Does Diversity Really Matter?

April 18, 2012

By Shawn Marsh, Ph.D.

Differences Make a Difference

Does diversity really matter? Although organizational diversity can be a complex and sensitive subject, the simple answer is a resounding “yes.”  Diversity means differences: differences in social categories, differences in values, and differences in perspective/information. Under the right circumstances, differences help organizations acquire new—and often unanticipated—ideas as well as avoid problems associated with the structural foundations of groupthink and other social psychological phenomena.

Differences Are Necessary but Not Sufficient

What are the right circumstances?  Research and practice suggest that an organization reaps substantial benefits when it moves from a focus on diversity to diversity and inclusion.  Inclusion involves an organizational culture that actively respects, embraces, and nurtures individual differences. When an organization becomes inclusive, it also becomes a true learning organization that values creativity and encourages personal and group development—conditions associated with employee/member satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Together, these conditions are critical for an organization to be competitive in our global economy. Perhaps most importantly, however, is that inclusion reflects a commitment to equality and other core principles of social justice.

We Want To Know You

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) is committed to diversity.  To that end, the NCJFCJ Diversity Committee is conducting a two part survey of the NCJFCJ membership. 

Phase I of the survey deals with member demographics and background, and was launched on March 19, 2012. Thank you to all members who have helped advance the vision and mission of the NCJFCJ by completing this survey. If you are a member of the NCJFCJ and have not yet completed this survey—a reminder with a survey link was sent out on April 16, 2012 via the membership e-mail list. To request a link to the survey, please contact Cheryl Davidek,

Phase II of the survey will deal with feedback on NCJFCJ’s diversity activities, as well as seek to gather information about member attitudes and needs around issues of diversity and inclusion. The NCJFCJ Diversity Committee anticipates launching this phase of the survey to correspond with the NCJFCJ Annual Conference in July 2012.

Please join your colleagues in completing these surveys as they will provide information essential to strengthening the NCJFCJ and continuing its important work.

Courageous Participation

The leadership and staff of the NCJFCJ appreciate that diversity can be a sensitive issue. Nonetheless, for the organization to thrive in its work to improve outcomes for all children, youth, families, victims, and communities, ensuring organizational diversity and inclusion is a challenge that must be met with courageous participation by all concerned with issues of justice.

Not a member of NCJFCJ?  Are you interested in issues of diversity, inclusion, and how it relates to justice? Click here to join today!