International Journal of Applied Management and Technology




In diverse societies such as South Africa, organizations continue to face inclusion challenges when implementing change. This study proposes a different method and new dimension of diversity management within the cognitive diversity construct, namely human niche theory, to tackle the diversity dilemma of exclusivity. The research question asked whether human niche theory, as a defined concept within cognitive diversity, could be utilized by managers to enable inclusion and promote sustainable organizational change implementation. Conceptually, this paper relates human niche theory to seven themes in the change process, namely, communication, training, motivation, resources, control, monitoring, and feedback. An exploratory single case study in a multicultural South African automotive organization that implemented a company-wide technology change project was used as a unit of analysis. The single case study revealed a new understanding of change implementation processes using the human niche theoretical framework related to radical technological change implementation. Data collection included in-depth interviews, focus group sessions, solicited company data, field notes, and observations. Content and comparative data analysis were used to present findings. This research showed that managers’ awareness of human niche theory in terms of cognitive diversity could assist in managing diversity, enabling inclusion, and change effectiveness in the organization, while minimizing emotional exclusion.