Date of Award

August 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Management Science

First Advisor

Hong Ren

Committee Members

Margaret Shaffer, Romila Singh, Xiaojing Yang


Diversity, Positive Organizational Behavior, Relational Demography, Teams


Workplace diversity is an incessant notion in today’s world. Scholars have examined different aspects of diversity (e.g. demographic, cultural, and informational) in context of varying processes and outcomes (e.g. satisfaction, innovation, creativity, and performance). Diversity has been proposed as a double-edged sword, but the overall effects of diversity have been inconclusive, necessitating the investigation of more contextual variables. Efforts have been made to focus on this paucity of diversity research, however, the emphasis has been on objective variables and the positive characteristics of an individual or a team are neglected.

Thus, the purpose of this three-essay dissertation is to address this gap by integrating the positive organizational behavior theme with the diversity literature. I aim to amalgamate positive psychology components in the diversity-performance relation and identify its fruitful effects. As a foundational step, the first essay offers insights on the extant patterns and research trends of diversity research at two levels – individual and team. In this comprehensive literature review, I analyze different variables used to investigate effects of both, relational demography and diversity, on performance. The study highlights theoretical underpinnings, distinguishes the analytical approaches, and offers guidelines for future research.

In Essay 2, I theorize a multi-level model highlighting the direct and interaction effects of relational demography and positive psychology traits on individual outcomes. I propose that the detrimental effects of surface- and deep-level diversity on individual team members will be alleviated by the positive effects such as cultural intelligence and psychological empowerment at the individual-level and empowerment and psychological capital at the team-level. A longitudinal investigation of more than 480 participants constituting 139 teams at two major research universities provides evidence for the interesting effects of these positive traits. Results demonstrate that cultural quotient of an individual has a positive significant interaction effect on psychological empowerment and intrinsic motivation. Also, the level of psychological empowerment has a direct positive effect on the sense of thriving at work.

In a similar setting, in Essay 3 a team-level model is proposed to identify the effect of surface- and deep-level diversity with social integration and team learning. I investigate the interaction effects of collective psychological capital, team goal orientation, and team empowerment. Further, the direct effect of psychological capital and team processes on team performance is also analyzed. Findings from this study suggest that team goal orientation acts as a positive moderator for both social integration and team learning behavior. Likewise, team psychological capital has a positive interaction effect on the two team processes.

Overall, this dissertation highlights the importance of considering the positive psychological capacities of individuals to overcome diversity-related challenges. This research makes a critical contribution by including the unexplored positive psychological traits in the diversity literature and illustrating its virtues. Findings from the studies generate several fruitful implications for theory and practice. Future research directions are suggested.