Traditionally, the issue of diversity generally focused on gender and race. As more women and minorities began entering the workforce, organizations began to look seriously at diversity. A few years later, these organizations realized the impact baby-boomers would have on them. The workforce is aging and younger workers are more diverse in race and ethnicity than in the past. Women are now obtaining more college degrees than men, but are still earning less than men and holding fewer senior leadership positions across industries. The move into the global market also stressed the need to understand diversity. As a result of these changes, employers have had to rethink the strategies used to achieve their diversity goals.
In response, a new definition of diversity has emerged – one that includes the traditional categories of race and gender, but also includes age, ability, sexual orientation and other social identities. The way organizations view diversity has also evolved from a resistance paradigm, a discrimination-and-Fairness paradigm, an access-and-legitimacy paradigm, to an integration-and-learning paradigm. In this week’s readings we will explore the dynamics of dominant and non-dominant groups.
If we are to create organizations that maximize employee potential, we must understand how unconscious bias impacts the decisions that we make. We will also look at the concept of meritocracy and examine the role of privilege from a societal and group perspective rather than an individual perspective. This requires us to take a systemic rather than individual experience perspective.
We will develop an understanding of what an integrated approach to managing diversity entails. We will think about three levels of organizational change and analyze diversity components including authentic leadership commitment, organizational communication, inclusive recruitment practices, and long-term retention strategies. We will also explore how we develop our implicit beliefs and assumptions about others and the world around us. Our beliefs about others impact how we treat others in the workplace and who has subtle advantages and subtle disadvantages that have nothing to do with talent, ability, skill or knowledge.