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Looking beyond workforce diversity: Towards a theory of workplace complexity

conference contribution
posted on 22.08.2018, 00:00 by P Sharma, T Cotton, A Warren, Peter HosiePeter Hosie, RPJ Kingshott
Decades of inbound immigration and affirmative government policies have led to a rise in cultural and demographic diversity in both public and private organisations, however there is still no consensus about how these affect organisational performance. Moreover, with rapid advancements in technology and changes in human resource management practices, modern workplaces have become more complex and dynamic than ever before, making it even more difficult to identify and manage factors that influence individual, group and organisation- level performance. In this paper, we respond to these developments by arguing that we need to look beyond workforce diversity and acknowledge workplace complexity as the new frontier in organisation behaviour and human resources management research. Specifically, we introduce a multi-dimensional workplace complexity construct based on a preliminary review of diversity and workplace literatures, and we propose to validate this construct with Australian Public Service Commission’s (APSC) State of the Service Census data, as briefly described in this paper. This research would help both academic researchers and managers understand the importance of workplace complexity and gain useful insights into its underlying dimensions as well as its antecedents and outcomes.


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Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


British Academy of Management

Place of Publication

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Curtin University; University of New South Wales

Era Eligible


Name of Conference

British Academy of Management (BAM 2016)