Building Successful Multicultural Organizations: Challenges and Opportunities

Building Successful Multicultural Organizations: Challenges and Opportunities

Building Successful Multicultural Organizations: Challenges and Opportunities

Building Successful Multicultural Organizations: Challenges and Opportunities

Synopsis

Fine maintains that just to remain competitive as the U.S. workforce becomes culturally diverse, organizations must not only recognize the inherent multiculturalism within their walls, but must actively transform themselves into such organizations. Her book thus explains how cultural differences affect workplace behavior and provides ways for management to work with them, not against them. After reviewing the changing demographics of the workforce and discussing how present practices are exclusionary, Fine provides detailed descriptions of the values, norms, beliefs, and behaviors of various ethnic groups and women and the dysfunctional interactions among groups. Nine case studies document diversity initiatives in public, private, and not-for-profit organizations, and lead to numerous concrete ways to train employees in multicultural understanding and create policies and practices that acknowledge, value, and incorporate cultural differences into the organization itself. The result is an analytical, research-based discussion for scholars, researchers, and others in the academic community - and a practical guide to the complexities posed by multiculturalism for organization management at all levels in both the public and private sectors.

Excerpt

Shortly after the middle of the next century, non-Hispanic whites will no longer be the majority cultural group in the United States. For many Americans, who were raised, as I was, in all-white or nearly all-white communities, the vision of a multicolored, multicultural nation is incomprehensible. For some who grew up believing that the American way is the white way and the only way, that vision is disturbing and frightening.

This chapter provides a brief overview of the changing demographics of the U.S. population and the ways in which those changes will affect the work force in the twenty-first century. The purpose of the chapter is to provide a context for understanding why organizations need to address issues of cultural diversity in the workplace, and to demystify the plethora of numbers and projections about demographic changes that is bandied about in the popular press.

OUR CHANGING COLOR AND ETHNICITY

Although projections about the changing racial and ethnic make-up of the U.S. population now seem to appear everywhere, the Bureau of the Census only recently began collecting data on race and ethnicity. The Federal government had no particular reason to collect statistics on race until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Even then, there were no standard definitions of race or procedures for collecting data on race until the 1970s. By then, the explosive growth of the multiracial Hispanic population in . . .

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