Inching Toward Inclusiveness: Diversity Climate, Interpersonal Conflict and Well-Being in Women Nurses


Management and Entrepreneurship

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Interpersonal conflict is a type of mistreatment acknowledged to be a serious problem in the United States workplace, particularly for women. This interpersonal conflict is related to negative outcomes in women, as well as the exclusion of women in the workplace, which highlights the importance of investigating ways to reduce this conflict. There is reason to believe that features of the social work environment may impact the prevalence of interpersonal conflict targeted at women. In particular, the extent to which a workplace includes social norms prohibiting mistreatment based on differences—a diversity climate—should be associated with lower levels of interpersonal conflict for women. As such, the goal of the current study was to examine the impact of diversity climate on the experience of interpersonal conflict in women. Additionally, well-being outcomes—burnout and engagement—were assessed as part of a model of diversity climate, interpersonal conflict, and outcomes. In a sample of 172 White women nurses from the northwestern U.S., three sources of conflict (physicians, manager and coworker) were found to relate negatively with diversity climate perceptions. Diversity climate perceptions were also associated with higher work engagement, and indirectly related to both engagement and burnout through conflict. The findings indicate that cultivating a diversity climate might be an important strategy to reduce interpersonal conflict experienced by women in the workplace.

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