How does the organization accommodate the diversity of its workforce? Provide a summary and description of the overall diversity strategy/program/statement. If this is a big organization with multiple strategies and programs for diversity and inclusion, you can pick just one of these programs and focus your analysis on that.
Does the organization address racial and ethnic diversity, gender diversity, age diversity, physical ability diversity, LGBTQ+ diversity? How? What other diversity characteristics does the organization address? Provide examples
Does the organization have clear diversity strategies and goals? Or are they general statements that can not be easily verified?
Does the organization provide evidence of inclusion progress? Or does it focus on recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce?
2. You were hired by the organization to help make it an Inclusive Organization. Based on your finding in section 2 above, please make 2 suggestions to improve the diversity and inclusion plan of this organization. Be creative and reasonable. Justify your suggestions by using references and indicate the anticipated benefits of your suggested changes, new program/policies to their employees, families, the community, and the organization as a whole. Use at least 5 of the course readings to support your suggestions.
3. Summarize your analysis. Focus on the most important points.
Final Project Draft
From the options provided in the topic selection, I have chosen the United States Postal Service (USPS) for my final paper.
1. What are the main activities of this organization?
The United States Postal Service is an independent governmental agency that provides postal service in every nook and cranny of the United States. The main work of the organization is to deliver the mail safely, but the work of this organization isnt limited to just delivering the mail; instead, it has extended the services for social responsibility, business services, and government services. Under social responsibility, the postal service is committed to providing sustainability of service. The organization is investing in new technology and vehicles to provide effective and prompt service to society and its people. The environment has always been a concern area for USPS as it carries out environmental compliance reviews in different parts of the country and uses the gathered information for the betterment of its environmental activities. Not only this, but USPS also provides training and required information on the site to its employees. Other activities include helping find missing children. The organization has been involved in numerous community activities to enhance the community by educating and supporting in many fields, from helping to fundraise, organizing bone marrow donor programs, and also helping find missing children. They also conduct dog bite awareness weeks as almost 5,800 USPS employees were attacked by dogs in the year 2020. Similarly, USPS performs severalgovernment services, like providing tax forms, providing passport services, election mail, political mail, etc.
2. Where is it located? What geography does it serve?
The headquarters of the United States Postal Service is located in Washington, D.C., but the service of the organization doesnt end there. Currently, the organization runs almost 31,000 post offices in the United States and provides services to people nationwide. Therefore, the working area of USPS isnt limited to one specific geographical area.
3. What is the mission statement of the organization?
The mission statements of this organization are listed below:
a. To serve the American people and, through the universal service obligation, bind our nation together by maintaining and operating our unique, vital, and resilient infrastructure.
b. To provide trusted, safe and secure communications and services between our Government and the American people, businesses and their customers, and the American people with each other.
c. To serve all areas of the nation while making full use of evolving technologies.
4. Was it easy to find the diversity statement on the website? Was it located somewhere visible on the homepage, or did you have to dig for it?
I didnt have to dig more on the website as the diversity statement was found easily in the careers section of the organization. Although it was not visible on the homepage, it wasnt that difficult to search for. Under the careers section, I found the information related to diversity and inclusion in “Working at USPS.” The organization states diversity and inclusion as their main factors to success.
I have listed 10 readings that I intend to use in my final paper in the reference section.
Bourke, Smith, Stockton, & Wakefild (2014). From diversity to inclusion
Yadav & Lenka (2020). Diversity Management: A Systematic Review
French (2009). Employment laws and the public sector employer: Lessons to be learned from a review of lawsuits filed against local governments.
Saidel, & Loscocco (2005). Agency leaders, gendered institutions, and representative bureaucracy.
Selden & Selden (2001). Rethinking diversity in public organizations for the 21st century: Moving toward a multicultural model
DiMillo et al. (2021). Addressing race in the workplace: Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Roberts & Mayo (2019). Towards a racially just workplace.
Feeney & Camarena (2021). Gender, race, and diversity values among local government leaders.
Bishu & Headly (2020). Equal employment opportunity: Women bureaucrats in male-dominated professions.
McCary (2005). The disability twist in diversity: Best practices for integrating people with disabilities into the workforce.
Hossain et al. (2020). Do LGBT workplace diversity policies create value for firms? https://doi.org/10.1177/0734371X19865009
Review of Public Personnel Administration
2021, Vol. 41(1) 105 131
The Author(s) 2019
Article reuse guidelines:
Gender, Race, and Diversity
Values Among Local
Mary K. Feeney1 and Leonor Camarena1
Despite the increased emphasis placed on diversity and inclusion, there is relatively
little research that focuses on diversity values in small and medium-sized cities.
This research uses data from a 2016 nationally representative survey to investigate
how city department leaders perceptions of their organizations valuing diversity
are related to the identity of the department head, the mayor, and the community.
We find that women and people of color are underrepresented in city department
leadership. Reporting that ones organization values racial and gender diversity is
significantly related to respondent gender, respondent race (for women), mayoral
race (for women), and diversity in the community (for men), and that the interaction
of mayoral and community identity is related to perceived diversity values. We
conclude with a discussion of what these findings mean for diversity and inclusion in
practice in local government departments, which often lack demographic diversity.
diversity, gender, workplace culture, local government, values
In 2016, women accounted for 20% of mayors and 25.8% of department heads in
medium and small cities in the United States (e.g., populations 250,000-25,000); 17%
of mayors were people of color.1 Although women and people of color are generally
well integrated into the modern labor American workforce, they remain underrepre-
sented in higher level management. Organizations are the creation of the people they
1Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Mary K. Feeney, Professor and Lincoln Professor of Ethics in Public Affairs, Center for Science,
Technology & Environmental Policy Studies, Arizona State University, University Center, Suite 400,
411 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA.
865009ROPXXX10.1177/0734371X19865009Review of Public Personnel AdministrationFeeney and Camarena
106 Review of Public Personnel Administration 41(1)
embody (Hutchinson, 2011); thus, when organizations are led by homogeneous
groups, they are less likely to embody multiple values, perspectives, and diverse inter-
ests. In all levels of government, when the lower ranks of the civil service are made up
of women and people of color and men and White men dominate the upper levels,
equal opportunity to influence government is undermined (Wise, 1990). This is espe-
cially problematic in local government where federal hiring programs do not apply
and where government most closely interacts with the public.
A lack of diversity in leadership inevitably shapes the culture of the public sector
and its effective delivery of public services to diverse communities. Public organiza-
tions that lack diversity are more likely to undervalue inclusion and engage in actions
such as self-selection away from diversity in recruitment and discrimination in hiring
(Baekgaard & George, 2018). Demographic diversity in the upper levels of public
organizations leads to more progressive policies aimed at diversity and inclusion
through the organization; women and people of color in leadership serve as a model
for others aspiring to leadership (AbouAssi, Bauer, & Johnston, 2019; Riccucci, 2002).
Since the 1960s, affirmative action (AA) programs, Equal Employment Opportunity
(EEO) policies, and diversity management strategies have aimed to advance diversity
in government organizations (Pitts, 2009; Rosenbloom, 1977). Recently, there has
been an emerging focus on creating a climate that welcomes and appropriately man-
ages diversity (Bae, Sabharwal, Smith, & Berman, 2017; Gonzalez & Denisi, 2009;
Diversity research is loosely concentrated in three areas: inclusion and integration,
diversity policies and programs, and diversity effects (Pitts, 2006). Thomas (1990)
was the first to focus on the concept of valuing diversity, an intermediary between
the progression of AA and EEO programs and diversity management. Valuing diver-
sity in the workplace is often seen as an organizational focus that encourages employ-
ees to value diversity through bulletins, newsletters, workshops, and team building
(Pitts, 2006). Although legal mandates emphasize employing people of particular
identities, there is little research on the perceptions that government leaders have about
diversity norms and values. This research is motivated by the following research
Research Question 1: Do city department leaders perceive their organizations as
valuing gender and racial diversity?
Research Question 2: How are the characteristics and identity of the department
head, mayor, and community related to gender and racial diversity values?
Diversity is an important aspect of government organizations from two perspec-
tives: management and governance (Blessett, Alkadry, & Rubaii, 2013). Managing
diversity is important for administrators that work in diverse organizations. Research
finds when organizations manage diversity well, women report higher levels of job
satisfaction (Choi & Rainey, 2014) and organizations can increase productivity (Naff
& Kellough, 2003). Governance considers the interactions of administrators with
multiple stakeholders in different environments (Blessett et al., 2013)seeking to
Feeney and Camarena 107
govern for inclusion in a diverse work environment where different stakeholders have
distinct needs. Managing and governing diversity enhances organizational effective-
ness and organizational productivity and can provide organizations with a broad
range of ideas, skills, and insights (Cox, 1994; Ely, 2004; Wiersema & Bantel, 1992).
Organizations with a culture where managers are committed to diversity can increase
job satisfaction, innovative behavior, and work group performance (Moon, 2018;
The theory of representative bureaucracy argues diversity matters for leadership in
public agencies and that bureaucracy should reflect the diversity of its citizenry
(Kellough & Naff, 2004). Gender, racial, and ethnic diversity in bureaucracies are
expected to translate to policies and programs that target or benefit women and people
of color in the general population (Riccucci, Van Ryzin, & Lavena, 2014). Some gov-
ernment agencies have introduced diversity management programs to increase hetero-
geneity (Choi & Rainey, 2014; Wise & Tschirhart, 2000) and develop a climate and
culture that is committed to the inclusion of diverse individuals (Bae et al., 2017;
Oberfield, 2016). Although formal equal opportunity hiring programs have been in
effect for decades and there is a preponderance of evidence that representation matters
and a diverse climate is valuable for organizations (Gonzalez & Denisi, 2009), women
and people of color remain underrepresented in government leadership and little is
known about how local governments value diversity. For our purposes, diversity val-
ues are defined as a department administrators awareness that diversity is permitted
to flourish, broadly encompassing inclusion and integration, diversity policies and
programs, and diversity effects.
This research examines whether the social identity of city department leaders and
political leadership (e.g., mayors) is related to perceptions of diversity values in their
organizationsincluding the hiring and advancement of women and people of color.
We analyze how the gender and racial and ethnic identity of city department leaders,
mayors, and communities are related to diversity values in city departments. We use
data from a 2016 nationally representative survey of 500 small and medium-sized cit-
ies, U.S. Census data, and data collected from government websites. We describe the
proportion of women and people of color in municipal leadership positions across the
500 cities and contribute to the broader diversity research in government by illustrat-
ing how individual identity and representation are related to perceptions of diversity
values in municipal government. We conclude with a discussion of next steps to move
beyond counting demographics to assessing social identity, diversity values, and
Diversity and Social Identity
Public organizations, compared to private organizations, tend to have more diverse
employee populations in terms of race, sex, and age. Many suggest this is the result of
a commitment to increasing workforce diversity by recruiting, hiring, and retaining
employees with different backgrounds (Cornwell & Kellough, 1994; Foldy, 2004).
Although women and people of color have made gains in government employment in
108 Review of Public Personnel Administration 41(1)
the United States, there remain a host of discriminatory practices and biases (Riccucci,
2002). Despite broader organizational shifts in programs and policies committed to
diversity, recent research on a sample of U.S. federal employees indicates white men
are more likely to report a diversity climate while minority men and women indicate
their organizations are less committed to diversity (Oberfield, 2016).
Recruitment is a central focus across diversity management programs (Kellough &
Naff, 2004). Unfortunately, programs and efforts to recruit diverse individuals have
led to perceptions of reverse discrimination and are often viewed with disdain by
employees who feel threatened by them or feel that they are unfair (Pitts, 2006).
Riccucci (1997) found that many white male employees believe anything associated
with diversity is reverse discrimination. Thus, recruitment programs alone are insuf-
ficient at building a culture that values diversity. Valuing diversity requires individuals
to feel their identity is welcomed, safe, and acceptable in the organization.
According to social identity theory (SIT), people classify themselves and others into
social categories defined by organizational membership, religious affiliation, gender,
race, ethnicity, age cohort, and so on (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Social classification
enables an individual to locate or define themselves in the social environment (Ashforth
& Mael, 1989) and leads to varying perceptions of likeness and difference in social
identification. This identification can describe or reinforce structural barriers, for exam-
ple, women and people of color often face institutional and structural barriers to
advancement (Riccucci, 2002). Often these barriers relate to subtle assumptions, atti-
tudes, and stereotypes. Perceptions of differences in divisions of labor, racism, decades
of formal and informal discrimination, power relations, and cultural symbolism can
leave women and people of color in lower paying and lower status jobs (Connell, 2006;
Miller, Kerr, & Reid, 1999; Riccucci, 2002), which may affect their views of the orga-
nizations commitment to and valuing of diversity. These diversity valuesperceptions
of gender and racial diversityare linked to perspectives, attitudes, and experiences
that diverse individuals bring to government agencies. In the US, social identity and
classification often occurs by gender and race (Riccucci, 2002). For women, identity
can be specified as perceived similarity to other women, the perception of common fate
(i.e., a belief that women are treated similarly based on their group membership; Gurin
& Townsend, 1986). Similarly, race and ethnicity can be an identified commonality for
group status. Racial and ethnic identity can result in empowerment or marginalization,
access to or exclusion from power, and the development of individual and collective
perceptions, stereotypes, and identities (Ospina & Foldy, 2009).
The self-identification of an individual into a social group leads to perceptions of
in-group stereotypes and perceptions of out-group members that lead to out-group
stereotypes (Hogg, Terry, & White, 1995). Identifying with particular in-groups or out-
groups can lead to intergroup behavior that brings competitive and discriminatory
properties to the nature of group relations (Hogg et al., 1995). For example, high-status
group members will be motivated to preserve their dominance if they perceive it to be
legitimate (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Because men hold higher status in society, they
would, on average, be expected to exhibit positive attitudes and supportive behavior
toward other men, as members of their in-group, and treat women negatively as the
Feeney and Camarena 109
out-group (Tolbert, Graham, & Andrews, 1999). Similarly, as White people in the
United States have higher socioeconomic status, they will be more likely to support
in-group members and treat those in racial or ethnic out-groups negatively. Thus, self-
identification and perceptions of in- and out-group status in organizations are related
to perceptions of and efforts aimed at valuing diversity. We focus on two forms of
diversity values, gender and race and ethnicity.
We explore the relationship between the gender identity of city department heads and
their reports of their organizations diversity values. On one hand, research shows
that leadership values and styles in the public sector differ by gender and matter for
gendered outcomes (Feeney & Langer, 2016; Jacobson, Palus, & Cynthia, 2010;
Meier, Toole, & Goerdel, 2006). Female leaders are more inclusive and engage
broader participation (Weikart, Chen, Williams, & Hromic, 2007). Gender diversity
in government can increase organizational performance, perception of trust and fair-
ness, inclusion, job satisfaction, and lower turnover intention and empowerment for
women (AbouAssi et al., 2019; Andrews & Ashworth, 2015; Choi & Rainey, 2014;
Moynihan & Landuyt, 2008; Riccucci et al., 2014). Women report higher levels of
commitment to equal opportunity (Guy, 1993), and employees perceive that women-
led federal agencies outperform those run by men (DAgostino, 2015). It follows that
women can lead city departments toward a culture that values diversity and
On the other hand, given the low proportion of women in political and managerial
leadership in city government, women department heads might perceive themselves
and be perceived as the out-group and feel pressure not to engage in gendered leader-
ship. For example, Weikart and colleagues (2007) found female mayors were more
likely to report that they faced gender-based obstacles in their leadership roles, and
Guy (2016) reported that when women hold a minority of decision-making positions
within organizations it creates a cycle of problems associated with tokenism. Naff
(1995b) found that women who work in male-dominated agencies as compared to
those who work in female-dominated agencies are more likely to believe women are
discriminated against. A recent Pew survey found women in male-dominated work-
places are more likely to say their gender has made it harder for them to get ahead at
work, they are less likely to say women are treated fairly in personnel matters, and
they report experiencing gender discrimination at significantly higher rates (Funk &
Parker, 2018). Women in gender-balanced or majority-female workplaces report
higher levels of gender equity and lower levels of gender discrimination (Funk &
Parker, 2018; Naff, 1995b).
Thus, while female leaders may be strongly committed to diversity, they are also
more likely to have experienced bias and obstacles in their own advancement, poten-
tially making them more sensitive to and critical of the organizations commitment to
these issues. In addition, even in leadership positions, women remain the out-group in
these male-dominated organizations. Given this reasoning, the expectation is that
110 Review of Public Personnel Administration 41(1)
female leaders will report lower levels of diversity values in their organizations as
compared to their male counterparts.
Hypothesis 1 (H1): Female leaders, as compared to male leaders, will report lower
diversity values in their departments.
Race and Ethnicity
There is extensive evidence that people of color face substantial structural and institu-
tional barriers to advancement in the workforce, including lower pay, micro aggres-
sions, barriers to powerful networks, overt racism, discrimination, stereotyping, and
prejudice (Combs, 2003; Ferdman & Cortes, 1992; Holvino & Blake-Beard, 2004).
Governments have adopted numerous policies and programs aimed at eliminating dis-
crimination and promoting diversity hiring and retention (Rosenbloom, 1973;
Rosenbloom & Berry, 1978). One might expect that individuals who have benefited
directly from efforts and policies to reduce discrimination will be more sensitive to the
need for advancing diversity values.
Yet, people of color continue to be clustered at lower ranks in government organi-
zations and underrepresented in leadership positions (Sanchez-Hucles & Sanchez,
2007). Research notes that broad equitable employment for minorities in the public
sector is related to their representation on city councils, in key bureaucratic decision-
making positions (Sass & Mehay, 2003), and overall representation in the population
(Eisinger, 1982). This suggests that department heads might be in a key position to
advance diversity values.
The research on leadership and race and ethnicity presents a set of complex
findingsoften because of methodological limitations, differences across and between
racial and ethnic groups, and variation in the ways in which individuals and groups
characterize and respond to power differentials and opportunities for empowerment
(Ospina & Foldy, 2009). For example, Abney and Hutcheson (1981) found that fol-
lowing the election of a black mayor, identification with city government among
blacks increased. Fraga, Meier, and England (1986) concluded that Hispanic represen-
tation on school boards impacted Hispanic teacher employment and educational out-
comes. However, Cook and Glass (2014) concluded that minority leaders have a
limited effect on equitable policies, but their leadership combined with diverse boards
increases equitable practices.
Leader racial identity can drive outcomes for minority stakeholders and the public,
but does it affect culture and values? Oberfield (2016) examined perceptions of a
diversity climate among employees with diverse managers and found a negative rela-
tionship between minority representativeness of managers and diversity climate,
though White respondents primarily drove this relationship. Oberfield concluded
diversity in management is insufficient to create a positive diversity climate for out-
group members. We expect that as the out-group in predominately white organiza-
tions, leaders of color will be especially sensitive to the barriers they face (or have
Feeney and Camarena 111
faced) and the need for an increased focus on diversity values. Thus, they will report
lower diversity values in the organizations they lead.
Hypothesis 2 (H2): Leaders of color, as compared to White leaders, will report
lower diversity values in their departments.
Although demographic measures of social identity are useful for empirical purposes,
they should not be interpreted to suggest that gender, race, and ethnicity can be reduced
to simple variables. Public administration research on gender and racial diversity is
often criticized for a reliance on simple measures without a focus on intersectionality
(Sabharwal, Levine, & Agostino, 2018). Intersectionality refers to how multiple mar-
ginal and socially constructed identities converge within a single social group (Breslin,
Pandey, & Riccucci, 2017). Intersectionality interrogates the hierarchies and structures
that are in place that inform and produce categorical differences (MacKinnon, 2013).
Research on identity groups and intergroup theory notes that groups defined by com-
mon biology or historical and social experience, and some combination of the two can
result in different experiences in the workplace.
Organizational activities aimed at advancing intergroup relations and diversity val-
ues have different ramifications for each group and for those in intersecting groups
(Kossek & Zonia, 1993). Perceptions of diversity values and climate will be condi-
tioned by group membership and intergroup relationswhite women will experience
the organization differently than white men, blacks will experience the organization
differently than whites, and those at the intersection (black women) will have a differ-
ent reference for group membership than white women and black men. While white
women and racioethnic minority men and women are likely to hold similar views
about the dominance of white men, and be expected to cooperate against the status
quo, they do not necessarily value diversity efforts in the same way and there is the
possibility of intergroup competition within these groups (Alderfer, 1987). For exam-
ple, Kossek and Zonia (1993) found valuing diversity varies by gender, race, and the
interaction of the two. Mor Barak and colleagues (1998) found that compared to White
men, women and racial/ethnic minorities were more comfortable with and value diver-
sity in their organizations. There are positive, cooperative links between different
groups, though competition and rivalry is also present. Mor Barak and colleagues
(1998) concluded that men perceive organizational diversity more favorably than
women, possibly because they do not experience or participate in creating these barri-
ers. Similarly, whites perceived the organization as fair, while racial minorities reported
discrimination. Minorities were more comfortable with diversity than whites were.
They conclude that threats from diversity efforts for men as compared to women are
differently perceived than threats and opportunities across racial/ethnic groups (Mor
Barak et al., 1998) and that women of racial/ethnic minority groups felt more excluded
than those of one group.
112 Review of Public Personnel Administration 41(1)
Research is clear that group identity matters and that gender group identity is dif-
ferent from racial/ethnic group identity. For example, women of color experience the
collective perceptions and stereotypes of their racial identity intertwined with their
gender identityan intersection that is quite distinct from the experiences of men of
color, white women, or the summation of the two. Given previous research on inter-
sectionality, we expect that women of color in city government who experience the
out-group status of gender and race will report lower diversity values in their
Hypothesis 3 (H3): Female leaders of coloras compared to white men, white
women, and men of colorwill report lower diversity values in their departments.
The existence of a diverse bureaucracy can translate into benefits for the citizenry
without direct actions by bureaucrats (Gade & Wilkins, 2013; Riccucci, 2017). The
demographic characteristics of bureaucrats can passively produce political respon-
siveness and policy effectiveness that are favorable to the community (Fernandez,
Malatesta, & Smith, 2013; Fraga & Elis, 2009). In addition, public perceptions about
bureaucratic legitimacy can be positively affected when the identity of the bureaucrat
matches that of the clientele (Gade & Wilkins, 2013; Meier & Nicholson-Crotty, 2006;
Riccucci et al., 2014).
The public administration literature has reached a consensus that race and ethnicity
is perhaps the most important demographic characteristic for comparing bureaucratic
and public representation in the United States (Meier, 1975; Selden & Selden, 2001).
The distribution of tangible benefits and economic goods to minority communities can
be tied to that groups political power (Eisinger, 1982). For example, Hispanic repre-
sentation on school boards is a significant determinant of student performance (Fraga
et al., 1986), and the presence of a Latino or African American mayor is significantly
related to minority police officer employment (Zhao, He, & Lovrich, 2005).
The size of a minority population in a city is related to the proportion of representa-
tion that demographic group has in municipal workforces, and this representation
translates into outcomes for those racial and ethnic groups (Fraga & Elis, 2009; Fraga
et al., 1986; Stein, 1986; Zhao et al., 2005). Cities with larger African American popu-
lations have more minority city council members and mayors, which in turn increases
equitable hiring and promotion practices (Saltzstein, 1989; Walker & Bumphus, 1992).
Research finds Black political empowerment, measured by having a Black mayor, is a
consistent positive predictor of representation of Black police officers in U.S. cities
(Saltzstein, 1989; Sass & Mehay, 2003; Zhao et al., 2005). In sum, racially diverse
communities are more likely to have diverse political and bureaucratic representation
and increased political engagement from minority groups (Spence, McClerking, &
Brown, 2009). We expect that diversity values in the bureaucracy will be related to
heterogeneity in local communities. Specifically, managers working in more racially
Feeney and Camarena 113
and ethnically diverse communities will report increased diversity values in their
Hypothesis 4 (H4): Racially diverse communities will be positively related to
diversity values in city departments.
Leader gender, race, and ethnicity influence agency performance, citizen trust, and
political engagement. Differences in leadership are partially explained by self-catego-
rization, identity, in-group and out-group status, and social expectations. For example,
women in management roles tend to be more collaborative, and their presence has an
impact on policy outcomes and organizational performance (Meier et al., 2006).
Women city managers are more likely to include citizen input, facilitate communica-
tion, and encourage citizen involvement in their decision-making processes (Fox &
Women in political leadership can affect policy and bure