Case

Topics: Sociology, Affirmative action, Diversity training Pages: 2 (452 words) Published: August 4, 2013
CASE PRACTICE #1 We noted in the chapter that some researchers have provided evidence that diversity training programs may not be delivering the expected outcomes. The authors interpret this evidence as a sign that corporate efforts to improve diversity are more effective when the focus is on concrete measurable goals with accountability. It may be that entrenched attitudes related to race, ethnicity, and gender are just too hard to change in short-term classroom settings. Others argue that diversity training isn’t really designed to increase the number of women and minorities in top management positions but rather to improve relationships among workers. Reviews of the historical development of diversity programs demonstrate some significant changes in the ways diversity trainers conceptualize their role. Early diversity training efforts focused primarily on legal compliance and the regulatory framework. This may have created an attitude that diversity was a problem to be solved and avoided when possible, rather than an opportunity. Demographic diversity was also the only focus of these programs, meaning other forms of workforce diversity, like differences in abilities or attitudes, were ignored. There were also features that led to unintended consequences. Some diversity programs encouraged participants to describe stereotypical language regarding different groups in an effort to expose the content of people’s assumptions. Unfortunately, follow-up discussions with participants showed the discussions may have reinforced the very stereotypes the programs were supposed to undermine. These practices also could be very embarrassing for participants. Because the training focused primarily on portraying historically underrepresented minorities and women in White male-dominated environments, White males (who make up a significant portion of the workforce) felt excluded and stigmatized. Contemporary diversity management programs have changed their focus considerably in...
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