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Diversity-related Employee Attitudes and Perceptions in Bangladesh: A Case Study on the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee

Thu, July 12, 12:00 to 12:45pm, Room, Hallway


Title: Diversity-related employee attitudes and perceptions in Bangladesh: A case study on the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC)

Introduction: Bangladesh is perceived as homogenous, often resulting in hidden discrimination for those considered to belong to minority groups. Little research has been conducted on the characteristics of diversity as predictors of work attitude and behavior in relation to organizational commitment and job performance in Bangladesh.

Literature Review: Studies linking demographic differences and individual attitudes and behavior have largely been based on three theoretical frameworks: the similarity-attraction paradigm, the self-categorization theory, and the social identity theory. Mor Barak’s (2000) theoretical model of inclusion posed that diversity and organizational culture contribute to perceptions of inclusion/exclusion. Evidence consistently suggests that fair treatment is associated with favorable work attitudes and higher job performance and affects various work-related outcomes (Chang, 2002). In some studies, demographic factors have been associated with organizational commitment (Abdulla & Shaw, 1999), while relationship between diversity and job performance may vary depending on the dimension of diversity and organizational context (Ely, 2004).

Method: The purpose of this study is to explore employees’ perceptions and work attitudes and how these relate to organizational commitment and job performance. A phenomenological research strategy was used to understand the unique culture of Bangladesh and workplace diversity at BRAC. Data was collected through in-depth interviews with BRAC employees currently working in the head office, using a purposive, convenient sampling method.

Result: Study found that the employees of BRAC enjoying favorable working environment, adequate logistical support, supportive and appropriate supervision, co-operative and helpful coworkers, consideration of personal problems, a gender-sensitive working environment, childcare and transportation facilities, a space to express their opinions to authorities, a balanced power relationship between supervisors and employees, opportunities for skill development, and facilities for physically challenged individuals. Qualitative findings also demonstrated unfair treatment between male and female employees with longer organizational tenure, negative factors include job insecurity, dissatisfaction with salary grades and gaps, promotions, and issues pertaining to disabilities, ethnicity, and supervisors’ evaluations.

Discussion and conclusion: It may be concluded that while the context of diversity and its characteristics differ from one culture to another, individual perceptions of inclusion and fairness are significantly affected by inclusion in the majority or minority group in the Bangladeshi organization BRAC. The findings of this study have important implications. Implication is needed at policy level within the organization and also at national level.

Abdulla, M. H., & Shaw, J. D. (1999). Personal factors and organizational commitment: Main and interactive effects in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Managerial Issues, 11(1), 77–93.
Chang, E. (2002). Distributive justice and organizational commitment revisited: Moderation by layoff in the case of Korean employees. Human Resource Management, 41, 261–270.
Ely, R. J. (2004). A field study of group diversity, participation in diversity education programs, and performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25, 755–780.
Mor Barak, M. E. (2000). Beyond affirmative action: Toward a model of diversity and organizational inclusion. Administration in Social Work, 23(3–4), 47– 68.