Magazine article Black Enterprise

Devalued by Diversity: The Answer Lies in Whether This Business Imperative Empowers or Excludes Blacks

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Devalued by Diversity: The Answer Lies in Whether This Business Imperative Empowers or Excludes Blacks

Article excerpt

The meaning of diversity over the last few decades has morphed from an altruistic opportunity to right the ills against black Americans in this country to a business imperative that is all-embracing of other cultures, walks of life, and sexual preferences. In many cases, the broad definition has left African Americans in corporate America feeling marginalized. At the same time, roughly 75% of the largest Fortune 500 companies have developed some sort of diversity initiative, but many are still struggling with implementation and success. According to a recent study by the non-profit women's organization Catalyst called Advancing African American Women in the Workplace: What Managers Need to Know, black women "judge diversity policies as having limited benefits and are pessimistic about their own opportunities to advance to senior management." How do black employees and candidates determine whether a firm is a right fit?

Marlon D. Cousin, managing partner of the Marquin Group, an executive search firm specializing in diverse talent, offers several key factors in determining how efficiently diversity is managed in an organization. Typically, he says, the focus is on how many diverse people a company hires, but there are several other components below to consider:

   Top-level positions. How many African Americans hold senior
   executive positions or manage large groups of people?
   "Typically, you hit a glass ceiling when you talk about
   [diverse] senior executives within an organization. … 
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