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HROB/099

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IBS Center for Management Research

Workforce Diversity at Nordstrom

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This case was written by M. Satya Prakash and Shirisha Regani, under the direction of S.S.George, IBS Center for Management Research. It was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation.

2007, IBS Center for Management Research. All rights reserved. To order copies, call +91-08417-236667/68 or write to IBS Center for Management Research (ICMR), IFHE Campus, Donthanapally, Sankarapally Road, Hyderabad 501 504, Andhra Pradesh, India or email: info@icmrindia.org

www.icmrindia.org

HROB/099

Workforce Diversity at Nordstrom
“As our country evolves, it’s a pretty diverse community out there, and so it’s` important that we’re reflective of that.”
- Blake Nordstrom, President of Nordstrom, in 2006.1
“Diversity is a key priority at this chain of upscale fashion stores.” - Fortune magazine, in 2007.2

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INTRODUCTION

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In January 2007, Nordstrom Inc. (Nordstrom), a major department store in the US, featured on Fortune magazine‟s list of the „100 Best Companies to Work For‟ in the US. The co mpany was ranked 24th in the overall rankings, and seventh among large companies. Nordstrom had been ranked 46th in 2006 and 88th in 2005.3 The company also found a place in Fortune’s „100 Best Companies to Work For‟ Hall of Fame.4

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In addition to this, Nordstrom had featured on Fortune’s list of „America‟s Most Admired Companies 2007,‟ where it was ranked 15th in the overall rankings and first in the General Merchandisers category.5 Nordstrom also featured on the list of „Best Places to Work for GLBT Equality,‟6 published by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation7 (HRCF) in 2007.

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Nordstrom was well-known for the diversity of its workforce. Since 1988, when it faced allegations of age and racial discrimination, the company had been proactive in recruiting a diverse workforce and creating an atmosphere of „inclusiveness‟ at the workplace. Women and minorities were well represented, constituting 72.5 percent and 41.9 percent respectively of Nordstrom‟s total workforce in mid-2007. Nordstrom also collaborated actively with many minority and disability rights organizations to ensure that it employed people from diverse backgrounds.

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One of the clauses in Nordstrom‟s exhaustive „Employee Code of Conduct‟ pertained to the prevention of discrimination and harassment at the workplace. Nordstrom strictly prohibited “discrimination or harassment based on sex, race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical, mental or sensory disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other basis protected by federal, state and/or local laws.”8 It added that “it was committed to recruiting, hiring and promoting qualified applicants and employees, as well as giving people of all 1

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“Nordstrom‟s Plan of Action,” www.pbs.org (accessed on June 25, 2007). “100 Best Companies to Work For,” Fortune, January 22, 2007. “Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2006,” http://money.cnn.com (accessed on June 25, 2007). The Hall of Fame consisted of companies that have appeared on the „100 Best companies to Work For‟ list every year since its inception in 1998.

“America‟s Most Admired Companies,” Fortune, March 19, 2007. Companies that support equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees are featured on the GLBT list.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF) is the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender equal rights organization in the United States (www.wikipedia.org). “Employee Code of Conduct,” http://phx.corporate-ir.net (accessed on June 25, 2007). 1

Workforce Diversity at Nordstrom

backgrounds an opportunity to work and contribute to the company and...
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