Many organizations have made an effort to hire diverse applicants. A diverse workforce can be seen as a competitive advantage because organizations that feature a representative workforce are often viewed positively by consumers (Richard & Kirby, 1998). To achieve this goal, some organizations have implemented diversity programmes to influence both hiring and promoting procedures. While these programmes can be beneficial in expanding diversity of employees in organizations, endorsing diversity for the sake of appearances can backfire. The justice literature can inform the success or failure of programmes such as these. Diversity programmes not only should have distributive justice components, but also should address procedural justice. Applicants react poorly to diversity programmes when there is no explanation for why the organization has implemented the programme. Richard and Kirby (1998) found that without procedural justice, manifesting in this study as a reason for the diversity programme, applicants have negative attitudes about the decision to hire them, their abilities and the diversity programme itself. They will also believe that co-workers perceive them as less competent when the diversity programme lacks procedural justice. Providing a reason for the diversity programme, thereby increasing procedural justice, should be an essential component of diversity programmes used in hiring and promotion decisions.
Gender discrimination and the bottom line
At the larger organizational level there is evidence that discriminatory hiring and promotion practices ultimately harm the organization by making it less competitive (Weber & Zulehner, 2014). In their study of archival data (1977-2006) from Austria, Weber & Zulehner compared the proportion of female employees in start-up firms to the industry average. Using the Austrian Social Security database, they found firms with median and high levels of female employees were more likely to survive. Specifically, firms with the least number of female employees relative to the industry standard failed on average 18 months before firms with an average number of female employees relative to the industry standard (Weber & Zulehner, 2014).