Diversity Management: A New Organizational Paradigm
Jacqueline A. Gilbert Bette Ann Stead John M. Ivancevich
ABSTRACT. Currently, an increasing number of organizations are attempting to enhance inclusiveness of under represented individuals through proactive efforts to manage their diversity. In this article, we define diversity management against the backdrop of its predecessor, affirmative action. Next, selected examples of organizations that have experienced specific positive bottom line results from diversity management strategies are discussed. The present paper also provides a conceptual model to examine antecedents and consequences of effective diversity management. Additional research areas identified from the model and literature review result in a number of research propositions intended to enhance the exploration and understanding of diversity management.
To manage diversity effectively, a corporation must value diversity; it must have diversity, and it must change the organization to accommodate diversity and make it an integral part of the organization. Sessa (1992), p. 37, Diversity in the Workplace
Dr. Jackie Gilbert is Assistant Professor at Middle Tennessee State University. She conducts research in the areas of diversity management, cross-cultural relations, and genetic psychology. Bette Ann Stead is Professor of Marketing and Director of the Institute for Business Ethics and Public Issues at the University of Houston, and co-chair of the Greater Houston Business Ethics Roundtable. Her articles have appeared in such journals as the Journal of Business Ethics, Business Horizons, Sex Roles, Academy of Management Journal, and the Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector. Dr. John M. Ivancevich holds the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professorship in Organizational Behavior. His many research interests include goal setting, withdrawal, and training. Dr. Ivancevich is an Academy of Management Fellow.
In the past few years, a seemingly endless stream of academic literature and advertisements, as well as popular books and videotapes which tout the benefits of diversity1 in the workplace have filled bookshelves and the airwaves. Increased diversity has been suggested to enhance problem solving capabilities of a group, to provide better service to a diverse customer base, and to boost organizational creativity. To harness all of these activities into a cogent plan, it has further been suggested that organizations engage in ‘diversity management.’ Diversity management is a voluntary organizational program designed to create greater inclusion of all individuals into informal social networks and formal company programs. Voluntary organizational diversity initiatives may be particularly important in an era in which the concept of affirmative action is changing. Currently a number of states, as well as the courts, are debating the future fate of affirmative action. The end result may be the dismantling of programs which are perceived as providing advantage for any specific group. Consequently, it may be necessary for organizations desiring a diverse workforce to cultivate their own unique methods for addressing diversity. While diversity management is popularized in the literature as a necessary program for organizations desiring to remain competitive, the
Journal of Business Ethics 21: 61–76, 1999. © 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
J. A. Gilbert et al. examples of the word ‘quota’ being used in association with affirmative action can be found (Smith, 1978; ‘The New Bias,’ 1981; Whitmire, 1984; Yang et al., 1995). The Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education distinguished between ‘quotas’ and ‘goals’ as follows: Quota – an assigned share, a proportional result, a fixed division of numbers, must remit, precise (no variation below or above), rigid, permanent. Goal – a purpose, try to meet, subject to variation depending on circumstances,...
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