Do birds of a feather shop together? the effects on performance of employees' similarity with one another and with customers

Jonathan S. Leonard, David I. Levine, Aparna Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theories have suggested that employee diversity can affect business performance both as a result of customer preferences and through changes of relations within the workplace. We examine these theories with data from more than 700 retail stores employing over 70 000 individuals, matched to census data on the demographics of the community. While past theories predict that increasing the similarity between employees and customers will increase sales, we find no consistent relationship. The exception is that Asian employees appear to be most productive when many nearby residents are Asian immigrants who do not speak English. Diversity of gender and race within a store had no important effect on sales, while age diversity predicted lower sales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-754
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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