Use of Flexible Work Arrangements by Race and Ethnicity: Examining the Mediating Role of Organizational Diversity Climate Perceptions

Imani S. Owens, Walden University

Abstract

This study investigated whether women of color faced additional challenges in using flexible work arrangements (FWAs) when workplaces lacked an affirming diversity climate. Researchers found that use of FWAs was associated with organizational climate, race was correlated with diversity climate perception, and diversity climate perceptions were associated with organizational outcomes such as job satisfaction and retention. Limited empirical evidence existed that demonstrated that race/ethnicity predicted use of FWAs or that diversity climate mediated this relationship. This quasi-experimental study examined the hypotheses that (a) race/ethnicity predicted diversity climate perceptions, (b) race/ethnicity predicted use of FWAs, and (c) diversity climate mediated the relationship between race/ethnicity and use of FWAs. This approach addressed the problem of limited empirical evidence to support claims that lack of affirming diversity climate contributed to fewer racial/ethnic minorities using FWAs. A sample of women in professional labor industries was recruited using LinkedIn.com and an online university's research participant pool (N=114); these participants completed an anonymous, online survey. Regression results indicated that race/ethnicity predicted diversity climate perceptions of inclusive climate and equal access; race/ethnicity did not predict diversity climate perceptions of identity freedom. Hierarchical multiple regression results indicated that race/ethnicity did not predict use of FWAs, nor did diversity climate mediate this relationship. When used to create wellness programming, including FWAs, these findings could spur positive social change by creating sustainable work environments where employees feel their racial/ethnic identity is affirmed.