Managing Diversity in Public Sector Workforces. (Book Reviews)

Article excerpt

Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press (167 pp)

Reviewed by Joanne Howard, director, GFOA Professional Development Center, Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Norma M. Riccucci does the field of public policy and administration a service by writing Managing Diversity in Public Sector Work forces, her well-researched book that traces how the American workforce has become more diverse. The American workforce looks markedly different than it looked even 20 years ago. White women, people of color, disabled persons, new and recent immigrants, gays and lesbians, and intergenerational mixes now work in America. Dr. Riccucci makes the case from start to finish why diversity training and development in public sector organizations is so important.

After introducing the reader to the changing nature of the public sector workforce in Chapter 1, Dr. Riccucci traces the history of diversity in America, starting with equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. She juxtaposes the concept of diversity with these two important avenues of access to the workplace. The discussion of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action is accomplished in an orderly and comprehensible fashion that gives the reader a mini-history lesson along the way.

In Chapter 4, Dr. Riccucci not only describes the racial and ethnic mix of workers in public employment, but she also provides strategies for managing diversity in the workplace. This chapter is best described as a history of redressing past employment problems. In this context, Dr. Riccucci writes about eradicating racial harassment, adhering to affirmative action, and preparing the workers for diversity through training and development.

Dr. Riccucci introduces the concept of backlash very effectively in Chapter 4 by detailing the commentary most heard in public sector organizations about the lack of qualifications and the lowering of standards. She offers suggestions on how to deal realistically with these reactions, referring readers to the National Coalition Building Institute, a nonprofit leadership training organization. …