Bobbie Burton | The Effects of Moral and Pragmatic Reasons for Diversity on Institutional Trust and Organizational Commitment

This study examines how an organization’s decision to implement a diversity program affects people’s perceptions of the organization. More specifically, is a simple commitment to diversity enough to elicit institutional trust and organizational commitment from its members, or do trust and commitment depend upon the motive for adopting the initiative? Specifically, this study focuses on moral motives (“It’s the right thing to do”) as compared to pragmatic motives (“It’s the practical thing to do”). Adapted versions of the Affective Commitment Scale (Meyer & Allen, 1990) and the Trust in Organization Scale (Robinson, 1996) are used to measure organizational commitment and institutional trust. Participants are randomly assigned to one of three conditions in which they are tasked with reading 1) a hypothetical policy that supports diversity implementation for a moral reason, 2) a hypothetical policy that supports diversity implementation for a pragmatic reason, or 3) a hypothetical policy unrelated to diversity. Participants are asked to answer questions about their perceptions of the organization’s decision and motives, as well as their support for the proposed hypothetical policy. It is expected that a moral motive for diversity implementation will elicit greater organizational commitment and trust than a pragmatic motive.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andrew Luttrell

Department of Psychological Science


Honors College