Managing Diversity in the Workplace

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Intent vs. Perception. Antoinette Mayer worked for DigiSys, a multimillion dollar technology company where many of the company’s senior managers were retired military officers. Jay Strong, her boss, became very friendly in an awkward way with Mayer one day where his conversation moved from business topics to more personal conversation. As time progressed, he got “warmer” towards Mayer; seemed to encounter her more in the company cafeteria and requested more of her time under the pretense of gathering updates. After many encounters like this, she decided to do something about it so she went to the Human Resources vice president for assistance. He told her that he didn’t think she had much of a case. The company was full of military types who had not quite got the hang of working with women in the civilian sector. As a black woman, she had done her share of educating and was probably tired of it, but pursuit of an investigation wasn’t worth her career and she should lighten up a little. According to CMU (2008), more than half of US women executives say they have suffered sexual harassment. Harassment results in stress, absenteeism, productivity declines, turnover, and lawsuits. Solutions include raising awareness, providing training, and consistent enforcement of clearly communicated rules and penalties. Murren (2011) states that every place of employment has a different demeanor. Most employees do mesh well together finding their groove over a period of time. There are instances, however, when workplace behavior can get out of hand and be inappropriate, causing a rift between employees. Many companies today hold yearly ethics courses designed to pinpoint an acceptable quality of behavior from their employees and also open up the floor to those who have issues with the company and its policies. Sometimes confronting an issue head on in a supportive environment will help find a positive solution to any issues of harassment or workplace abuse. Harassment...
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