Quality & Quantity

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 177–201 | Cite as

Measuring employee perception on the effects of cultural diversity at work: development of the Benefits and Threats of Diversity Scale

  • Joep HofhuisEmail author
  • Karen I. van der Zee
  • Sabine Otten


This paper describes the development and validation of the Benefits and Threats of Diversity Scale (BTDS), an instrument which measures how employees perceive the effects of cultural diversity in the workplace. By analyzing employees’ perceptions, organizations may be able to communicate more effectively about diversity, and reduce potential diversity resistance by targeting those employees who feel most threatened by the process of diversification. First, a conceptual framework is established regarding possible positive and negative perceptions regarding cultural diversity in the workplace, based on both existing literature and qualitative data gathered in interviews. The final structure of the BTDS includes five subdimensions of benefits, and four subdimensions of threats. The internal structure, reliability and construct validity of the BTDS are established using quantitative data gathered in existing organizations. Our results also show that the respective dimensions of benefits and threats are mostly independent. This implies that individuals who perceive many benefits of diversity do not perceive less threats, or vice versa. This, in turn, suggests that individuals are not either pro or con diversity, as is often assumed in existing literature, but instead may possess a more nuanced view.


Workplace diversity Diversity attitudes Diversity resistance  Diversity outcomes Scale development 



The research presented in this paper was made possible through funding from the Netherlands’ Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Arbeidsmarkt- en Opleidingsfonds Rijk.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joep Hofhuis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen I. van der Zee
    • 2
  • Sabine Otten
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Social and Behavioural SciencesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Faculty of Behavioural SciencesUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Faculty of Behavioural and Social SciencesUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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