The influence of diversity management initiatives on firm-level diversity: evidence from the restaurant and foodservice industry

J. Bruce Tracey, Vinh Le, David W. Brannon, Sue Crystal-Mansour, Maria Golubovskaya, Richard N.S. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this study is to extend the findings from a very limited number of studies that have focused on the potential antecedents of firm diversity. Specifically, the authors examined the extent to which a set of firm-level diversity management initiatives, which included diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) policies and oversight structures, senior leader values and utility perceptions about DE&I and DE&I dissemination strategies, may be related to firm-level reported diversity – overall, and that which is specific to gender, ethnicity, race and disability.

The data for this study were gathered from a national sample of 200 US restaurant and foodservice companies during the third quarter of 2021 by an independent data collection firm.

After controlling for firm size, age, ownership structure and chain affiliation, the results from a series of regression analyses showed that formal diversity management policies and procedures (e.g. policies beyond those legally mandated), structural oversight of diversity management initiatives (e.g. designated diversity leader) and beliefs among senior leaders regarding the utility of diversity management initiatives, were positively related to firm-level diversity. There were also several notable differences in the significance of the findings across the four diversity groups, indicating support for a contingency explanation.

There are two unique contributions to this study. First, by considering a more support-based (vs compliance and control) approach to managing DE&I that is authenticated by senior leadership’s beliefs about the utility of DE&I, the findings advance the understanding of the nature and scope of diversity management initiatives that may influence firm-level diversity – in general, as well as that which may be specific to restaurant and foodservice settings. Additionally, the findings offer industry-specific insights regarding the extent and relevance of DE&I policies and practices that have been adopted by restaurants and foodservice organizations and prescriptive guidance for future inquiry on this topic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4010-4030
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number11
Early online date5 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes

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