Manage Resistance to Change Proactively

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Managing diversity using a strategic planned change approach Earnest Friday
Management in the College of Business Administration, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA, and

Managing diversity

863
Received October 2002 Revised February 2003 Accepted February 2003

Shawnta S. Friday
School of Business and Industry at Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA Keywords Diversity management, Strategic management, Change management Abstract Many organizations have implemented various types of initiatives within the last few decades in an effort to deal with diversity. A possible missing vinculum (link) between how an organization deals with diversity and its impact on the bottomline is a corporate diversity strategy that is executed using a planned change approach to systemically manage diversity. While many organizations have implemented a corporate diversity strategy, most have not used a “planned change-corporate diversity strategy”. The lack of a “planned change-corporate diversity strategy” is quite likely to inhibit managing diversity from becoming systemic to an organization’s culture and its way of doing business, thus tending to disallow the potential benefits of diversity to be maximized. Hence, this paper offers a framework for using a “planned change-corporate diversity strategy” to: progress along the “diversity continuum” starting with acknowledging to valuing, and ultimately to managing diversity; and systemically managing diversity using a eight-step “managing diversity process”.

Introduction Over the past few decades, academicians, practitioners and organizational researchers have recognized that diversity is a phenomenon that has a wide array of affects within the workplace, and society in general (Koonce, 2001; Stark, 2001; Williams and O’Reilly, 1997). In this paper, diversity refers to any attribute that happens to be salient to an individual that makes him/her perceive that he/she is different from another individual (Williams and O’Reilly, 1997). Some widely accepted differentiating attributes include racioethnicity (which encompasses race and ethnicity), gender, nationality, religion, functional expertise, and age. Even though racioethnic and gender diversity tend to receive the majority of the attention in the organizational diversity literature (Stark, 2001; Williams and O’Reilly, 1997), this definition allows for the frameworks offered to be applied to any type of organizational diversity salient to members. Diversity programs have been implemented in many multinational organizations, primarily, in an effort to improve working relationships

Journal of Management Development Vol. 22 No. 10, 2003 pp. 863-880 q MCB UP Limited 0262-1711 DOI 10.1108/02621710310505467

JMD 22,10

864

between white males, whose relative numbers continue to decrease, and demographically different individuals, whose numbers continue to increase in the workplace (Friedman and DiTomaso, 1996). While many multinational organizations have a corporate diversity strategy, most have not implemented it using the suggested planned changed approach posited in this paper. Given the intensifying “war for talent” in today’s competitive, global business environment, it is imperative that the execution and evaluation of a corporate diversity strategy use a planned changed approach to not only acknowledge and value diversity, but to also systemically manage and inculcate diversity into an organization’s corporate culture. This type of approach can contribute immensely to an organization’s ability to use all of its human capital as a strategic means to gain and maintain a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic, global marketplace (Richard, 2000). It has been purported...
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