The Inclusive Workplace: An Ecosystems Approach to Diversity Management

By Mor Barak, Michal E. | Social Work, July 2000 | Go to article overview

The Inclusive Workplace: An Ecosystems Approach to Diversity Management


Mor Barak, Michal E., Social Work


This article's main argument is that organizations need to expand their notion of diversity to include not only the organization itself, but also the larger systems that constitute its environment. The concept of "the inclusive workplace," introduced here, refers to a work organization that is not only accepting and using the diversity of its own work force, but also is active in the community, participates in state and federal programs to include working poor people, and collaborates across cultural and national boundaries with a focus on global mutual interests. Using an ecosystems perspective, the article outlines a value-based model and a practice-based model of the inclusive workplace as they pertain to the different organizational levels, from the micro to the macro. Finally, implications for the social work profession are drawn with specific case examples for each system level.

Key words: diversity; ecosystems; organizations; social work intervention; work

The problems arising from today's workforce diversity are caused not by the changing composition of the work force itself but by the inability of work organizations to truly integrate and use a heterogeneous work force at all levels of the organization (Cox, 1991; Fernandez, 1991). Granted, some corporations are including diversity goals in their strategic planning and are changing organizationwide policies, but even those changes are focused mainly on internal processes of the organization. This article's main argument is that organizations need to expand their notion of diversity to include not only the organization itself, but also the larger systems that constitute its environment. Organizational policies and actions that are inclusive can benefit all system levels from the individual worker through the work organization to the wider community.

The concept of "the inclusive workplace," introduced here, refers to a work organization that is not only accepting and using the diversity of its own work force, but also is active in the community, participates in state and federal programs to include working poor people, and collaborates across cultural and national boundaries with a focus on global mutual interests.

The inclusive workplace is defined as one that

* values and uses individual and intergroup differences within its work force

* cooperates with and contributes to its surrounding community

* alleviates the needs of disadvantaged groups in its wider environment

* collaborates with individuals, groups, and organizations across national and cultural boundaries.

The social work profession can play a key role in the conceptualization and implementation of such a model for the workplace. The value system reflected in this model is congruent with basic social work principles, and the skills needed to implement programs to increase workplace inclusion are consistent with professional social work skills and competences. The issue of diversity and inclusion takes on special urgency in human services organizations. Women and racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately represented among the clients of human services agencies as well as in their staff (Gibelman & Schervish, 1993). The extent to which workers from diverse backgrounds feel included in the organization may have a direct bearing on their job satisfaction and commitment and influences the quality of services provided as well as the workers' own health, mental health, and social functioning (McNeely, 1992).

This article presents a conceptual framework relevant to social work practice on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. The question addressed by this article is not whether diversity is good for the organization, but how to manage it effectively. Viewed from an ecosystems perspective, the notion of organizational inclusion--exclusion is used as a focal point to examine two models--value-based and practice-based--for understanding and managing workplace diversity. …

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 Inclusive Workplace: An Ecosystems Approach to Diversity Management
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.