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Levels and dimensions of diversity in small businesses: contributions for performance

Carla Curado (ADVANCE/CSG, Department of Management, ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)
Silvio H.T. Tai (PUCRS, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Mírian Oliveira (PUCRS, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Joaquim Miranda Sarmento (ADVANCE/CSG, Department of Management, ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 5 May 2021

249

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to propose and test a model on the impact of diversity over performance using a Portuguese national wide comprehensively matched employee–employer dataset of small businesses.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses structural equation modeling to analyze the relationships between variables. The study addresses the impact of top managers and employees' diversity on firm performance considering two dimensions of diversity: knowledge diversity and social diversity.

Findings

The study provides a clear understanding of how workforce diversity affects performance differently at the two hierarchical levels. Both employees' diversities have stronger relations to performance than the diversity of top managers. Results point out to idiosyncratic aspects of services firms' dynamics that should be further explored.

Research limitations/implications

The study presents some limitations, since it uses data from a single country and the dataset provides limited variables.

Practical implications

The study offers evidence on the effects of diversity in small businesses alerting managers to acknowledge such influence when recruiting, selecting and training. With regard to services firms, managers should pay close attention to negative impacts of diversity over performance.

Originality/value

Never before to the authors' knowledge the managers' level diversity and employees' level diversity (considering two dimensions each) effect on performance have been addressed in a single national wide study.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the support provided by FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia - Portugal) under the project UIDB/04521/2020, Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) – Brazil, finance code 001 and CNPq (Brazil).

Citation

Curado, C., Tai, S.H.T., Oliveira, M. and Sarmento, J.M. (2021), "Levels and dimensions of diversity in small businesses: contributions for performance", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-12-2020-0628

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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