such, it is critical that scholars explore the implications of such a diverse workforce not only on organizational outcomes, but also on individual and group performance. The general business diversity management research suggests that workgroup composition can influence individual and group performance, as well as the quality of co-worker relationships. Given the team-oriented, interdependent nature of work in the hospitality and tourism industry, it is imperative that researchers conduct studies that help practitioners understand the most effective perspectives and approaches to diversity management.

Social implications

The critical literature review demonstrated that there is extremely scarce research on diversity management focusing on employees with disabilities. It is imperative to shed more light on best diversity management practices, workplace etiquette of this under-represented group of employees and their interaction with their co-workers.


This study’s results provide insight into areas of exploration that can significantly enhance the scholarship on diversity management in the hospitality and tourism literature.



Kalargyrou, V. and Costen, W. (2017), "Diversity management research in hospitality and tourism: past, present and future", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 68-114.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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