Are There Four Types of Diversity?

WRITTEN December 16, 2021 Author: Patricia McCormack

Yes, in general there are Four Diversity Types:  Internal, External, Organizational, and World View. 

Before getting into that, how about a basic description of Diversity. 

Diversity as a concept comes down to coexistence. It can be more clearly defined as acceptance and respect, from individuals or from a group.

There will always be differences among groups of people and individuals based on a variety of factors. But these differences deserve to exist in a safe, positive, and encouraging environment. 

INTERNAL

Just as the name implies, Internal diversity characteristics are ones related to what a person is born into. Things that a person doesn’t choose for themselves and are impossible for anyone to change.

Examples of Internal diversity include: Race and ethnicity.

EXTERNAL

These are characteristics that a person was not born with and that they ultimately have the option to change through their own actions. External qualities may be heavily influenced by other people, yet still define someone as an individual. These qualities can be altered by choices made and new paths chosen.

Examples include: education, personal experiences, socioeconomic status, spirituality, religion, citizenship, geographic location, or family status.

ORGANIZATIONAL

Organizational diversity refers to the differences people employees in a workforce as defined by their role. These are the characteristics within an organization that differentiate one employee from another as related to their specific job.

Examples include: Job function; management status work location; department; seniority; and union affiliation.

WORLD VIEW

This type reminds one of those questions found in multiple-choice test where it is Option D: All of the above. So many factors work to form our World View, including all the Internal, External, and Organizational diversity characteristics. This is a diversity type that changes with time because we see the world differently with new experiences and as we build Emotional Intelligence and learn more about ourselves and each other.

Examples include: Political beliefs; Moral compass; Outlook on life.

Why do we need to know these 4 types?

As individuals we don’t always see that others may feel isolated because of factors like the ones spelled out above. We need to use Emotional Intelligence to strengthen relationships and increase awareness of ourselves and of others. This knowledge will allow us to be able to identify needed areas of inclusion (or exclusion) that we may not have noticed previously.

Learning the many facets and faces of Diversity is vital. We need to understand how to relate to qualities and conditions that are different from our own, but are present in other individuals and groups. Through education, we can become more knowledgeable of other diverse groups and diversify ourselves along the way.


This information is referenced in our Human Resources and Staff Development classes. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Other Resources:

The Meaning of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Types of Diversity with Examples

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