Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Carey S. Ryan


In recent years, civil rights movements, such as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement have called out organizations for treating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a marketing ploy to attract employees and customers. However, each year organizations spend billions of dollars on DEI efforts such as training, recruitment, strategy consultants, and more. Perhaps the misalignment of such large investments and tangible outcomes stems from the lack of evidence regarding which organizational systems (i.e., policies and practices) contribute to DEI goal attainment. The current study utilized data from 36 organizations across the Omaha metropolitan area. Data included both organizational variables, that is, the number of company policies across seven workplace functions (e.g., handbook policies), and employee experience data across two dimensions of employee experience; namely, belonging and justice. Multilevel analyses assessed the relationships of policies and practices to employees’ organizational experiences and whether employee identity (i.e., race/ethnicity, gender, and management status) moderated the relationships. Results indicated that organizations that had more DEI policies were more racially/ethnically, but not more gender, diverse. There was no evidence of a relationship between the number of DEI policies and employee experiences of belonging, although employees in organizations that had more vision, mission, values policies perceived greater justice. Further, none of the relationships between DEI policies and employee experiences were moderated by employee identity. These results suggest that having a greater number of DEI supportive policies are not sufficient to promote cultures of belonging and justice within organizations.


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