ON THE PLURALITY AND POLITICS OF ALLY WORK: LIBERALISM AND SELF, RELATIONAL, AND ORGANIZATIONAL ALLY WORK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

We theorize that ally work (actions by employees belonging to advantaged social groups to support employees belonging to disadvantaged social groups) can be organized into three modalities: self ally work that is oriented toward developing skills and capabilities, relational ally work that is focused on building positive work relationships, and organizational ally work aimed at changing organizational practices to support disadvantaged coworkers. Drawing from the theory of political ideology as motivated cognition, across multiple pre-registered field studies we found that employees who were more liberal-leaning (vs. conservative-leaning) reported higher engagement in all three modalities. We also examined whether contextual affordances amplified the liberalism effect. Specifically, we tested whether personal accountability for diversity, colleague diversity, and organizational ideology directed liberals toward greater engagement in self, relational, and organizational work, respectively. As hypothesized, more liberal-leaning employees reported higher engagement in organizational ally work in more ideologically liberal organizations. However, the hypothesized effects of personal accountability were not supported. Notably, personal accountability had a positive effect on self ally work among more conservative-leaning employees. The moderating effects of colleague diversity were also mixed across studies. Highlighting both the plurality and politics of ally work, we discuss theoretical and practical implications of our findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1554-1585
Number of pages32
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume66
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this