The Challenge of Managing Diversity in the Workplace: Corporate America Is Responding to the Changing Demographics of the Work Force with a Variety of Diversity Management Programs

Black Enterprise, July 1993 | Go to article overview

The Challenge of Managing Diversity in the Workplace: Corporate America Is Responding to the Changing Demographics of the Work Force with a Variety of Diversity Management Programs


America's work force is changing -and changing rapidly. By the year 2000, it's expected that only one in seven new employees will be a white male. And as more minorities and women join the work force and the population ages, it will be the companies that manage diversity well who will come out ahead in tomorrow's highly competitive environment.

The old way was to assimilate diversity - to expect people to hide or adapt their cultural differences so they fitted the mold of the company's dominant culture. The new way is to treat diversity as an asset that brings a broad range of viewpoints and problem-solving skills to the company. Good diversity management frees employees of the need to assimilate and play it safe, and encourages them to develop their strengths and present innovative ideas.

Diversity management is very much a long-term process. It means taking a long look at the company's current culture and changing those parts of it that limit cultural diversity. It means recruiting new employees for the skills they can bring to the company rather than their cultural homogeneity. And it means working with people in management to help them understand that cultural diversity is a business issue and that their own careers will benefit from enabling their employees to reach their full potential.

Changes like these have to come from very high in the organization. "You have to reach the people who normally never get touched when these interventions take place," says Ben Harrison, of Ben Harrison Associates Inc. in Oakland. Ironically, it's the members of the "white male club" he says, who are most important in managing workplace diversity. "The changes in the demographics are not yet power shifts. White males still control the resources, and they are probably the most misinformed group, and also the group that carries the most fear. The reports refer to them as the |new minority,' something they've never been before. And the reason they fear things is that no one has explained to them the importance of their involvement."

Elsie Y. Cross, of Elsie Y. Cross Associates Inc., agrees. "Twenty years ago, discrimination was the norm," she says. "And it's still built into the fiber of most companies. Changes have to start with the CEO. He (and it's always a |he') has to understand that this is a business issue. If he invested in new machinery, he would expect to spend time and money teaching people how to use it. Well, he's now dealing with a heterogeneous work force instead of a homogeneous one, and people need to be taught to work with it."

How do you reach CEOs with the diversity message? "By talking about the business bottom line," says Harrison. "If the demographic reports tell us we are going to be faced with an abundance of less educated employees, then as the CEO, I want to be sure that I'm going to get the most talented people to come and work for my company. I have to position my organization to become an employer of choice. The reason they want to come to work here is that we value human resource differences, we manage diversity, we take care of the quality of work life for our employees."

This won't happen overnight; it can be done, however, and it can be done well. Towers Perrin conducted surveys of 200 organizations in March 1990 and October 1991, producing a report titled Workforce 2000 Today: A Bottom-Line Concern. According to this report, 54% of respondents (senior human resource managers) said that management support for work force-related programs had increased over the last two years - recession and economic woes notwithstanding. Two factors were the leading contributors: 95% attributed the increased support to greater senior management awareness, and 89% acknowledged the need to attract and retain a skilled work force.

Workforce 2000 Today also showed that many companies are finally waking up to the need for change. By 1991, when the second survey was taken, issues of cultural diversity and women in the work force were becoming increasingly important in decision-making and strategic planning - especially strategic planning. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Challenge of Managing Diversity in the Workplace: Corporate America Is Responding to the Changing Demographics of the Work Force with a Variety of Diversity Management Programs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.