New directions for research and practice in diversity leadership

By Chao C. Chen

Ellen Van Velsor
Center for Creative Leadership


From the articles published in the two parts of this special issue as well as an overview of research in leadership and diversity, this chapter discusses directions and implications for diversity leadership research and practice. Drawing from diversity perspectives, we suggest that diversity leadership must consider: (a) the impact of social group identities embedded in organization group identities; (b) the unconscious sociopsychological processes; (c) the political aspects of leadership; and (d) the follower perspectives. From the field of leadership, we highlight four leadership frameworks that we think have the greatest potential to contribute to diversity leadership, namely, (i) attribution theories of leadership and followership, (ii) theories of leadership prototypes, (iii) the leader-member exchange model, and (iv) the behavioral complexity model. In connecting the two fields, we propose new directions for research and discuss practical issues of how organizations can develop diverse and global leaders and how these leaders themselves could lead diversity more effectively.


Chen, C. C., & Van Velsor, E. (1996). New directions for research and practice in diversity leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 7(2), 285–302.


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