Primary and Secondary Dimensions of Diversity Essay

Primary and Secondary Dimensions of Diversity Essay

Diversity is a profound concept that determines interactions, implicit and explicit perceptions of self and others, and interpersonal relationships. In the organizational and professional contexts, diversity entails differences in physical abilities, age, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, gender and sexuality, and other aspects, including education, work background, income, and religious experiences. According to Inegbedion et al. (2020), organizations are more diverse, considering the impact of globalization and the need to concretize linkages between people, regions, and neighborhoods. As a result, it is possible to categorize the aspects of diversity into two broad dimensions: primary and secondary. In this sense, the primary dimensions of diversity entail non-modifiable differences and unique attributes that people cannot change or control. These factors include age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and physical qualities/abilities.

On the other hand, secondary dimensions of diversity are external issues and differences that people can control and may transition over time. These dimensions include education level, work experience, language, organizational role, personal habits, marital status, geographical location, and parental status. Primary and secondary dimensions of diversity are crucial in determining organizational culture, interpersonal relationships, and interactions. As a result, this paper describes stereotypes associated with common primary dimensions, three secondary dimensions that impact daily professional and personal life, and two underrepresented and marginalized groups based on the primary dimensions of diversity.

Stereotypes Associated with Three of Primary Dimensions of Primary Dimensions of Diversity

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Notably, primary dimensions of diversity entail non-modifiable differences and unique attributes that people have limited control over. The three significant examples of primary dimensions of diversity are race, gender, and age. These aspects are prone to stereotypes that anchor perceptions and the subsequent marginalization of people of a specific age, race, or physical attributes. Grigoryev et al. (2021) argue that stereotyping entails ” cognitive mechanisms that underlie all aspects of intercultural processes.” In this sense, people perceive other people or groups differently. Varied perceptions explain multiple intercultural interactions and perspectives (Grigoryev et al., 2021). It is essential to note that stereotyping often leads to negative perceptions and exacerbates unethical behaviors, such as discrimination, marginalization, and racism.

Age is a non-modifiable factor of diversity that explains how people perceive young and older people. According to Ng (2021), ageism entails the collection of stereotypes directed at all ages, although its massive burden rests on older adults. For instance, these age-related stereotypes can be positive, neutral, and negative. In an organizational context, people can perceive older people as wise, kind, and thoughtful, while others can view them as slow, burdensome, and cranky (Ng, 2021). These stereotypes lead to oversimplified generalizations without considering individual differences. As a result, they affect socialization and interpersonal relationships.

Similarly, gender and racial stereotypes are common in organizational and professional contexts. According to Hentschel et al. (2019), gender stereotypes focus on how people perceive each other regarding generalized attributes. Often, they emanate from the discrepant distribution of people into social and professional roles. For example, people may perceive men as more agentic, authoritative, and controlling than women, while others may consider women more communal and collaborative than men. On the other hand, racial stereotypes are beliefs and perceptions about members of specific ethnic groups, their status, and sociocultural norms. Priest et al. (2018) contend that racial attitudes and beliefs predict conscious and unconscious behaviors, including facilitating active and passive social isolation, stigmatization, and other abusive behaviors. African Americans and other non-white ethnic groups can be susceptible to negative racial stereotypes affecting their productivity and professional development at the workplace.

Three Secondary Dimensions of Diversity that Impact Daily Professional and Professional Life

Besides primary dimensions of diversity, secondary attributes like education level, work background, and religious beliefs can influence how people interact at the personal and professional levels. For instance, employee education diversity can result in multiple benefits to the organization, including providing a wide variety of task-relevant knowledge and skills (Sartore & Backed-Gellner, 2020). In this sense, employees with different educational qualifications possess varied knowledge and skills consistent with their roles and responsibilities. This concept contributes to forming interdisciplinary teams and high-level interactions compared to homogeneous groups.

Similarly, differences in work backgrounds and religious beliefs affect employees’ professional and personal lives. Work background entails the employees’ work history and performances in previous jobs, career jobs, passions, and individual objectives. Information regarding work backgrounds is crucial in shaping professional development and enabling employees to re-orient their professional objectives and goals. Finally, religious differences explain how people cope with stress, overcome difficulties, and demonstrate moral standards (Bal & Kokalan, 2021). Amidst the pressure to secularize society, religious diversity may affect employee relationships and perpetuate interpersonal conflicts.

Two Underrepresented and Marginalized Groups Based on the Primary Dimensions of Diversity and how to Advocate for them

People of color (mainly African Americans) and indigenous people are among the overly underrepresented and marginalized groups who grapple with multiple forms of adversities, including threats of harm and injury, shaming, racial discrimination, disproportionate access to socioeconomic opportunities, and social injustice (Comas-Diaz et al., 2019). Racial discrimination, microaggressions, and racism toward people of color and indigenous people compromise their mental and physical health by exacerbating stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite these groups’ persistent underrepresentation and marginalization, there is no reason to justify these uncivil behaviors. Instead, the marginalization of these groups derives inspiration from the oversimplified and negative perceptions that these communities are inferior, have low education attainment, are less advanced, uninformed, and unknowledgeable.

Racism, discrimination, and marginalization of people of color and members of indigenous populations affect their personal and professional development by affecting their involvement in organizational, social, economic, and political activities. Also, these issues result in racial trauma and disproportionate access to opportunities for the victims. As a result, it is crucial to advocate for fair treatment of these susceptible populations. Strategies for advocating for these groups include educating them about their rights, inspiring and influencing organizational policies that anchor empowerment, spearheading legal processes through the courts, and using media to create public awareness. The primary objective of these advocacy interventions is to promote inclusion by addressing structural discrimination and racism.


Primary and social dimensions of diversity affect interpersonal relationships and interactions at the organizational and social levels. For instance, age, ethnicity, race, education diversity, work background, gender, and sexual orientation influence how people relate and develop perceptions toward others. Often, these dimensions of diversity lead to undesired outcomes, including structural racism, discrimination, and marginalization of people with specific modifiable and non-modifiable attributes of diversity. For example, people of color and indigenous populations are marginalized and underrepresented. As a result, it is possible to advocate for these people by educating them about their rights, inspiring and influencing organizational policies that anchor empowerment, spearheading legal processes through the courts, and using media to create public awareness.



Bal, Y., & Kökalan, Ö. (2021). The moderating effect of religiosity on the relationship between burnout and job satisfaction. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.

Comas-Díaz, L., Hall, G. N., & Neville, H. A. (2019). Racial trauma: Theory, research, and healing: Introduction to the special issue. American Psychologist, 74(1), 1–5.

Hentschel, T., Heilman, M. E., & Peus, C. V. (2019). The multiple dimensions of gender stereotypes: A current look at men’s and women’s characterizations of others and themselves. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(11).

Inegbedion, H., Sunday, E., Asaleye, A., Lawal, A., & Adebanji, A. (2020). Managing diversity for organizational efficiency. SAGE Open, 10(1). Sagepub.

Ng, R. (2021). Societal age stereotypes in the U.S. and U.K. from a media database of 1.1 billion words. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(16), 8822.

Priest, N., Slopen, N., Woolford, S., Philip, J. T., Singer, D., Kauffman, A. D., Mosely, K., Davis, M., Ransome, Y., & Williams, D. (2018). Stereotyping across intersections of race and age: Racial stereotyping among White adults working with children. PLOS ONE, 13(9), e0201696.

Sartore, S. N. T., & Backes-Gellner, U. (2020). Educational diversity and individual pay: The advantages of combining academic and VET graduates in the workplace. Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training, 12(1).


Quickly skim the questions or assignment below and the assignment rubric to help you focus.


2. Read the required chapter(s) of the textbook and any additional recommended resources. Some answers may require you to do additional research on the Internet or in other reference sources. Choose your sources carefully.



3. Consider the discussion and the any insights you gained from it.



4. Create your Assignment submission and be sure to cite your sources, use APA style as required, check your spelling.





Essay: Using any of the primary dimensions and secondary dimensions you have learned in this module, write an 1200 word APA style essay that address the following.


What are some stereotypes associated with three of the primary dimensions you have learned? Discuss in detail.

What are three secondary dimensions that impact your daily life professionally and personally; and why?


Thinking of the primary dimensions of diversity, identify two underrepresented and marginalized groups. Discuss why they may be underrepresented or marginalize, then describe how you may advocate for them.


Assignment Expectations


Length: 1200 words; answers must thoroughly address the questions in a clear, concise manner.



Structure: Include a title page and reference page in APA style. These do not count towards the minimum word count for this assignment.



References: Use the appropriate APA style in-text citations and references for all resources utilized to answer the questions. Include at least three (3) scholarly sources to support your claims.


Format: Save your assignment as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx).


File name: Name your saved file according to your first initial, last name, and the assignment number (for example, “RHall Assignment 1.docx”)




After completing this module, you will be able to do the following:


Describe primary and secondary dimensions of diversity

Describe the impact of history on the primary and secondary aspects of diversity as it relates to historical trauma

Explore the social diversity theory and cultural stereotypes

Examine methods to advocate for people from underrepresented and marginalized groups

Discuss the dimensions of diversity and how they have impacted your friendships and relationships.


When you first hear the word diversity or culture, what is the first thing you think of? For many it is race and ethnicity. As you have learned in Module 1, diversity is more than the hue of a person’s skin or their ethnicity or cultural background. People are different, varying in gender, culture, race, social, physical, and psychological characteristics and because of these differences, people may respond in negative or positive reactions, depending on individual’s perspectives and prejudices.

Historically, race relations in America have been frayed with enslavement, segregation, oppression, and inequalities for over 200 years. Today, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic divides still separate us. Discrimination persists mostly due to the hue of one’s skin and because one group feels superior to another group because they are different. There may be intragroup discrimination (discrimination that occurs within a group of same individuals) or intergroup discrimination (discrimination that takes place between groups). Discrimination is a lose-lose situation for everyone and perpetuates tension, anger, and fear which sabotages relationship development and impedes teamwork and positive communication.


This module explores the primary aspects of diversity which include characteristics that are most visible such as gender, race, sexual orientation, physical ability, and age. How one views primary characteristics has changed considerably in the 21st century. This week, you will also examine secondary aspects of diversity which can either be acquired or changed in life. They affect an individual’s view of the world and how others view them. For example, marital and family status, education, income, housing, and how one communicates are secondary aspects of diversity.





Additional Resources:


Comas- Díaz, L., Hall, G. N., & Neville, H. A. (2019). Racial trauma: Theory, research, and healing: Introduction to the special issue. American Psychologist, 74(1), 1-5.

Diversity Best Practices (2020). Glossary of diversity, equity, and inclusion terms.

Kaur, H. C. (2020, May 30). A guide to how you can support marginalized communities. CNN.

Kirmayer, L. J., Gone, J. P., & Moses, J. (2014). Rethinking historical trauma. Transcultural Psychiatry, 51(3) 299-319.

Lainez, P. (2016, November 14). Social identity theory. [Video]. YouTube.


Mohatt, N. V., Thompson, A. B., Thai, N. D., & Tebes, J. K. (2014). Historical trauma as public narrative: A conceptual review of how history impacts present-day health. Social Science & Medicine, 106, 128-136.


Goals Alignment

University Mission Based Outcomes – 1, 2

Program Learning Goals – N/A

Course Learning Objectives – 1, 2, 5, 6

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