Stereotypes & Diversity

What Is Diversity?
Although definitions vary, diversity simply refers to
human characteristics that make people different
from one another
Individual characteristics over which a person has
little or no control include biologically determined
characteristics such as race, sex, age, and certain
physical attributes, as well as the family and society
into which he or she is born.
It is important to keep in mind the distinction
between the sources of diversity and the diversity
itself. Without this distinction, stereotyping tends to
Diversity in Organizations
African Americans
Asian Americans
Older workers
Latinos (Hispanic Americans)
People with disabilities
The foreign born
Glass Ceiling
Old Boys’ Network: An informal social and
business network of high-level male
executives that typically excludes women
and minorities. Access to the old boys’
network is often an important factor in
career advancement.
Management of Diversity
The set of activities involved in
integrating nontraditional employees
(women and minorities) into the work
force and using their diversity to the firm’s
competitive advantage.
Diversity as an Asset
Greater creativity. Employee diversity can stimulate
consideration of less obvious alternatives.
Better problem solving. Homogenous groups are
prone to a phenomenon called groupthink, in which
all members quickly converge on a mistaken solution
because they share the same mindset and view the
problem through the lens of conformity.
Greater system flexibility. In today’s rapidly
changing business environments, flexibility is an
important characteristic of successful firms.
Challenges in Managing Employee
Valuing Employee Diversity
In some ways, the idea that diversity is good runs
counter to the “melting pot” tradition.
Individual versus Group Fairness
How far should management go in adapting HR
programs to diverse employee groups?
Universal Concept of Management: The management
concept holding that all management practices should be
Cultural Relativity Concept of Management: The
management concept holding that management practices
should be molded to the different sets of values, beliefs,
attitudes, and behaviors exhibited by a diverse work force.
Challenges in Managing Employee
Resistance to Change
Although employee diversity is a fact of life, the
dominant groups in organizations are still
composed of white men.
Group Cohesiveness and Interpersonal
Employee diversity can also lead to open conflict
and chaos if there is mistrust and lack of respect
among groups; segmented communication
One study found that most communication within
organizations occurs between members of the
same sex and race.
Challenges in Managing Employee
In a vast majority of U.S. organizations, equal
employment opportunity (EEO) was a forced change
rather than a voluntary one.
While women and minorities may view a firm's “cultural
diversity policy” as a commitment to improving their
chances for advancement, white men may see it as a
Challenges in Managing Employee
The job satisfaction levels of women and
minorities are often lower than those of white
Competition for Opportunities
As minority populations grow in the U.S.,
competition for jobs and opportunities is likely
to become much stronger.
Improving the Management of
Adopt an inclusive definition of diversity that
addresses all kinds of differences among
employees, including (but not limited to) race
and gender.
Make sure that top management is not only
committed to establishing a diversity program
but also communicates that commitment
directly to all employees.
Improving the Management of
Diversity training programs: Programs that
provide diversity awareness training and
educate employees on specific cultural and sex
differences and how to respond to these in the
Avoid one-shot training efforts that stir up emotions
without channeling them in productive directions.
Use ongoing training that encompasses diversity as
only one facet of needed change in the corporate
Improving the Management of
Support Groups: A group established by an
employer to provide a nurturing climate for
employees who would otherwise feel isolated
or alienated.
Accommodation of family needs:
Day Care
Alternative work patterns
Senior mentoring programs
Improving the Management of
Communication standards
Organized activities
Diversity audits
A review of the effectiveness of an organization’s
diversity management program.
Management responsibility and accountability
Some Warnings
Avoid the promotion of stereotypes
Don’t confuse diversity with Equal
Employment Opportunity
Don’t confuse diversity with performance