Supplier Diversity Certification Success Factors

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This article develops and tests theory-driven hypotheses on the impact of supplier diversity certification for women-owned businesses. Supplier diversity programs create opportunities for businesses majority-owned, managed, and/or operated by Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, veterans, visible minorities, 2SLGBTQI+ people, and women to become suppliers of goods and services, typically to large corporate or government buyers. Drawing on contingency theory and the resource-based view (RBV), supplier size and duration of certification are hypothesized to impact success. Diversity certification is conceptualized as an intangible asset, i.e., as a valuable resource. A survey was developed to collect data on organizational size, duration of certification, business success and other relevant variables, such as motivators for and barriers to certification. While both size and duration appear to facilitate success, there is also evidence that duration mediates the size effect. The discussion includes implications for theory and practice. There is a clear need for future research to explore a possible combination of diversity certification and capability certification, across all communities of diversity.