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Walking the talk on diversity: CEO beliefs, moral values, and the implementation of workplace diversity practices

Although CEO commitment is recognized as being crucial to organizational diversity efforts, we know little about how CEOs signal their priorities and mobilize key organizational actors to implement diversity management. We tested an integrative model in which CEO beliefs about diversity were theorized to predict the implementation of organizational diversity practices through two consecutive mediating steps–via greater CEO engagement in pro-diversity behavior, and in turn, higher perceived CEO commitment by their HR manager. In this model, we also proposed a moderating effect such that when CEOs have less positive beliefs about diversity, CEOs espousing higher moral values will display greater pro-diversity behavior. Results supported the proposed model. Taken together, our findings indicate that a CEO’s words and actions alone are not sufficient for the implementation of diversity management practices. HR managers must view their CEOs as being committed to workplace diversity in order for diversity management practices to be implemented.