Exploring the influence of CEO and chief diversity officers' relational demography on organizational diversity management

Publication Date




Drawing on the relational demography literature and a social identity perspective, several research propositions in which the authors postulate that demographic characteristics (e.g. gender and race) of senior leaders will influence the implementation and effectiveness of diversity management practices were presented. Specifically, the authors focus on the Chief Executive Officer/Chief Diversity Officer (CEO/CDO) dyad and explore independent and joint effects of CEO and CDO majority–minority group status on workplace diversity outcomes, outlining key identity-based and relational moderators (e.g. value threat, relational identity and leader–member exchange) of these relationships.


The literature on relational demography and leader–member exchange to develop propositions for future research was integrated.


This is a conceptual paper. There is no empirical data reported testing the propositions.

Research limitations/implications

The authors extended theory and research on relational demography by focusing on senior leaders in the organization and proposing that the influence of CEO and CDO demographic characteristics on the enactment of diversity practices may be contingent on key identity-based and relational processes.


The authors are not aware of any studies investigating how personal characteristics and relational processes relating to the CEO and CDO may influence the implementation and effectiveness of workplace diversity management practices. In a similar vein, the authors contribute to the research literatures on relational demography and social identity by extending the application of these theories to senior leaders in organizations and in relation to the work of CEOs and CDOs.


Management Decision


College of Management



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