Information

On this page are summaries of some informational items that relate to diversity. The original title of each of these articles is listed, followed by its summary.  You can click on any of the titles and be linked to the original document.

Different Faiths Share Holidays   What? Different religions but similar values! This article is from the Dayton Daily News.Short, and to the point, the piece shows how holidays with different names and practices all seem to address basic human needs, which suggests that at the deepest levels, we are all similar to each other.  Even when we pray.

The Downside of Diversity  This is an article from the Boston Globe newspaper.  The article describes a paradox.  Diversity seems to make people uneasy, but also leads to improved performance of organizations. These are the findings of a major social study that is cited by the article. The study found that civic participation is dampened when the racial or ethnic diversity of a community is increased.  People appear to be more reluctant to vote or volunteer for civic projects in less homogeneous environments.  They also report that they feel less trusting of others, and more protective of people most similar to themselves.  The report refers to this as a ‘hunkering down’ effect.  But over the long run, the individuals in these groups integrate themselves into larger groups, in which goals are attained through the contributions of each smaller group. Because everyone ends up benefiting, social barriers lose their strength.  

Diversity Definitions  From a private sector consultancy, this is a list of terms that may come up in a discussion about diversity in the workplace.  These terms and definitions may provide some common ground for discussions about the workplace.

Employee Diversity Training Does Not Work          This article from Time Magazine states that nothing works like old fashioned accountability when it comes to real diversity.  Diversity training has not reliably protected people or firms from bias.  But, according to the article, a management attitude that demands the best results from its staff can combat extraneous inefficiencies like racial discrimination.  The article states that assigning a manager to take responsibility for eliminating obstacles to diversity in the job has been an effective technique when coupled with a focus on productivity and organizational excellence.

An Overview of Diversity Awareness     This is a long, but reader friendly, paper from Penn State .   The paper urges us to be aware of globalization, demographics and ethnic pride.  These three factors make cultural diversity a reality that knows no political boundaries.  The paper offers many statistics and graphics to demonstrate the growth of racial and ethnic diversity in the general population of the United States ,  and in our foreign trading partners. 

Tips For Managers – Generation and Gender in the Workplace     From the Families and Work Institute, this is an outline of the benefits and strategies associated with maximizing the unique values of older workers.  Experienced hands and minds can mentor and advocate for younger staff.  The experience will be a good counterweight to institutional inertia that constrains the careers of working single heads of households.

Good for Business, but Insufficient for Social Change      Bias experienced by your clients and employees will reflect prejudice that resides in our society.  This article promotes a racial justice approach to diversity issues in the workplace, and presents the view that institutions, rather than individuals, should be the focus of efforts to make changes in the way that people are treated.  The article argues against the use of  hiring quotas and focus groups as sole methods of achieving diversity, because they focus on the affected individuals, and “ask the individual to speak for the interests of the entire constituency.”  Instead, the racial justice approach insists that management be proactive in establishing a ‘level playing field’ by assuming that prejudice has and will impact the workplace, and that prejudice generally favors those who have the most power in society.    

Diversity awareness programs may provide an opportunity for people to comment on their own experiences, or their own awareness, but such programs should not be used to foist the responsibility for change on the very people who are harmed by the failure of such changes to occur.  The article suggests that true diversity flows from the ability of people who receive special favor to understand their own circumstances, as well as those of others.  In other words, heal yourself first, but make sure you’re sick. 

Diversity Illustrated      What if the whole world was just one neighborhood? This is an illustration of what a group of 100 people would look like, if that group accurately represented the world wide distribution of people by race, religion, and income.  Such illustrations are useful in assessing just how diverse a group of employees or clients really are, compared to the rest of the world.

Communications Styles and Behaviors     This is a piece taken from a larger work, and we have no author or publisher to cite for it.  However, it does a nice job of presenting a broad perspective on some very common human behaviors. It reminds us that a lot is communicated by non-verbal behavior. The way we look at people, where or how we stand and other factors can overshadow the meaning or message that we are trying to convey with our words.