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Workplace racial/ethnic similarity, job satisfaction, and lumbar back health among warehouse workers: asymmetric reactions across racial/ethnic groups.
Hoppe A; Fujishiro K; Heaney CA
J Organ Behav 2014 Feb; 35(2):172-193
Racial and ethnic minority employees constitute a significant proportion of the U.S. workforce. The literature on demographic similarity in the workplace suggests that the proportion of co-workers who share the same racial/ethnic background (racial/ethnic similarity) can influence job attitudes and employee well-being and that the reactions to racial/ethnic similarity may differ between the racially dominant and subordinate groups. This study applies status construction theory to examine the extent to which racial/ethnic similarity is associated with job satisfaction and lumbar back health among warehouse employees. We surveyed 361 warehouse workers (204 whites, 94 African-Americans, and 63 Latino workers) in 68 jobs in nine distribution centers in the United States. Multilevel analyses indicate that white and racial/ethnic minority groups react differently to racial/ethnic similarity. For job satisfaction, white employees experience higher job satisfaction when they are highly racially/ethnically similar to their colleagues, whereas Latino employees experience higher job satisfaction when they are racially/ethnically dissimilar to others. As for lumbar back health, among Latino and African-American employees, higher racial/ethnic similarity is associated with better lumbar back health whereas for white employees, the association is the opposite. Across all groups, moderate levels of racial/ethnic similarity were associated with the best lumbar back health.
Racial-factors; Sociological-factors; Workers; Warehousing; Demographic-characteristics; Back-injuries; Health-care; Health-programs; Statistical-analysis; Lumberjacks; Psychology; Author Keywords: asymmetric reactions; diversity; health; job satisfaction; relational demography
Issue of Publication
Journal of Organizational Behavior
Page last reviewed: October 8, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division