David A. Thomas's research while affiliated with Georgetown University and other places

Publications (14)

Article
This paper argues that learning in cross-race interactions is critical for work teams to realize performance benefits from racial diversity but that diversity is a liability when society's negative stereotypes about racial minorities' competence inhibit such interactions. We analyze two years of data from 496 retail bank branches to investigate rac...
Article
It is 2010, and Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk, is contemplating the next steps for his organization. Founded in 2004 in California, oDesk operates an online marketplace that matches Employers with Contractors. oDesk provides fact-based information on Contractors, including experience, skills, and certifications, to Employers, who use this information as...
Article
Studies of minority hiring have found that poor-performing firms or firms in highly competitive contexts are more likely to hire minority candidates. However, most work has examined hiring for entry and mid-level positions, not senior management. Management positions differ in terms of the amount of uncertainty in identifying candidates qualified f...
Article
In this article, we distinguish between positive findings in diversity research and a positive approach to studying diversity. We first review and integrate research on diversity from organizational behavior, social psychology and sociology from 1998-2010 that has already documented positive findings in relation to diversity. We discuss this resear...
Article
This case profiles PepsiCo's diversity journey under the leadership of former chairman and CEO Steve Reinemund who instituted diversity as one of the company's strategic imperatives. It demonstrates the ways in which Reinemund partnered with his leadership team and employees throughout the organization to make diversity a key factor in PepsiCo's cu...
Article
This case profiles President Barack Hussein Obama's rise to the presidency as an "improbable candidate." The case illustrates the ways in which he overcame criticism from those who questioned his credibility and his values and skepticism from those who were unsure of whether America was ready to elect its first African American President. It also e...
Article
This exercise is designed to help students and professionals map their professional networks and to identify areas of strength and weakness in their networks. "Network" refers to the set of relationships that is critical to someone's ability to learn new skills and competencies, get things done, advance in his or her career, and develop personally...
Article
This case, set in 2008, examines how Google has worked to avoid potential negative byproducts of rapid growth such as: bureaucracy, slow decision-making, lack of visibility and organizational inconsistency. When the case protagonist, Kim Scott, started with Google in 2004, she wondered if she would still be there in several years as she liked small...
Article
IBM's turnaround in the last decade is an impressive and well-documented business story. But behind that success is a less told people story, which explains how the corporation dramatically altered its already diverse composition and created millions of dollars in new business. By the time Lou Gerstner took the helm in 1993, IBM had a long history...
Article
This paper develops theory about the conditions under which cultural diversity enhances or detracts from work group functioning. From qualitative research in three culturally diverse organizations, we identified three different perspectives on workforce diversity: the integration-and-learning perspective, the access-and-legitimacy perspective, and...
Article
This paper examines the effects of individuals' primary and multiple developmental relationships in a longitudinal study of the careers of lawyers. By juxtaposing the effects of the primary developmental relationship with those of individuals' sets or ‘constellations’ of developmental relationships, the present study lends insight into if and when...
Article
Diversity has become a top priority in corporate America. Despite corporations' best intentions, however, many have failed to achieve a racial mix at the top levels of management. Some have revolving doors for talented minorities, recruiting the best and brightest, only to see them leave, frustrated by their experiences. Others are able to retain h...

Citations

... Bantel & Jackson, 1989;Amason et al., 2006;Hambrick, 2007;Talke et al., 2010;Boone & Hendriks, 2009), crossfunctional teams within organizations (e.g. Mohrman et al., 1995;Finegold & Wagner, 1998;Mathieu et al., 2000;Cronin and Weingart, 2007), employee teams more generally (Hambrick et al.,1998;Ely et al., 2012;Youtie et al., 2012), and founding teams (e.g. Ucbasaran et al., 2003;Huang et al., 2012;Kaiser & Muller, 2013;Visintin & Pittino, 2014;Kristinsson et al., 2016;Protogerou et al., 2017). ...
... (Eng, 2004), online freelance marketplaces (e.g., oDesk.com) (Groysberg et al., 2011), group buying marketplaces (e.g., Groupon.com) (Edelman et al., 2011) and digital application marketplaces (e.g., Apple's AppStore) (West and Mace, 2010). ...
... Yet at the same time these researchers also identified an independent pathway whereby employees' identification with their workgroup was a significant predictor (r = 0.56) of willingness to embrace the specific safety culture of that group. This speaks to the importance of alignment of identities: within any given organisation there is never just 'one' safety culture (Edmondson, 2004; see also Ely & Thomas, 2001;Peters et al., 2012) and intergroup dynamics of a form discussed by Tajfel and Turner (1979) can lead work teams to seek either to contrast themselves from other groups in ways that depart from goals of high reliability (Andersen et al., 2015), or to align themselves in ways that support high reliability. An organisation that fails to understand these social psychological realities is unlikely to be able to get to grips with them and, as Anderson et al. (2018) contend, this is a recipe for disaster. ...
... The national legal framework mainly covers ethnic diversity, using strict affirmative action quotas based on state of origin in public and political institutions; however, the legal framework is somewhat weak (SHRM, 2009). Generally, the concept of diversity management has low maturity in Nigeria, as emphasis on managing differences has narrowly focused on legal and moral factors, the so-called "discrimination-and-fairness" approach (Thomas & Ely, 1996;. The so-called "business case for diversity", which is increasingly popular in the West and emphasizes the economic benefits of managing differences strategically (Klarsfeld et al., 2012), has not yet been widely embraced. ...
... The institutional review boards of both Drexel University College of Medicine (Protocol #42, initial approval September 24,2002) and The George Washington University (IRB#U020325ER, initial approval March 14, 2003) approved this study as a part of a larger study of medical and dental school deans. Study participants signed and returned a consent form explaining the purpose of the study and authorizing the use of data collected by the survey. ...
... Constellation mentoring is when one mentee has multiple mentors who take active interest and action to advance the mentee's development (Nowell et al., 2017). Constellation mentoring allows mentees to experience mentors with different styles of mentoring and leadership, providing rich and in-depth understandings of multiple facets of a career and providing mentees with greater opportunities to expand their networks (Higgins & Thomas, 2001). This model can also be viewed as a longitudinal landscape of career mentoring. ...
... National tragedies as well as natural disasters tend to spark feelings of unity and cohesion in companies (Morgeson et al., 2015), thus continued study of racially specific events could promote innovative organizing that seeks to support racial minorities. Our model contributes to the nascent research on underrepresented persons within the positive organizational scholarship literature (Rao and Donaldson, 2015;Ramarajan and Thomas, 2010) by considering how organizations could compassionately respond to tragic events that affect their employees or surrounding communities. Emphasizing organizational and Black employees' strengths to racially traumatic events led us to examine their resourcing practices as opposed to their inability to "manage" diversity. ...
... Although what elements of leadership were emphasized more or less (i.e., the "ratio" of ingredients) shifted with the strategic direction of the organization during each period, the "core ingredients" did not change (see Church et al., 2018 for a detailed history). To illustrate, Steve Reinemund, CEO from 2001 to 2006, emphasized inclusion, with a goal to make diversity one of the key drivers of culture and performance Thomas & Creary, 2009). His successor, Indra Nooyi, focused on building PepsiCo for the future through an emphasis on sustainability (Nooyi & Govindarajan, 2020) and bringing the outside in to drive growth and innovation. ...
... For example, during the 2008 U.S. Democratic primaries, then Senator Barack Obama repeatedly introduced himself in large and small gatherings as both the son of a Kenyan immigrant and a white woman with Midwestern roots. In so doing, he countered public pressures to identify himself in either-or terms (Thomas, Roberts, & Creary, 2009): I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. ...
... However, as Google expanded overseas, it faced the challenge of finding ways to translate their innovative practices outside the United States. Anecdotal accounts show that at the time, Google employees started evaluating how googley their behavior was, as a way of protecting their organizational identity during their expansion abroad (Groysberg et al., 2009). Google's success speaks to the importance of identity-related concerns as a bridge between leaders' behaviors and employee innovation. ...