Magazine article Management Today

Brain Food: Masterclass - Diversity

Magazine article Management Today

Brain Food: Masterclass - Diversity

Article excerpt

What is it? 'Let a thousand flowers bloom,' said Chairman Mao, long before the days of gardening makeover shows. The phrase sums up the ethos of diversity - even if, as with Chairman Mao's cultural revolution, the rhetoric might cover up a less attractive reality. In the business context, believers in diversity argue that today's diverse customer base is better served by a diverse workforce, one that looks and sounds more like the customers it is trying to please. A diverse workforce, the argument runs, will be more creative and more dynamic than a mono-cultural one. The same old faces will only ever come up with the same old ideas.

Where did it come from? After the toughening of equal pay and race discrimination legislation in the 1970s, the drive for genuinely equal opportunities became more urgent. But cultural and attitudinal change proved elusive.

Partly as an attempt to rejuvenate the tired old 'equal opps' debate, experts hit on the term 'diversity' to convey the benefits of achieving progress in this area. …

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