When more is better: The relationships between perceived deep-level similarity, perceived workplace ethnic diversity, and immigrants’ quality of coworker relationships

Marcus A. Valenzuela, Guowei Jian, Phillip M. Jolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine how organizational diversity may be associated with immigrants’ quality of coworker relationships. More specifically, this paper examines how immigrants’ perceived deep-level similarity and perceived workplace ethnic diversity may be associated with their quality of coworker relationships. Design/methodology/approach: A final sample of 347 immigrant employees were surveyed. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses. Findings: Immigrants’ quality of coworker relationships is positively associated with their perceived deep-level similarity with other coworkers. In addition, perceived workplace ethnic diversity moderates this relationship such that the relation is stronger as perceived workplace ethnic diversity increases. Research limitations/implications: The study and analyses are based on cross-sectional and single-source data and cannot determine causality. The study is also restricted to immigrants in the USA. Practical implications: Findings provide evidence that increased levels of ethnic diversity and deep-level similarity in the workplace may improve immigrants’ quality of relationships, helping them integrate more successfully in organizations. Thus, managers seeking to benefit from diversity should strive for the creation of truly multicultural organizations or workgroups and focus on fostering similarities in deep-level attributes to maximize their potential. Originality/value: Immigrants are an important asset for organizations, but research about their inclusion in organizations is limited, especially when examining their integration in their workplaces. This study addresses some of these limitations by looking at the effect of diversity in organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-524
Number of pages18
JournalEmployee Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 9 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial relations
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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