|New Zealand boasts a wide range of vibrant and contrasting cultures within the workplace. This level of cultural diversity within New Zealand is set to increase substantially over the next 15 years. This increase has already created a need for researchers and human resource managers to understand the importance and benefits of diversity within the workplace. However, recent research has found that the ‘apparent benefits’ of traditional diversity management cannot be fulfilled unless individuals feel included within the organisation.
Inclusion is defined as “the degree to which an employee perceives that he or she is an esteemed member of the work group through experiencing treatment that satisfies his or her needs for belongingness and uniqueness” (Shore, Randel, Chung, Dean, Ehrhart & Singh, 2011, p. 1265). Despite a realisation that inclusion may be the future of managing diverse workplaces, the literature on inclusion is under developed and lacks empirical testing. The main contribution and focus of this thesis centres on cultural inclusion in the workplace. A secondary focus is on the benefits of other types of support, from various sources (e.g., organisation, supervisor, and family), within New Zealand’s rich cultural context.
This PhD has been undertaken by publication. Thus, the majority of its chapters are stand-alone (although related) journal articles. Many of the journal articles within this thesis are either under review, or published/in press, and this is signalled at the start of each chapter. Chapters one and two overview the thesis and discuss the research methods used within this PhD by publication. The first journal article (chapter three) details the cultural context of New Zealand and the importance of managing diversity and including all employees. The second journal article (chapter four) focuses on the importance that Māori culture, collectivism and language has in the workplace for Māori well-being. Findings were based on a sample of Māori employees, with the results highlighting the importance of collectivism and cultural identity for Māori employees towards achieving greater well-being. These two published articles build the foundation for the next three journal articles, which discuss the importance of cultural inclusion in the workplace.
In an endeavour to test the inclusiveness of organisations’ support for cultural values and beliefs, this thesis offers a new measure of perceived cultural inclusion (PCI). The PCI measure is based on perceived organisational support (POS) owing to the parallels between inclusion and POS. POS is also a strong and reliable predictor of employee outcomes. Data was collected from two culturally distinct groups (i.e., Māori n=349 and New Zealand Europeans n=144) within New Zealand. Findings showed that PCI predicted POS, which in turn predicted job outcomes (i.e., job satisfaction, career satisfaction, organisational commitment, turnover intentions) and mental health outcomes (anxiety and depression) for both Māori and New Zealand Europeans (refer to chapters five and six). This thesis also investigated the effects of PCI to POS to work-family related outcomes on the sample of Māori employees, and findings suggested that PCI would predict POS, which would in turn predict work-family related outcomes in the expected direction (refer to chapter seven). These three chapters provide strong empirical evidence for POS mediating the influence of PCI on numerous employee outcomes.
The literature has also highlighted the importance of supervisor and family support when predicting job and well-being outcomes. The effects that supervisor support for work-family issues and whānau (extended family) support have on job outcomes (chapter eight) and well-being outcomes (chapter nine) for Māori employees were also investigated. Findings from two Māori samples (N=260 and N=466) emphasised the importance that both supervisor and whānau support have on job satisfaction, turnover intentions, life satisfaction, cultural identity, health and well-being (see chapters eight and nine for more details).
Overall, this thesis draws findings from both New Zealand European and Māori employee samples to provide evidence that supporting and understanding cultural values is highly important for job and well-being outcomes. These findings have many theoretical and managerial implications. The following chapters discuss in-depth, relevant theories, literature, methods and conclusions that form this thesis.