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This course will focus on four lenses, each with its own way of exploring the
world based upon different assumptions and approaches. When we examine a
topic of diversity through different lenses, it may alter the way we look at the
topic. The four general education interdisciplinary lenses are history,
humanities, natural and applied sciences, and social science.
History is the study of the past and its connection to the present. It
encompasses content, memories, and events situated in time.
Humanities is the study of cultures’ creative expression and
contemplates metaphor, experience, and meaning.
Natural and applied sciences study the material world grounded in the
scientific method.
Social sciences study human relationships and social structures
grounded in demographic and statistic measurements.
When we look at an event in our lives, we often jump between different
frameworks to make sense of it. For instance, if we attend a music concert we
might move from an artistic lens (How did they create the musical score?) to a
technical lens (How does all the lighting work?) to a financial lens (How much
money do the performers earn?). Similarly, looking through the general
education interdisciplinary lenses can help us see things from other
perspectives by giving us a conscious way to analyze them, helping to
broaden our perspective.
For the project in this course, you will examine a topic in diversity through one
of the four general education interdisciplinary lenses. This assignment
prepares you to choose that topic and lens by applying all four lenses. Before
completing this activity, review the Project Guidelines and Rubric and IDS 400
Library Guide to know exactly what you will be working on. You may still
change your choice of topic and lens until the next module.
For this activity, you will write a short paper on a diversity topic of your choice.
Review the module resources and visit the IDS 400 Library Guide for guidance
on how to select a topic. Choose a topic in diversity that you are interested in.
It could be a topic you have personally experienced or a topic that you are
interested in knowing more about. Apply each lens to your topic by using its
language and perspectives.
You are required to answer each question below the rubric criteria use them to
better understand the criteria and guide your thinking and writing.
Specifically, you must address the following rubric criteria:
1. Describe your existing knowledge about your topic in diversity.
a. You might describe your personal experience with the topic, what
you learned in school, or what your assumptions are about the
topic. Ask, what do I know (or think I know)?
2. Apply the history lens to your topic.
a. Using the language of history as it is defined in your resources,
and as it is used in history-focused journals, how would you write
about your topic? What events and dates have occurred that are
important to your topic? Has the significance of the topic
diminished or shifted with time? Who are the authors of the
historical record(s) related to your topic?
3. Apply the humanities lens to your topic.
a. Using the language of the humanities as it is defined in your
resources, and as it is used in humanities-focused journals, how
would you write about your topic? What meaning does your topic
have within cultures? How do people express themselves with
regards to your topic? What are people’s lived experiences with
your topic?
4. Apply the natural and applied sciences lens to your topic.
a. Using the language of the natural and applied sciences as it is
defined in your resources, and as it is used in natural and applied
sciences–focused journals, how would you write about your topic?
How might the scientific method be used to examine some aspect
of your topic? How might your topic relate to the physical or
material world? Are there any challenges to viewing your topic
5. Apply the social science lens to your topic.
a. Using the language of the social sciences as it is defined in your
resources, and as it is used in social science–focused journals, how
would you write about your topic? Who is affected by your topic?
How might your topic affect interpersonal relationships? What
social structures and systems relate to your topic?
What to Submit
Submit your short paper as a 2- to 3-page Microsoft Word document with
double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins.
Sources should be cited according to APA style. Consult the Shapiro Library
APA Style Guide for more information on citations.
CQ Researcher
Diversity in the Workplace
Is it good for business?
he American work force, predominantly
white and male throughout history, is
becoming more and more diverse. Women
now comprise almost half of the labor force,
while the number of African-American, Hispanic and
Asian-American workers is increasing more rapidly than
the number of whites. The increased diversity has created
strains in many workplaces. It also has spawned a
specialized industry of consultants to advise organizations
on how to manage the new mixture of race, gender and
culture at work more effectively — and how to avoid the
THE ISSUES ……………………… 891
BACKGROUND ………………… 897
CHRONOLOGY ………………… 899
AT ISSUE ………………………….. 905
kind of discrimnation suits that ensnared Texaco. Some
OUTLOOK……………………….. 906
critics say the diversity movement has fueled hostility
BIBLIOGRAPHY ……………….. 908
toward white males. But diversity advocates say they are
THE NEXT STEP ……………….. 909
helping employees and employers alike to value cultural
differences and maximize the productivity of all workers.
Oct 10, 1997 • Volume 7, No. 38 • Pages 889-912
Formerly Editorial Research Reports
• Has the diversity
movement been good for
American business?
• Are diversity training
programs effective?
• Should affirmative
action policies be cut
Corporate Inaction?
Diversity supporters and
critics disagree over the
progress corporate
America has made in
removing barriers to
equal opportunity.
CQ Researcher
October 10, 1997
Volume 7, No. 38
Sandra Stencel
Thomas J. Colin
Sarah M. Magner
Richard L. Worsnop
Work Force Becoming
More Diverse
The percentage of minorities is expanding.
Charles S. Clark
Mary H. Cooper
Kenneth Jost
David Masci
Women Catching Up to
Nearly half of the work
force will be female by
Vanessa E. Furlong
Recognizing Diversity
In the 1960s, the federal
government began
passing laws ensuring
equal workplace opportunities for women and
minority workers.
The Diversity Industry
A new cadre of human
resource experts now
helps employers cope
with new laws and
increased workplace
White Male Backlash
Growing criticism of
diversity was fueled by
the effect of corporate
downsizing on senior
white, male employees.
Policies and Practices
Texaco and Bell Atlantic
are among the big firms
that now promise
respect, tolerance and
equal opportunity for all
Preferences and Pitfalls
Critics of affirmative
action cite what happened in Piscataway, N.J.,
as an example of the
costs of racial preferences.
CQ Researcher
Training Programs Stress
Awareness and Sensitivity
Most programs are conducted by internal staff.
Texaco Gets the Diversity
After being sued, the giant
oil firm took action.
Key events since passage of
the Equal Pay Act in 1963.
Gays Getting More
Workplace Support
Many firms now have antibias policies.
At Issue
Has the “diversity movement” been good for
American employers?
Selected sources used.
The Next Step
Additional articles from
current periodicals.
Congressional Quarterly Inc.
Andrew Barnes
Andrew P. Corty
Robert W. Merry
David Rapp
Copyright 1997 Congressional Quarterly Inc., All
Rights Reserved. CQ does not convey any license,
right, title or interest in any information — including information provided to CQ from third parties
— transmitted via any CQ publication or electronic
transmission unless previously specified in writing.
No part of any CQ publication or transmission may
be republished, reproduced, transmitted, downloaded or distributed by any means whether electronic or mechanical without prior written permission of CQ. Unauthorized reproduction or transmission of CQ copyrighted material is a violation
of federal law carrying civil fines of up to $100,000
and serious criminal sanctions or imprisonment.
Bibliographic records and abstracts included in
The Next Step section of this publication are the
copyrighted material of UMI, and are used with
The CQ Researcher (ISSN 1056-2036). Formerly
Editorial Research Reports. Published weekly,
except Jan. 3, May 30, Aug. 29, Oct. 31, by
Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1414 22nd St., N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20037. Annual subscription
rate for libraries, businesses and government is
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Periodicals postage paid at Washington, D.C.,
and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER:
Send address changes to The CQ Researcher,
1414 22nd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037.
Diversity in the Workplace
aymond Smith engineered the
merger of two multibilliondollar regional telephone companies this summer. Then he stepped
in front of several thousand minority
employees and took on an arguably
bigger challenge: He pledged to create a ‘‘climate of respect and open
dialogue’’ throughout the company.
‘‘The new Bell Atlantic will be a
place where ‘diversity’ isn’t just another word for complying with the
law of the land,’’ Smith said in New
Brunswick, N.J., late last month. Diversity is also a ‘‘positive management
obligation’’ to provide training and
opportunities ‘‘for all employees.’’
As the chairman of Bell Atlantic
before its merger with Nynex, Smith
had proudly called the company’s
record of hiring and promoting minorities ‘‘very good,’’ though ‘‘not
perfect.’’ But the mid-Atlantic company also had faced lawsuits charging that minority workers at Bell
Atlantic encountered a racially hostile work environment and persistent
barriers to career advancement.
Now, the enlarged company —
with customers stretching from Maine
to Virginia — is reshaping its corporate structure and internal procedures
to create what Smith calls ‘‘a tolerant,
diverse workplace.’’
The steps Smith plans to take
include improving the company’s
companywide internal complaint
hotline and designating a vice president in charge of ethics and diversity
to report directly to the chairman.
Most important, Smith said, the
company’s managers will now be
required to ‘‘manage diversity the
way they manage any other critical
business initiative: with specific goals,
objectives, measurements and plans.’’
On paper, the steps match recommendations often made by a growing
cadre of so-called diversity consultants — human resources experts specializing in helping companies manage a work force that becomes more
and more diverse every day. Across
much of the country, plants and
offices once filled mostly with white
men now have more women and
more minority workers. (See graphs,
pp. 892, 893.)
From one perspective, the new,
increasingly diverse American workplace creates the potential for an array of problems ranging from increased day-to-day conflicts to litigation over alleged discrimination that
can produce major legal and public
relations headaches. In the most dramatic example, Texaco agreed to
settle an embarrassing racial discrimination suit in November by promising to pay $140 million to black employees, hire and promote more minority employees and provide diversity training sessions for all 29,000 of
the giant oil company’s employees.
(See story, p. 896).
But experts urge companies to
view their diversity not as a problem
but as a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is learning how
to turn the diversity into greater pro-
ductivity. The opportunity is creating
a workplace where everyone contributes his or her full potential.
‘‘The organization must recognize
that its success and its effectiveness
are dependent not only on the aspects that we all have in common but
also on the value of the differences
that each of us brings,’’ says Lewis
Griggs, a San Francisco diversity
consultant and one of the founders
of the diversity movement.
Many of the country’s biggest companies, as well as government employers, now profess agreement with
the philosophy expounded by diversity consultants and have instituted
diversity programs — often hiring diversity consultants to help design and
implement them. (See box, p. 894.)
But some critics view the diversity
movement’s effects on the workplace
as unhealthy.
‘‘Diversity campaigns push a political agenda’’ linked to ‘‘campus multiculturalism’’ and ‘‘numbers-oriented affirmative action,’’ says Frederick R.
Lynch, an associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna College
in Pomona, Calif. In his sharply critical
book The Diversity Machine, Lynch
writes that the movement is promoting
a ‘‘multicultural revolution in the American workplace’’ that poses ‘‘a substantial threat’’ to individualism, equality of
opportunity, equal treatment and ‘‘a
sense of national unity and cohesion.’’ 1
Many diversity consultants, however, say the drive to change workplace culture has less to do with
politics or philosophy than with
demographics and economics.
‘‘It’s based on workplace realities —
just the sheer changing demographics
of the work force — on ethnicity,
culture and gender,’’ says Michael
Wheeler, a consultant in New York
City who has worked on the issue for
The Conference Board, an economicresearch organization. ‘‘You don’t nec-
Oct. 10, 1997
aging diversity’’ requires both understanding group and inThe percentage of whites in the work force is declining while the percentage of minorities
dividual differences
— particularly Asians and Hispanics — is expanding.
and ‘‘redesigning’’ the
workplace. Everyone
has to change, Thomas
says, ‘‘not just the ones
that are different.’’
White, non-Hispanic
But critic Lynch
says that approach
amounts to ‘‘permanent pluralism’’ —
exemplified by the
rise of employee
work groups for racial and ethnic mi20
norities and others.
2.5 6.1
He also says diversity
consultants advocate
creating different
standards for different kinds of workers.
Sources: The ASTD Training Data Book, American Society for Training and Development, 1996;
‘‘They say you’ve got
Howard N. Fullerton Jr., ‘‘Employment Outlook 1994-2005,’’ Monthly Labor Review, November
to take cultural differ1995.
ences into account,’’
Lynch explains. ‘‘But
that opens the door to
subversion of the law — because
essarily need to change everything a setting geared to the upward mobil- equal treatment is the law of the land.’’
As the debate over diversity concompany is doing,’’ Wheeler says, ‘‘but ity of all kinds of people, including
here are some of the quescorporate culture does need to be in white males.’’
alignment with these changes’’ in the
The affirmative action issue has not
work force.
faded, however. Opponents conAs for affirmative action, diversity tinue to charge that affirmative action Has the diversity movement
consultants generally support it but often results in fixed quotas for been good for American busimaintain that their work is different women or minorities that amount to ness?
Advocates of the diversity move— and could ultimately do more to reverse discrimination against white
hold out to private companies
open up hiring and promotion op- men. The Supreme Court, which has
of increased productivity
portunities for all workers.
chipped away at affirmative action in
workplace tensions.
‘‘Affirmative action had an essen- recent years, is set this term to conThey
the opportunity for
tial role to play and played it very sider a new case that may determine
by having a workwell’’ in correcting the ‘‘imbalance’’ how much discretion public and priplace
the increasingly
in the workplace, R. Roosevelt Tho- vate employers have to consider radiverse
in the United
mas Jr., another of the diversity cial diversity in employment decisions
movement’s founders, wrote in an (see p. 904).
organizainfluential article in 1990. Thomas,
Meanwhile, diversity advocates and
founder and until recently head of experts stress that their work goes becan
the American Institute for Managing yond opening up opportunities for
Diversity at Morehouse College in women and minorities. ‘‘Diversity is re- are different and use the ability of evAtlanta, argued that affirmative ac- ality,’’ Thomas says. ‘‘All kinds of diver- eryone even if they don’t fit within the
tion alone could not ensure ‘‘a work sity are reality.’’ Thomas says that ‘‘man- traditional culture of the organization,’’
Work Force Becoming More Diverse
CQ Researcher
says Julie O’Mara, a diversity consultant that the movement has hurt compa- increase in workplace tensions. But
in Northern California.
nies by encouraging separatism within they say that the open communicaCritics acknowledge that diversity the workplace and by introducing tion stressed by diversity consultants
may bring some marketing advan- double standards for hiring and evalu- ultimately helps resolve tensions.
tages for companies. But they also ating employees.
‘‘Very often, things that have been
say that the productivity benefits are
‘‘The diversity rhetoric is a code for swept under the rug can be brought
unproven and that tensions in the rethinking qualifications,’’ says writer to life and have to be dealt with,’’
workplace are more often increased Heather MacDonald, who authored a O’Mara says. ‘‘Sometimes you can
rather than decreased.
sharply critical 1993 article on the di- have an increase in difficulties over
‘‘It’s destructive,’’ says John Leo, a versity movement. 5 ‘‘I frankly do not the way to resolve them.’’
U.S. News & World Report columnist. believe that there are different ways
For his part, Thomas says organi‘‘It renders hostile the two sexes and to manage blacks and whites. That’s a zations may fail to see results from
the many races that could have got- racist view. The ideas of competence their diversity efforts because they
ten along fine without it.’’
and ability should be colorblind.’’
focus only on hiring rather than
Many companies cite the marketing
Lynch notes that many diversity managing a diverse work force. ‘‘Nine
advantages of having a diverse work consultants advocate creating work times out of 10, they’re not talking
force. ‘‘Our customer base is becoming groups based on ethnicity. ‘‘It fo- about diversity, they’re talking about
extraordinarily sensitive to companies ments separatism,’’ he says, ‘‘and you representation,’’ Thomas says.
that don’t have a work force that re- can wind up with these organizations ‘‘Where we have not made a lot of
flects the customer base,’’ says Edward acting as quasi-unions.’’
progress is in creating an environN. Gadsden Jr., director of diversity at
Diversity proponents acknowledge ment where it’s easy to sustain
Texaco. ‘‘It just makes good business that poorly done training sessions progress in relations, not to mention
can result in at least a temporary productivity.’’
But critics say that
the strategy has racist
underpinnings. ‘‘The
idea that Hispanics
can sell better to HisWomen are expected to comprise nearly half of the work force by 2005, while the
panics or Asians can
percentage of men is expected to shrink to slightly more than 50 percent.
sell better to other
Percent of
Asians, I think that’s
work force
really pernicious,’’
Lynch says.
As for the claimed
increases in productiv46.0
ity, even proponents of
diversity acknowledge
that they cannot prove
the benefits in quantitative terms. ‘‘The jury
is still out with regard
to the effectiveness of
diversity programs,’’
write the authors of the
pro-diversity book The
American Mosaic. 4
Lynch emphasizes
this admission in his
critique of the diverSources: The ASTD Training Data Book, American Society for Training and Development, 1996;
sity movement. But
Howard N. Fullerton Jr., ‘‘Employment Outlook 1994-2005,’’ Monthly Labor Review, November
he and other critics go
further and contend
Women Are Catching Up to Men
Oct. 10, 1997
equivalent of junk
food,’’ says Sussman, who spent sevMore than three-quarters of the diversity training programs being offered by firms
eral years at Digital
stress awareness, sensitivity and cooperation. Most programs last for one day or less
Equipment Corp. ‘‘It
hasn’t changed anyand are conducted by internal staff.
thing. They’ve put
Percent of programs
thousands of people
stressing this topic
through training,
and you can’t notice
that there’s any
Getting things done with others
Some outside critEqual Employment Opportunity
see no need for
and affirmative action laws
training proAccommodating special needs
grams whatsoever. ‘‘I
Reducing intergroup conflict
do not believe that
Changing corporate culture
racism is so wideAssimilating diverse employees
spread in the workDealing with backlash
place that you need
to ship everybody off
for re-education,’’
Sources: The ASTD Training Data Book, American Society for Training and Development,
MacDonald says.
1996; Ideas & Trends in Personnel, May 26, 1993.
But Robert Hayles,
a consultant in MinGriggs is somewhat more upbeat them into the companies,’’ says Har- neapolis, says diversity programs have
about improvements in workplace re- ris Sussman, a diversity consultant in a broader agenda than race and gender. ‘‘It has provided a very healthy
lations, but he also sees the need for Cambridge, Mass.
Advocates insist that diversity train- forum for all kinds of differences,’’ says
more thoroughgoing change. ‘‘There’s
been enormous progress,’’ Griggs says, ing serves a useful purpose by pro- Hayles, who formerly worked with the
moting understanding between dif- Pillsbury Co. ‘‘It has given us oppor‘‘but a lot more needs to be done.’’
ferent types of people within work- tunities to enhance the quality of work
Are diversity training programs places. ‘‘A lot of dialogue has been life and the performance of organizacreated over the past 10 years that tions by dealing with all those
Diversity training has gone from has helped corporations go way differences.’’
Lynch maintains that diversity proan innovation to a commonplace in beyond equal employment opportuless than two decades. Surveys indi- nity and affirmative action toward grams are likely to be poorly received
when they are introduced to countercate a large percentage of major cor- valuing differences,’’ Griggs says.
But the critics say diversity training act the effects of a public controversy
porations have instituted some form
of diversity program — some only too often takes a confrontational ap- over charges of discrimination.
‘‘What do you think people going
for managers, others like Texaco for proach. ‘‘There’s a tendency for this
all employees. Initially, the programs to slide very quickly into a critique of through that diversity training are
were widely praised, but criticism the system and particularly of what going to think?’’ he says. ‘‘They’re
has increased with the spread of the [diversity consultants] call white male going to think it’s punitive. We’re
having to go through this because
programs — both from outside ob- monoculturalism,’’ Lynch says.
Sussman agrees that diversity con- those guys [in management] blew it.’’
servers and from some consultants
O’Mara acknowledges that some
and experts within the diversity in- sultants often are unnecessarily
adversarial. At other times, though, he employees may balk at diversity traindustry as well.
‘‘There has been mismanagement says the training sessions are ‘‘short- ing. ‘‘They’ll think they’re a prisoner
and malpractice on a grand scale both term’’ efforts with little substantive con- for a day,’’ she says. But later, she
says, ‘‘the feedback we get is that
by some of the [consultants] and by tent and no ongoing value.
‘‘Often what companies get is the they did not feel threatened.’’
some of the people who have brought
Training Stresses Awareness and Sensitivity
CQ Researcher
Still, some observers doubt that any nation, first by encouraging and then tively together across all our differof the work produces concrete benefits. by requiring government contractors ences,’’ Griggs says. ‘‘But that hasn’t
Clifford Alexander, a former secretary to hire greater numbers of African- happened fully.’’
‘‘I’m very pro-affirmative action,
of the Army and head of the Equal Em- American workers. From the outset,
ployment Opportunity Commission critics warned that the policies would but I also know affirmative action has
(EEOC), was recently hired to examine result in hiring or promotion quotas some limitations,’’ Thomas says. ‘‘Dehiring, pay and promotion practices at — selecting applicants on the basis mographic representation’’ is still important, Thomas says, but diversity
R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co., the giant of race rather than qualifications.
Those criticisms have steadily in- management goes beyond looking at
Chicago printing firm, after it was hit
with racial discrimination and harass- creased as the policies expanded at ‘‘the numbers’’ to redesigning the
ment lawsuits. Prior to his assignment, all levels of government to include workplace to fit a diverse work force.
Critics insist that the diversity
Alexander reportedly was sharply criti- not just blacks but other minority
groups and women, and to cover not movement is simply changing the
cal of diversity training.
‘‘Diversity training is generally non- only employment but also college and terminology to avoid the negative
connotations that
sense,’’ The Wall Street
affirmative action
Journal quoted Alexhas taken on. ‘‘Diander as saying in inversity management
terviews. ‘‘I have yet to
wants to separate
see a diversity-training
itself desperately
program that’s led to
from affirmative
the promotion or hiraction,’’ Lynch says.
ing of a woman or
‘‘Affirmative action
minority.’’ 6
is thoroughly tarred
But Hayles said that
in the public mind
he saw concrete benwith quotas and
efits from the diversity
promoting incomprograms he instituted
during his five years
‘‘What modern
with Pillsbury. ‘‘Superaffirmative action
visors and managers
and diversity does
became more personis to reward people
ally effective,’’ Hayles
based on race, color
says. ‘‘The quality of
The Rev. Jesse Jackson calls for a boycott of Texaco on Nov. 16, 1996,
following settlement of its multimillion-dollar discrimination suit.
or gender,’’ Lynch
life improved for all
adds, ‘‘because in
employees, as measured by lower turnover and by surveys university admissions and govern- diversity management you are supment contracting. But supporters of posed to reward differences, and difand focus groups.’’
‘‘Most organizations do believe that affirmative action — including many ferences are linked to skin color.’’
Opponents of affirmative action
work in this arena can result in greater employers, both public and private
productivity,’’ O’Mara says. ‘‘That’s — say the policies have helped them have made headway in the past few
one of the reasons why most orga- find qualified workers without lead- years in limiting but not eliminating
nizations are sticking with diversity ing to quotas or imposing unfair bur- the policies. During the 1980s, the
Supreme Court restricted the ability
even though affirmative action tends dens on white, male employees.
For their part, the proponents of of government employers to impleto be on the downside of the curve
workplace diversity defend affirma- ment affirmative action plans if they
right now.’’
tive action at the same time that they required layoffs of existing workers.
acknowledge its weaknesses and The court also limited the use of
Should affirmative action
distinguish it from their own goals racial preferences in government
policies be cut back?
contracting in 1989 and ’95. And last
The federal government coined the and methods.
‘‘Ideally, we wouldn’t even need year, the justices left in place a ruling
phrase affirmative action in the 1960s
to denote policies aimed at eliminat- something like affirmative action be- by a federal appeals court that barred
ing the effects of past racial discrimi- cause we would be acting so affirma- racial preferences in admissions by
Oct. 10, 1997
After Accusations of Racial Insensitivity . . .
n the years before diversity, Texaco Inc. promised
Americans that they could trust their cars “to the man
who wears the star.” But that trust was shaken last
year when the big oil company was hit with devastating
accusations of racial insensitivity and corporate misconduct.
Now Texaco has embarked on a crash program to
regain the public’s trust. For the past nine months, the
men and women who wear the big red Texaco star —from
the company’s headquarters in White Plains, N.Y., to its
refineries on the Gulf and Pacific coasts — have been
taking two days off from their regular jobs for a “diversity
learning experience.”
A force of about 50 consultants are guiding small groups
of Texaco workers to talk about their attitudes on race,
gender and culture and how those attitudes may be
affecting their work.
Many employees come to the sessions with varying
degrees of skepticism, according to consultants who have
been conducting the sessions.
“Some people are not real sure why they’re there,” says
Maxine Carpenter, a consultant with McKinley and
Associates in Alexandria, Va. “Some think they’re being
punished for what a few people did. They think they’re
not responsible for what came out in the media last
But Carpenter and Steven Rivelis, a Baltimore-based
consultant, both say most employees find the sessions
worthwhile. “My experience is that 99.98 percent of them
public colleges and universities. In
addition, California voters approved
a ballot initiative in November barring state and local governments from
using racial or gender preferences in
employment, college admissions or
Now, the Supreme Court is about
to consider a new affirmative action
case that opponents hope will curtail
the use of racial preferences by governments and perhaps by private
employers as well. The case stems
from a racial-discrimination suit filed
by a white high school teacher in
New Jersey who was laid off while
a black teacher in the same department with equal seniority was kept
on. The Piscataway school board says
it kept the black teacher to promote
CQ Researcher
understand the business implications [of corporate
sensitivity] afterward,” Rivelis says. “They understand the
role that they play in making a work force more responsive.
They realize that it’s up to them to help make changes in
the company, and they move very fast in that direction.” 1
Texaco officials say they are nearly halfway toward the
goal of putting all of their nearly 20,000 U.S. employees
through the sessions by the end of next year. The
mandatory training appears to be unprecedented in scope
and speed for a company of Texaco’s size. But the company
agreed to a number of other precedent-setting steps this
year in settlement of a three-year-old civil rights suit brought
by African-American employees who claimed they faced
discriminatory barriers to advancement.
The far-reaching plan also calls for Texaco to broaden
recruitment, create a companywide mentoring program and
institute new, more objective, personnel-evaluation procedures
for promotion. In addition, managers will be evaluated —
and their compensation determined — on the basis of their
“equal employment opportunity and diversity performance.”
The changes are being overseen by a seven-member task
force headed by Deval Patrick, the former head of the Justice
Department’s civil rights division.
“The task force is trying to create some cultural change
at Texaco and replace discriminatory, haphazard systems
with ones that are fair and create equal opportunity for
everybody,” says Cyrus Mehri, a Washington lawyer who
represented the plaintiffs in the case.
racial diversity, but the white teacher
claims the layoff violated federal jobdiscrimination laws.
Several civil rights groups have
filed briefs urging the high court to
allow school boards to consider racial diversity in making employment
decisions. Promoting faculty diversity is ‘‘a compelling interest,’’ the
American Civil Liberties Union argues, because it ‘‘enhances the educational experiences of students.’’
But conservative groups filed briefs
this month urging the court not to recognize diversity as a justification for
race-conscious employment decisions.
‘‘The problem with diversity as a
rationale is that it is incapable of any
concrete meaning or limitation,’’ says
Clint Bolick, vice president of the In-
stitute for Justice. ‘‘It’s purely a subjective criterion and is therefore a rationale for open-ended preferences.’’
Lynch contends that today’s affirmative action policies represent a
distortion of their original purpose.
‘‘The original mission of affirmative
action was to open the gates of
opportunity to everyone,’’ he says.
‘‘Once you’ve done the best you can
to opening your doors and recruiting
everybody, then everybody ought to
be judged by the same standard.’’
But Hayles says affirmative action
is still needed. ‘‘I think about affirmative action as a specific tool designed
to enhance diversity when it’s not
present,’’ he says. ‘‘You should
proactively seek the diversity that you
do not have but need.’’
. . . Texaco Seeks to Regain Public Trust
The six Texaco employees who originally brought the
suit in federal court in White Plains in March 1994 charged
that they had been passed over for promotions at the
company on account of their race. The lead plaintiff, BariEllen Roberts, a senior financial analyst, said she lost a
position to a white man with less experience — and was
then told to train him.
“I filed suit a week later,” she told a reporter. 2
Texaco denied wrongdoing but moved to settle the suit
last November after the disclosure of tape-recorded
conversations about the case among company managers.
The tapes — secretly made by a former executive, Richard
Lundwall — appeared to show the managers belittling
black employees and discussing concealment or destruction
of documents relating to the case. Initially, one of the
executives was understood to have used a racial epithet
on the tape. An independent analysis of the tape later
showed that the word was not used, but the firestorm of
criticism that had been unleashed all but forced Texaco to
end the suit as quickly as possible. 3
The settlement — agreed to in principle on Nov. 15,
1996, and approved by U.S. District Court Judge Charles
Brieant on March 26, 1997 — carried a total price tag of
$176 million. All salaried African-Americans who were on
Texaco’s payroll between March 1991 and November 1996
were eligible for lump-sum payments averaging over
$60,000; those currently employed were also to receive an
11.4 percent salary increase. Texaco also agreed to spend
Recognizing Diversity
he U.S. work force has always
been racially and ethnically diverse. African-American slaves
worked on Southern plantations before the Civil War, and most of their
freed descendants stayed on as sharecroppers after emancipation. Chinese
‘‘coolies’’ helped build the railroads
in the West, and Mexican braceros
picked fruits and vegetables in California and the Southwest. White
about $35 million over the next five years on the diversity
program and new personnel procedures.
Mehri says the changes will benefit Texaco. “When you
have an entrenched glass ceiling, when you have processes
that reward a good-old-boy system instead of a merit
system, you don’t benefit from the full talent of the work
force,” Mehri says. “What [Deval Patrick] is working on is
to create systems that are more objective, that will allow
talent to rise to the top and not to have artificial barriers
to people’s career development.”
Consultant Rivelis says he also foresees positive changes
from the diversity training. “I’m already hearing people in
the field say that management is listening to them, that they
are more comfortable about raising issues,” Rivelis says.
But Rivelis says the test will be whether management
sticks with the new attitude toward diversity and workplace
“If senior leadership is behind it, and doesn’t just treat
it like the new flavor of the month but is committed to it,”
he says, “then organizations can change, and change
For background, see The Baltimore Sun
June 15, 1997, p. 1D.
The New York Times , July 14, 1996, p. 13WC (Westchester County
weekly section). Roberts has since left Texaco and plans to write a
book about the case.
Lundwall is awaiting trial, along with Texaco’s former treasurer, on
federal charges of obstruction of justice in connection with his conduct
in the suit.
immigrants also made their contributions: The Irish helped build the
country’s skyscrapers, Jewish women
operated the sewing machines of
New York’s garment industry and
Scandinavian lumberjacks cleared the
great forests of the Northwest.
For most of U.S. history, however,
workplace diversity was neither ‘‘recognized’’ nor ‘‘honored,’’ as the authors of The American Mosaic put it. 7
Wages and working conditions were
terrible for women and minorities,
and their opportunities for advancement were limited by institutionalized discrimination. Labor unions
helped redress some of the grievances for white males. 8 For the most
part, however, they did little to challenge racism or sexism in the work-
place. In fact, unions in many instances helped enforce the barriers
that kept women and minority workers in a second-place status.
Those barriers began to fall with the
entry of women into the work force
during World War II and, afterwards,
the rising demand for labor brought on
by the United States’ growth into a global economic superpower. Then, beginning in the 1960s, the federal government began to dismantle the legal
barriers that had blocked advancement
for women and minority workers. The
Equal Pay Act of 1963 required employers to give men and women equal pay
for equal work. A year later, Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited
discrimination by most private employers on the basis of race or national ori-
Oct. 10, 1997
gin. The law was extended in 1972 to
cover state and local governments also.
Congress in 1965 also opened the
door to a new wave of immigration that
was to dramatically increase workplace
diversity over the next three decades. 9
The Immigration and Nationality Act
Amendments of 1965 abolished a national-origins system weighted toward
European countries and repealed stringent restrictions on Asian immigration.
The new law allowed immigration from
both the Western and Eastern hemispheres, with no fixed country ceilings.
The effect of the law was seen quickly.
Most U.S. immigrants had always come
from European countries. But since
1970, the proportion of Europeans has
declined sharply, while the number
from Latin America and Asia has risen.
The new legislation combined to
bring into the workplace large numbers of workers from racial and ethnic minority groups and to give them
legal rights to equal opportunities
with white workers. Meanwhile,
women were also entering the work
force in larger numbers — also with
legal rights to equal treatment. 10 The
postwar boom was still raising living
standards for most workers, but white
men, accustomed to having preferences for the best jobs and opportunities for advancement, now faced
greater competition for America’s
economic bounty.
Birth of Affirmative Action
The resulting strains were exacerbated by the birth of affirmative action. The federal government in 1970
explicitly adopted a hiring policy
based on proportional representation
of minority group workers. A directive known as Order No. 4 required
federal contractors to present ‘‘specific goals and timetables’’ to correct
‘‘underutilization’’ of minorities,
which was defined as ‘‘having fewer
minorities in a particular job class
than would reasonably be expected
by their availability.’’ A year later, the
CQ Researcher
order was expanded to cover women
as well.
In addition to the government contracting policy, private companies had
an incentive to adopt affirmative action
policies to try to prevent being held
liable for past discrimination. White men
disadvantaged by the new preferences
for women and minorities, however,
saw the schemes as a violation of the
Civil Rights Act itself and challenged
some of the plans in the courts. In 1979,
one of those challenges reached the Supreme Court and resulted in a limited
decision backing voluntary affirmative
action plans.
The case — United Steelworkers of
America v. Weber — stemmed from an
agreement between Kaiser Aluminum
Co. and the steelworkers to allot to black
workers half of the slots in a new training program at a Louisiana plant. Brian
F. Weber, a white worker who would
have been entitled to one of the slots
based on seniority, challenged the plan
and won two lower court rulings that
barred the use of racial preferences in
affirmative action plans. In a 5-2 decision, however, the high court ruled that
‘‘voluntary, race-conscious affirmative
plans’’ designed to ‘‘break down old
patterns of racial segregation and hierarchy’’ were legal as long as they did
not ‘‘unnecessarily trammel the interests of the white employees’’ — for example, by requiring the discharge of
white workers.
The Diversity Industry
he growth of civil rights legislation and affirmative action policies
combined with the increased diversity
of the work force to make personnel
policies more difficult and more important for employers. Over time, the
difficulties spawned the creation of a
new specialty and eventually a new
business in the human resources field:
the diversity industry.
The two major founders of the
diversity movement both began developing their theories in the early
1980s. 11 Griggs and Thomas were
graduates of prestigious business
schools, Stanford and Harvard, respectively. Both men brought to their
work a civil rights sensibility, but
each began by responding to concrete business needs.
Griggs and his first wife, Lennie
Copeland, produced a video training
series called ‘‘Going International,’’
aimed at helping multinational corporations prepare their employees for
dealing with international differences.
After some businesses indicated a
desire to adapt the tapes to help deal
with racial and gender diversity in
domestic operations, Copeland and
Griggs raised $450,000 from 32 major
corporations to produce the first of
their ‘‘Valuing Diversity’’ video series.
The first of the tapes — ‘‘Managing Differences,’’ ‘‘Diversity at Work’’
and ‘‘Communicating Across Cultures’’ — were completed in 1987.
They were aimed at helping managers understand the effects of ethnic
and gender stereotyping on women
and minorities and helping workers
learn how to deal with cultural differences in the workplace. The tapes
sold well. More titles followed, along
with a recently produced CD-ROM.
Today, Griggs says the tapes have
been bought by 5,000 companies and
‘‘thousands’’ of individuals.
Thomas recounts in his book Beyond Race and Gender that he began
developing his views on managing
diversity while serving as dean of
Atlanta University’s Graduate School
of Business Administration. 12 A corporate manager suggested that Thomas develop ‘‘something’’ to help
white males manage their black
employees. Thomas writes that he
was ‘‘offended’’ by the suggestion
that managers needed special assisContinued on p. 901
Before 1950
White males hold sway in U.S.
workplaces; women and
minority workers face pervasive discrimination in pay
and job opportunities.
enacts major anti-employment-discrimination laws.
Equal Pay Act requires most
employers to pay equal compensation to women doing the same
work as men.
Title VII of Civil Rights Act of
1964 prohibits most private
employers from discriminating in
hiring, promotion or other personnel decisions on the basis of
race, color, religion, sex or
national origin. Act is extended to
government employers in 1972.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination
in employment on the basis of
age against workers or potential
workers between 40 and 65.
action policies are developed
by federal government and
upheld by Supreme Court.
Nixon administration requires
federal contractors to set “specific goals and timetables” for
minority employment. Order is
extended to women in 1971.
June 27, 1979
Supreme Court upholds voluntary affirmative action plans by
private employers (United Steelworkers of America v. Weber).
movement” is born; affirmative action comes under fire
but is reaffirmed with some
Lewis Griggs and Lennie
Copeland produce the first of
their “Going International”
videos to help U.S.-based companies deal with cultural differences in other countries; videos
are forerunners of their sevenpart series “Valuing Diversity,”
which first appears in 1987.
May 19, 1986
Supreme Court strikes down
affirmative action plan by local
school board requiring layoffs of
white teachers to preserve jobs
of less senior black teachers
(Wygant v. Jackson Board of
March 25, 1987
Voluntary affirmative action
plans for women are upheld by
Supreme Court (Johnson v.
Transportation Agency of Santa
Clara County).
October 1987
Workforce 2000 projects that
women and minority group
workers will comprise a growing
percentage of U.S. work force
through the rest of the century.
movement gains acceptance
but also faces criticism.
March 1990
R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr.’s influential article “From Affirmative
Action to Affirming Diversity”
appears in the Harvard Business
July 26, 1990
Americans With Disabilities Act
is signed into law, prohibiting
discrimination in employment
against persons with physical or
mental disabilities.
May 1991
First annual National Diversity
Conference is held in San
May 1992
Second National Diversity Conference is held in Washington;
attendance peaks at 450 persons.
Nov. 5, 1996
California voters approve ballot
initiative banning racial or gender
preferences by state or local
governments in employment,
minority contracting or college
and university admissions.
Nov. 15, 1996
Texaco agrees to $176 million
settlement of racial-discrimination
suit; company adopts plan in
December for all 29,000 Texaco
employees to attend two-day
diversity training sessions.
June 27, 1997
Supreme Court agrees to hear
suit brought by white schoolteacher laid off in favor of black
teacher because of racial diversity (Piscataway Township Board
of Education v. Taxman).
Oct. 10, 1997
Gays Slowly Getting More Workplace Support
or her first six years as a computer programmer at
the Ford Motor Co., Alice McKeage did what most
lesbians and gay men do at work: She watched her
pronouns. When she talked about her weekend dates, she
changed their gender, and she never put their pictures on
her desk.
Four years ago, however, McKeage realized that staying
in the closet was taking its toll on her both personally and
“Someone made a derogatory comment about gays,” she
recalls, and she spent the rest of the day at her desk, fighting
back tears. “I was not a productive employee,” she says.
A few months later, McKeage decided to take action.
Along with a gay colleague in the engineering department,
she wrote a two-page letter to Ford’s vice president for
human relations, carefully explaining the ways that the
workplace environment was inhospitable to gays and
lesbians. They asked merely to start a dialogue. And they
signed their names.
To their surprise, Vice President Jack Hall wrote back
thanking them for their letter. He had received similar
letters, he told them, but none had been signed. He
welcomed the meeting.
Three years later, Ford provides a better climate for gay
and lesbian workers, McKeage says. The company
supported her efforts to start a network for gay, lesbian
and bisexual workers. It also agreed to join the growing
number of U.S. corporations that have adopted policies
prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Still, McKeage says, progress has been slow, especially
for gay, blue-collar plant workers, who often face explicit
hostility from their colleagues.
“That’s who I get the most complaints from,” McKeage
says. “When they try to get help, they may not get management
support. And they don’t get support from their union. This
is an issue that unions don’t want to get involved in.”
What happened at Ford reflects the workplace
environment for a growing number of gay and lesbian
workers today, according to gay rights advocates. Several
hundred companies have anti-gay bias policies, and 11
states plus the District of Columbia prohibit employment
discrimination based on sexual orientation. 1 But most
homosexual workers still have no legal or corporate
safeguard against losing a job or promotion because of
their sexual orientation. And most have no assurance of
management or union support in dealing with anti-gay
slurs or worse from their co-workers. 2
“It’s a situation that’s improving,” says Kerry Lobel,
executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task
Force. “The culture is changing, the climate is changing —
but one company, one community, one state at a time.”
The diversity movement can take some credit for the
CQ Researcher
changing attitude, but only some. The issue is “typically
lower on the list because it raises issues of religion, personal
identity and sexual identity,” says Robert Hayles, a
Minneapolis-based diversity consultant. “It is a difficult,
challenging issue, but it is nonetheless one that offers
opportunities for workplace improvement and market
enhancement if we deal with it successfully.”
Companies have been especially slow to accept homosexuality at the top, Lobel says. “If you look at major
companies, there are very few openly gay or lesbian CEOs,”
Lobel says. She blames the situation on homophobia. But a
retired Ford executive who rose to the company’s secondranking position while keeping his homosexuality virtually
secret says companies are simply seeking to avoid controversy.
Homosexuality “is still a controversial subject,” Allen
Gilmour told Fortune magazine recently. “And businesses
don’t want their executives to be controversial.” 3
In the interview, Gilmour recalled that some at Ford
suspected his homosexuality despite his careful efforts to
keep it secret. He said that when he was a contender to
become chief executive officer in 1992, he worried that the
suspicions might hurt his chances. Another candidate, with
broader experience, was chosen. “Whether being gay hurt
my chances,” Gilmour told the interviewer, “I honestly don’t
know. I’ve heard some people say it did, but I doubt it.”
Most firms with anti-bias policies have not suffered a
backlash, but one — the Walt Disney Co. — is the target of
a boycott by the Southern Baptist Convention over the issue.
In the legislative arena, opponents of laws to prohibit
discrimination against gays argue the measures would give
homosexuals “special rights,” prevent employers from
disciplining sexual misconduct and pave the way for quotas
based on sexual preferences. Supporters say none of those
fears has materialized in the states with gay-rights laws.
For herself, McKeage says she feels the increased openness
at Ford has helped her be more productive even though she
realizes that some of her co-workers disapprove of her lifestyle.
“I’m no longer sitting at my desk stewing about comments
that are made,” she says. “And I don’t spend time worrying
about, ‘Oh, my God, did I say the wrong thing?’ ”
McKeage feels secure enough to put a picture of her
partner on her desk. But her colleague in founding the
gay-lesbian work group — which now numbers about 180
members — is still in the closet.
The states are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts,
Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and
For background, see Renee Blank and Sandra Slipp, Voices of Diversity:
Real People Talk about Problems and Solutions in a Workplace Where
Everyone Is Not Alike (1994), pp. 138-150.
“My Life as a Gay Executive,” Fortune, Sept. 8, 1997, p. 107.
Continued from p. 898
tance to deal with black employees.
But eventually he concluded that, in
fact, there was a need to explore
whether managers needed to do
things differently with a more diverse
work force.
In his seminal 1990 article ‘‘From
Affirmative Action to Affirming Diversity’’ in the Harvard Business Review,
Thomas argued that companies had to
accept that women and minorities no
longer wanted to be assimilated, and
that managers had to learn how to deal
with ‘‘unassimilated diversity’’ in the
workplace to prevent it from producing inefficiencies and conflict. Expanding on the theme in his book a year
later, Thomas stressed the need for corporate change. ‘‘Changing the root culture,’’ he wrote, ‘‘is at the heart of the
managing diversity approach.’’ 13
These early works in the diversity
field came as businesses were digesting a Labor Department-commissioned report that projected a continuing increase in workplace diversity for the remainder of the century.
The report, Workforce 2000, prepared
by the conservative Hudson Institute,
accurately noted that the growth rates
of many minority groups were exceeding the growth rate of white nonHispanic males. As a result, the report
said, white men would constitute a
lower percentage of the total work
force. 14 The report had exaggerated
impact, however, because of a typographical error in the book’s executive summary that incorrectly projected the percentage of white men
entering the workplace would fall to
only 15 percent. Despite a correction
in a later printing, the incorrect statistic was widely quoted — fostering a
sense of urgency among business
executives about addressing changes
in workplace diversity. 15
Suddenly, diversity experts had a
market for their information and
views among the country’s biggest
companies. Firms were willing to pay
four- and five-figure prices for diversity training seminars run by Griggs,
Thomas and many others. Some
companies balked at the expense or
the time, and others worried about
creating a backlash among white male
managers. But many people who
went through the exercises said they
were worthwhile. After going through
a three-day seminar, a woman manager at Ortho Pharmaceuticals said
she was ‘‘embarrassed’’ to realize the
racial stereotypes that she brought
with her into the workplace. 16
Corporate executives were often
among the most fervent converts to the
diversity movement. Thomas used his
work with Avon Products as a case
study in his book. The giant cosmetics
company’s top executive reciprocated
with a foreword that fully embraced
Thomas’ views about the importance of
managing diversity. ‘‘America is not a
melting pot, but a great mosaic,’’ James
E. Preston, Avon’s CEO, wrote. ‘‘And
the successful organization must reflect
that mosaic.’’ 17
White Male Backlash
he diversity movement gained
momentum and visibility in the
1990s by holding a series of ‘‘national
diversity conferences’’ and continuing to win acceptance from government and private employers. But it
also attracted a smattering of criticism. A few outside observers depicted diversity consultants as commercial hucksters selling employers
feel-good nostrums in politically
correct packaging. In addition, a
white male backlash helped fuel
growing resistance to affirmative
action that reached an important
milestone with the passage of the
California initiative banning racial
and gender preferences by state and
local governments.
The first of the national diversity
conferences, held in San Francisco in
May 1991, attracted 300 people from
government, corporations and nonprofit organizations. Lynch, who attended the first three annual meetings
first as an observer and later as a gadfly panelist, has described the session
as a celebration both of diversity and
of the diversity movement.
‘‘We have spawned a business, a
movement, an industry,’’ Price Cobbs,
an African-American psychiatrist and
author and one of the conference cosponsors, told the opening gathering. 18
Lynch depicts the sessions as a mix
of bottom-line, civil rights and New
Age themes, with frequent criticisms
of white, male racism. Griggs, another
of the conference cosponsors, introduced himself as a ‘‘recovering racist,
classist and sexist.’’ Another speaker,
William Hanson, a Digital Equipment
vice president, recalled that he came
to Cobbs for help after encountering
problems managing the company’s
ethnically mixed plants in the 1970s.
Cobbs convinced him that the problem was ‘‘institutional racism.’’
Hanson began sending his managers
to intensive sensitivity workshops in
Cobbs’ offices. Later, Lynch recounts,
Hanson expanded Digital’s diversity
efforts to include ‘‘numerous focus
groups that discussed all manner of
The mood was less celebratory
when the second annual conference
was held in Washington a year later,
according to Lynch’s account. A backlash against diversity had begun to
form due in part to corporate
downsizing, which was displacing
many senior white males and leaving
many others anxious about their jobs.
In addition, the Los Angeles riots
touched off by the state court acquittals of the white police officers
charged with beating a black motorist, Rodney King, had provoked a
nationwide malaise about the state of
race relations.
Oct. 10, 1997
Still, the conference registration hit
a peak of 450 persons, drawn again
from major corporations, government
agencies and nonprofit groups. In a
keynote address, Thomas stressed the
importance of an expanded definition of diversity in part to deflect the
accusation that diversity was merely
a code word for advancing ‘‘black’’
issues. He also likened a diverse work
force to a jar of jelly beans — ‘‘a
unique, collective mixture of all differences and similarities in an organization,’’ as Lynch paraphrased it.
The white male backlash appeared
to grow over the next several years.
In a cover story entitled ‘‘White Male
Paranoia,’’ Newsweek reported in
March 1993 that 56 percent of white
males surveyed believed they were
‘‘losing an advantage in jobs and
income.’’ More than half — 55 percent — believed they were ‘‘paying
a penalty for the advantages they had
in the past,’’ and most of those —
five out of six — believed the penalty
was ‘‘unfair.’’ 19
Surveys among diversity consultants also reported evidence of a
white male backlash. The Society for
Human Resources Management reported in 1993 that ‘‘resistance’’
among white males was the major
roadblock faced by the diversity
movement. A year later, a survey by
The Conference Board found that
three-fifths of companies surveyed
identified fear of backlash among
white males as one of the three
most serious barriers to implementing diversity initiatives. 20
The white male backlash was
widely, if simplistically, depicted as
the major factor in the Republican
takeover of both houses of Congress
in the November 1994 elections. Since
then, some GOP lawmakers have
pushed legislation aimed at curbing
affirmative action by the federal government, but the bills have failed to
get out of committee. In California,
however, the anti-affirmative action
CQ Researcher
movement scored an important victory in 1996 when voters approved
a ballot initiative that prohibits race
and gender preferences by state or
local governments in employment,
college admissions or contracting.
The debate was focused, though, not
on workplace diversity but on university admissions — in particular, an
institutionalized system of racial preferences for entry into the state university system.
Lynch depicts the middle of the
decade as a period of frustration for
the diversity movement. The political
and economic adversities produced a
sharpened concentration on diversity
as a business strategy. ‘‘This is not
altruism,’’ remarks Joanne Miller, director of the Center for the New
American Workforce at Queens College, City University of New York.
(See ‘‘At Issue,’’ p. 905.) In addition,
the difficulties prompted some rethinking by both of the movement’s
major founders, Griggs and Thomas.
Thomas opened his new book
Redefining Diversity with a discouraged assessment that businesses were
‘‘little better equipped’’ to deal with
a multicultural work force than they
were in the days of overt racism. 21 At
length, he argued that corporations
would prosper if — but only if —
they learned the importance of fostering ‘‘mutual adaptation’’ within an
increasingly diverse work force.
Griggs was also emphasizing the
importance of moving beyond ‘‘our
non-discriminatory policies.’’ All too
often, he wrote in the preface to his
1995 book Valuing Diversity, affirmative action and equal opportunity
amounted simply to a dominant
group ‘‘giving’’ equal opportunity to
a less dominant group as long as they
agreed to ‘‘leave their differences at
the door.’’ ‘‘We need to shift our
course,’’ he concluded, ‘‘and affirm
our differences, accept our differences and, ultimately, value those
differences.’’ 22
Policies and Practices
ike most of the country’s biggest
companies, Texaco and Bell Atlantic have been working on diversity issues for years. Both companies
adopted policies that promise respect, tolerance and equal opportunities for all workers. But racial discrimination suits filed against both
firms indicate that the policies have
failed to completely root out racist
attitudes or prevent racist incidents.
Texaco suffered grievous embarrassment last November with the
front-page disclosure of tape recordings that captured company executives belittling blacks while discussing how to handle a suit charging the
company with racial discrimination
in hiring and promotion. Affidavits
filed in the suit, less widely reported,
included allegations from scores of
Texaco employees that they experienced racial epithets or stereotyping
at work. One black worker said that
throughout her employment three
supervisors ‘‘openly discussed their
view that African-Americans are ignorant and incompetent.’’ 23
Bell Atlantic employees also complained of racist stereotyping in the
workplace in a civil rights suit filed
in federal court in Washington last
fall. One worker in Pennsylvania said
white colleagues showed him a videotape portraying him as having
gotten his job because of his basketball skills. A Virginia employee said
he found a mock job application for
black applicants that asked such insulting questions as ‘‘name of father
(if known).’’ Both workers claimed
their supervisors did nothing after diversity packages ever adopted by a woman Rasmussen notes that three
they complained. 24
U.S. corporation.
employees were fired earlier this year
Officials at both companies say the
In addition to the diversity training for putting racist messages on the
incidents — if true — simply show for all Texaco employees, the accord company’s internal computer netthat companies cannot control the included a package of $115 million work. ‘‘We really do have a good
behavior of all employees at all times. in back pay for the 1,348 plaintiffs in record,’’ she says. ‘‘But doing the right
‘‘We have excellent human re- the case — an average of $63,000 for thing does not protect you from indisource policies,’’ says Texaco diver- each of the salaried workers — and vidual circumstances where somesity director Gadsden, a black execu- another $26 million in pay increases body might not act appropriately.’’
tive who has held the post since for current black salaried employees.
The attorney for the plaintiffs in
1994. ‘‘We expect people to abide by The company also agreed to increase the case, however, is less impressed
those policies and work
with Bell Atlantic’s policies.
within the framework of
‘‘They’ve created a lot of
those policies, but sometimes
affirmative action groups,
people don’t do that.’’
which our clients regarded
‘‘If there is discrimination
as pacifiers,’’ says John
out there, we cannot stop it
Hermina. ‘‘They’re very wellfrom occurring,’’ says Joan
versed in putting façades on,
Rasmussen, a Bell Atlantic
but it’s all superficial.’’
spokeswoman, ‘‘but we can
For its part, Texaco recreate an atmosphere where it
leased figures in late July
is not acceptable.’’
showing that minorities acCompliance problems result
counted for 38 percent of its
in part from the pressure that
new hires and 24 percent of
mid-level managers already
its promotions during the
feel in an increasingly uncerfirst six months of the divertain business climate. ‘‘Middle
sity plan. 25 But a religious
‘‘Diversity is reality. All kinds
managers get stuck with the
group that had lobbied
brunt of the responsibility of
Texaco on diversity issues
of diversity are reality. Managing
how this plays out,’’ says New
for many years is taking a
diversity in the workplace
York consultant Wheeler. ‘‘Diwait-and-see attitude toward
versity is seen as one more
the company’s implementarequires everyone to change,
thing to do.’’
tion of the plan.
To emphasize the impor‘‘We want to encourage
not just the ones that are different.’’
the positive things that are
tance of diversity, a growing
going on, but there are a lot
number of companies are
— R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr. of things that are unanadopting the step that Bell
Atlantic initiated last month:
Founder, American Institute for swered,’’ says Gary Brouse,
of equality programs
tying managers’ evaluations
Managing Diversity director
for the Interfaith Center for
— and, implicitly, compenCorporate Responsibility in
sation — to achieving speNew York. ‘‘We don’t have
cific diversity goals. But critics question the approach. ‘‘We’re the number of its minority employ- a grade for them right now.’’
right back to quotas,’’ says Lynch.
ees to 29 percent from 23 percent
For Texaco, the evidence in the and to take several steps to improve
three-year-old suit was too damning to promotion opportunities for minoriignore. Texaco Chairman Peter Bijur ties and other employees — includpromptly denounced the contents of the ing revised training and standards
tape and vowed corrective action. And and a new mentoring program.
acial diversity has long been a
the next month the company settled the
Bell Atlantic has not responded,
point of pride in Piscataway, an
suit by agreeing to what civil rights lead- publicly or in court, to the specific
ers described as one of the broadest allegations in its suit. But spokes- integrated suburban township in cen-
Preferences and Pitfalls
Oct. 10, 1997
tral New Jersey. But the town’s school
board now finds itself before the U.S.
Supreme Court because of its effort
to maintain a measure of racial diversity in the teaching staff at the
local high school. 26
When the school board found that
it had to lay off one of the school’s
business teachers in 1989 because of
declining enrollment, it faced a choice
between two teachers with comparable seniority and qualifications. The
only difference the board saw as
relevant to its decision was race:
Sharon Taxman was white; Debra
Williams was black — the only black
among the department’s 14 teachers.
In previous layoffs, the school
board had used random selection to
choose between teachers with equal
seniority. But in the interest of racial
diversity, the school board decided
to keep Williams and lay off Taxman.
‘‘The importance of diversity in the
educational environment was so obvious,’’ the school board’s lawyer, David
B. Rubin, recalls today. ‘‘It is a very,
culturally diverse community, and the
folks in the school administration believe that contributes to the educational
experience. We believe the same principle applies to the faculty.’’
Taxman, however, challenged the
layoffs as racial discrimination in violation of federal civil rights law. A
federal judge eventually agreed and
approved a jury award totaling about
$144,000 in back pay and interest.
Taxman was rehired in 1993, but the
case continued. And last year, the federal appeals court in Philadelphia
upheld the back pay award to Taxman
in a broadly written decision that said
affirmative action policies could be
justified only to remedy past discrimination, not to maintain or promote
racial diversity for its own sake.
In asking the Supreme Court to
overturn the decision, the school
board continues to argue the importance of diversity. But Stephen
Klausner, the attorney representing
CQ Researcher
Taxman, stresses that both the high
school and the overall school system
have racially mixed faculties. He says
the board’s concern with the racial
composition of a single department
at the high school is misplaced.
‘‘They’re arguing that the business
department wouldn’t have had a
diverse faculty,’’ Klausner says. ‘‘I
don’t buy that.’’ Williams ‘‘taught
keyboarding,’’ Klausner continues.
‘‘How much ethnic diversity can you
give on the keyboard?’’
For critics of affirmative action,
the Piscataway case presented an
ideal opportunity to dramatize the
costs of racial preferences in human
as well as policy terms. Both teachers
had been scarred by the episode.
Taxman, the white teacher, declines
to give media interviews, but
Klausner describes her as depressed
by the long-simmering controversy.
For her part, Williams complains that
the school board was wrong to have
used race as the only criterion at the
time of the layoff. ‘‘It really bothers
me every time I pick up the paper
and read that we had identical qualifications,’’ she told a New York Times
reporter over the summer. ‘‘We’re
not Siamese twins.’’
Civil rights supporters are bracing
for an adverse ruling in the case.
‘‘This court has not been looking
favorably on affirmative action plans,’’
says Theodore Shaw, associate director of the NAACP Legal Defense and
Educational Fund. ‘‘And these facts
involving a layoff situation are already difficult.’’
Political Hot Potato
The case has been a political hot
potato for President Clinton, who
promised to support affirmative action with his now-famous quote,
‘‘Mend it, don’t end it.’’ Under President George Bush, the government
had sided with Taxman after the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission had found probable cause for her
claim. Under Clinton, however, the
Justice Department sought to change
positions and side with the school
board. The appeals court refused to
let the government change sides, but
allowed it to withdraw from the suit.
After the school board asked the
high court to review the case in April,
the Justice Department urged the
court not to hear the dispute, saying it
was ‘‘not an appropriate vehicle’’ to
decide the broad question of non-remedial affirmative action. Now that
the justices have decided to hear the
case, the government is arguing that
the school board did show the need
to use race as the basis for its decision
to fire Taxman. But it also argues that
school systems can show in some circumstances ‘‘a compelling interest in
obtaining the educational benefits of
a racially diverse faculty at each of its
schools’’ and can justify the use of
race as ‘‘one factor’’ in making assignment or transfer decisions.
The justices are likely to hear arguments in the case in December or
January, with a decision due before
next July. Critics of affirmative action
are voicing confidence in the outcome. ‘‘We believe that the Supreme
Court has spoken repeatedly and
convincingly that past discrimination
is the only possible justification for
race-conscious governmental action,’’
says Clint Bolick of the Institute for
Justice, which is filing a brief supporting Taxman.
Court-watchers are uncertain and
divided on whether the justices are
likely to issue a sweeping ruling on
diversity and affirmative action or a
narrower decision limited to the
particular facts of Taxman’s case. The
key justice to watch, observers agree,
is Sandra Day O’Connor, who has
generally voted to restrict but not
prohibit the use of racial preferences
by government.
Supporters of affirmative action
warn that a broad ruling limiting the
Continued on p. 906
At Issue:
Has the “diversity movement” been good for American employers?
Director, Center for the New American Workforce, Queens
College, City University of New York
Associate professor of government, Claremont McKenna
College and author, The Diversity Machine
yes no
he diversity of American society is already present in
the workplace. It stems not from a “movement” to be
inclusive but from increasing demand for skilled labor
that is accelerating recruitment from non-traditional and
foreign labor markets. The kaleidoscope of issues that has
become associated with workplace diversity reflects the
many aspects of culture and social structure that are
affected by demography. They cannot be eradicated —
only unbundled and reinvented. This is the art and
science of management.
The transition from defining “diversity issues” as “the
problem” to managing diversity involves the realization that
demographic change affects the character of economic
adjustment and employment relations — not just the
composition of the labor force.
Economic pressures for downsizing in a global economy
encourage organizations to eliminate redundancy in
expertise and functions. The advantage of being similar is
no longer as comfortable when attention is focused on the
unique value added by each member of a company that
competes in international markets.
In restructuring, divisions of labor and authority are
more flexibly drawn to enable fast response to market
changes. People from different parts of the organization
are put together to solve problems. This introduces new
aspects of diversity to be managed, including differences
stemming from physical location, relative pay scales,
customary perks and temporary employment status.
As occupational and job segregation lessens, the people
directly competing for promotions and control over decisionmaking will be more heterogeneous, even if there was no
increase in the overall diversity of employees in a company.
Diversity has important implications for doing business:
competencies that are required to be competitive in global
markets, necessary knowledge, barriers to developing and
coordinating talent, new ways of working and the development of business trust among diverse people. The
question is not whether diversity is “good” for employers
but what constitutes “good management” of the diversity
that already characterizes the American labor force, global
competition and new employment relations. To blame the
courts, the liberals, the politicians, diversity consultants or
the intellectuals for unwanted prescriptions deflects
attention from the business imperative.
All of American society is impacted by shifts in demography. For some, the sense of motion discomfort is
overwhelming, and the immediate concern is getting it to
stop. Others set about recalibrating to maintain stability in
changing environments and assessing opportunity. The
latter is essential for managing the future.
iversity management theory and practice vary as
widely as the policies’ intended and unintended
consequences. Politically neutral, cross-cultural
training to improve sales and service for increasingly
heterogeneous urban or international customer bases is
probably useful. And employees welcome greater workplace flexibility through telecommuting, flex-time and
attentiveness to work-family issues.
Generally, however, the policies promoted by the
network of consultants and organizational sponsors that I
term the “diversity machine” do not deliver promised
payoffs of increased productivity and intergroup harmony.
Instead, diversity campaigns push a political agenda rooted
in three assumptions culled from campus multiculturalism
and numbers-oriented affirmative action: first, that lack of
ethnic-gender proportional representation at all organizational levels indicates institutional racism and sexism;
second, that an individual’s outlook is primarily determined
by his ethnic and gender group membership; and, third,
that legal standards and measures of merit were created by
and for white males — therefore, “equal treatment is not
fair treatment,” to quote a favorite maxim of consultants.
Assimilation and non-discrimination are passé. Permanent pluralism and “celebrating differences” are in. Other
sociological bases of difference and similarity — class,
age, education, sexual orientation — are usually ignored.
The polarization, group-think and censorship resulting from
top-down, politicized diversity were vividly described to me
by a high-level, African-American administrator at the
University of Michigan: “It used to be easier — when issues
weren’t framed around race and gender. Now there are
increasing divisions around color. There’s constant checking,
loyalty tests. Everyone is trying to be sensitive. You wonder:
Can I still say ‘dumb stuff’ and can it still be OK? It’s ironic:
the very thing we’re trying to do — appreciate how different
we are — and I can’t be different!”
There is no systematic, quantitative evidence that
artificially creating a heterogeneous “work force that looks
like America” has any substantive business value. And for
every individual testimonial on the alleged benefits of
work force diversity, there is a horror story of confrontational “blow-ups” and/or widespread cynicism among
employees that diversity reforms are merely a “flavor of the
month” designed to ward off discrimination lawsuits or
provide public relations penance for high-level gaffes.
Employers should reduce discriminatory barriers. But
they should avoid diversity machine prescriptions that
complexion or gender indicate special knowledge, skills, or
“cultural competency.” Instead, we should all re-emphasize
the values of non-discrimination and equal treatment.
Oct. 10, 1997
Continued from p. 904
use of racial diversity by both government and private employers could
create problems for companies that
have sought to promote diversity in
hiring and promotion. ‘‘I think it
would be enormously disruptive,’’
says Steven Shapiro, national legal
director for the American Civil Liberties Union.
But Roger Clegg, a lawyer with the
Center for Educational Opportunity
who is preparing a brief urging the
court to bar race-based hiring and
promotion decisions by private employers, disagrees. ‘‘A decision that
returned to the plain language of Title
VII [of the Civil Rights Act] would not
be disruptive,’’ Clegg says. ‘‘It would
be a good thing for employees of all
races and employers of all kinds.’’
Corporate Inaction?
iversity may be the buzzword
of the decade in American workplaces, but many diversity advocates
and experts say that employers have
been too slow in confronting its challenges and exploiting its opportunities. Critics, however, say the diversity movement has fostered a host of
changes in the workplace — mostly
for the worse.
‘‘There hasn’t been that much
change,’’ says Miller at Queens College. ‘‘Despite the rhetoric, companies still do not relate the issue of
diversity to productivity.’’
Miller and other diversity advocates see a host of barriers to full
implementation of the message that
they have been taking to employers
CQ Researcher
through the 1990s. Cost is one factor.
‘‘Training, generally speaking, is fairly
expensive,’’ O’Mara says. ‘‘You’re taking a lot of people off the job. You’re
paying people to deliver the training.
It is costly as an intervention.’’
Another barrier, Wheeler says, is
the time and effort required to develop the skills for managing a diverse work force. ‘‘Diverse teams over
the long term have better problemsolving abilities, but it takes time to
get there,’’ Wheeler says. ‘‘It’s easier
to work with a homogeneous workplace; it’s more predictable.’’
For her part, Miller says too many
employers view diversity as a legal
problem rather than a business opportunity. ‘‘They’re still very much in
a compliance-type of framework,’’
Miller says. ‘‘They don’t frame the issue of diversity as an opportunity to
expand the competencies of their organization, and they do not hold their
management accountable for managing diversity as a business asset.’’
Critics view the diversity movement’s influence as substantial and unhealthy. ‘‘A lot of demons have been
loosed,’’ Lynch says. ‘‘The ruling elites
look on affirmative action and diversity
management as social engineering to
prevent polarization and riots. It has a
spoils system mentality which a lot of
them have accommodated to.’’
‘‘Many retired people say that
double standards have been introduced into the workplace,’’ says
writer MacDonald. ‘‘Everybody is
terrified of firing or reprimanding
minority employees because they
know they’re going to be hit with a
discrimination suit.’’
Statistically, the changing demographics of the U.S. workplace are both
impossible to deny and easy to exaggerate. The predominance of white men
in U.S. workplaces is decreasing:
Women and minorities — AfricanAmericans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans — are entering the workplace at a
faster rate than white men. Still, whites
constituted 77 percent of the work force
in 1994, according to the Bureau of
Labor Statistics (BLS), and will still account for 74 percent of U.S. workers in
2005. Men will also continue to outnumber women in the workplace, according to BLS projections. Women’s
share of the labor force will increase
from 46 percent in 1994 to 47.8 percent
in 2005, the BLS says. 27
Moreover, white men continue to
hold a disproportionate share of the
senior managerial positions in corporate America, according to a report
by a congressionally created commission two years ago. The so-called
Glass Ceiling Commission found that
87 percent of the senior managers of
Fortune 1000 industrial and Fortune
500 companies were white, and 95
percent were men. Minority individuals were also paid less than whites
holding comparable positions, the
commission also found. 28
Diversity advocates say the statistics show how far corporate America
has to go in opening up opportunities for women and minority workers. ‘‘I’m disheartened by the degree
to which corporate America is an
apartheid system,’’ Sussman says. ‘‘I’m
disheartened by the failure of diversity practitioners to mount an effective social movement.’’
But critics insist that major corporations have dismantled the old barriers to equal opportunity. ‘‘When I
look at the corporate world, I see
corporations desperately trying to hire
minorities,’’ MacDonald says. ‘‘The
notion that there is a huge number
of hugely qualified minorities coming out of business schools being
overlooked by corporations too racist to hire them is simply fanciful.’’
The dispute over race and gender
equality in the workplace has raged
now for three decades and shows no
signs of abating soon. Despite its links
to those issues, however, the diversity movement insists that it has a different and broader lesson for employ-
ers: that all the people in an increasingly diverse workplace must be valued — even for their differences — if
organizations are to succeed.
‘‘Your edge in the competitive
world is not your technology, and it’s
not your product either for the most
part,’’ says Steven Rivelis, a Baltimore-based consultant. ‘‘Your edge
is your people. And if your people
are all performing at 100 percent, if
you’re utilizing all the talent in your
room, if you’re utilizing all the diversity, then you’re going to move forward faster.’’
Frederick R. Lynch, The Diversity Machine:
The Drive to Change the ‘White, Male’
Workplace (1997), p. 325.
R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., “From Affirmative Action to Affirming Diversity,” Harvard
Business Review, March/April 1990, p. 108.
For background, see “Rethinking Affirmative Action,” The CQ Researcher, April 28,
1995, pp. 369-392.
Anthony Patrick Carnevale and Susan
Carol Stone, The American Mosaic: An InDepth Report on the Future of Diversity at
Work (1995), p. 115.
Heather MacDonald, “The Diversity Industry,” The New Republic, July 5, 1993, pp.
22-25. MacDonald is now a writer for the
City Journal, published by the conservative Manhattan Institute.
The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 30, 1997, p.
Carnevale and Stone, op. cit., p. 1.
For background, see “Labor’s Future,” The
CQ Researcher, June 28, 1996, pp. 553-576.
For background, see “The New Immigrants,” The CQ Researcher, Jan. 24, 1997,
pp. 49-72, and “Immigration Reform,” The
CQ Researcher, Sept. 24, 1993, pp. 841-864.
For background, see “The Glass Ceiling,”
The CQ Researcher, Oct. 29, 1993, pp. 937-
American Institute for Managing Diversity, 50 Hurt Plaza, Suite
1150, Atlanta, Ga. 30303; 404-302-9226.
This non-profit organization, founded by R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr.,
founder of the American Institute for Managing Diversity, at
Morehouse College, does research and education on diversity issues.
American Society for Training and Development, 1640 King St.,
Box 1443, Alexandria, Va. 22313-2043; 703-683-8100.
This professional association, founded in 1944, is devoted to workplace learning and performance issues and has about 64,000 members.
Society for Human Resource Management, 606 N. Washington St.,
Alexandria, Va. 22314; 703-548-3440.
This association of human resource professionals was founded in 1948
and currently has about 70,000 members.
Some of this background is drawn from
Lynch, op. cit., pp. 48-58 (Griggs), pp. 5865 (Thomas).
R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., Beyond Race
and Gender: Unleashing the Power of Your
Work Force by Managing Diversity (1991),
p. xiii.
Ibid., p. 26.
William B. Johnston and Arnold H. Packer,
Workforce 2000: Work and Workers for the
21st Century (1987).
See The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 1996,
p. A1. Correctly stated, the book projected
that 15 percent of net additions to the labor
force between 1985 and 2000 would be
white males — net meaning the overall
increase after those leaving the workplace,
mostly white men, were subtracted. In the
executive summary, the word net was
dropped, changing the meaning.
Newsweek, May 14, 1990, p. 38. The article includes the incorrect statistic from
Workforce 2000.
Thomas, Beyond Race and Gender, op.
cit., p. x.
Quoted in Lynch, op. cit., p. 73. The
account of the meetings forms a major part
of Lynch’s book. See pp. 71-80, 104-120,
150-155 for his extended descriptions of
the first of the three conferences.
Newsweek, March 29, 1993, pp. 50, 52.
The poll, conducted by the Gallup Organization, was based on telephone interviews with 757 adults, including 314 white
males, between March 17-18, 1993. The
margin of error for the results for white
males was plus or minus 6 percentage
Cited in Lynch, op. cit., pp. 187-188.
R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., Redefining Diversity (1996), p. xii.
Lewis Brown Griggs and Lente-Louise
Louw (eds.), Valuing Diversity: New Tools
for a New Reality (1995), pp. 5-6.
See Kurt Eichenwald, “The Two Faces of
Texaco,” The New York Times, Nov. 10,
1996, p. C1.
See The Washington Post, May 26, 1997,
p. A1.
See The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 1997,
p. B13.
Some background for this section is drawn
from The New York Times, Aug. 3, 1997, p.
A1; Aug. 4, 1997, p. A1.
Howard N. Fullerton Jr., “The 2005 Labor
Force: Growing, but Slowly,” Monthly Labor Review, November 1995, p. 29.
See The New York Times, Nov. 23, 1995,
p. B14; The Washington Post, Nov. 25, 1995,
p. C1.
Oct. 10, 1997
Selected Sources Used
and Labor Relations and Seattle University School of
Business and Economics.
Blank, Renee, and Sandra Slipp, Voices of Diversity:
Real People Talk about Problems and Solutions in
a Workplace Where Everyone Is Not Alike, American
Management Association, 1994.
Eight chapters provide summaries and firsthand accounts of workplace experiences of minorities, recent
immigrants, workers with disabilities, younger and older
workers, gays and lesbians, white men and others.
Carnevale, Anthony Patrick, and Susan Carol Stone,
The American Mosaic: An In-Depth Report on the
Future of Diversity at Work, McGraw-Hill, 1995.
The book provides a comprehensive overview of work
force diversity in the United States from past to present
and into the future, with detailed statistics and profiles
of the largest U.S. ethnic minority groups. The book
includes a 12-page list of suggested readings. Carnevale
is a former chief economist with the American Society
for Training and Development; Stone is a management
Griggs, Lewis Brown, and Lente-Louise Louw (eds.),
Valuing Diversity: New Tools for a New Reality,
McGraw-Hill, 1995.
Griggs, one of the pioneers of the diversity movement,
and his wife argue that organizations must “value,” not
merely tolerate, diversity in order to “unleash” the full
potential of their work force. Griggs and Louw wrote
three of the eight chapters in the book.
Lynch, Frederick, The Diversity Machine: The Drive
to Change the “White, Male’ Workplace,” Free Press,
Lynch, an associate professor of government at Claremont
McKenna College, provides a critical examination of the
development, philosophy and major figures of the diversity movement. The book includes detailed source notes
and a 12-page bibliography. Lynch is also the author of
Invisible Victims: White Males and the Crisis of Affirmative Action (Greenwood Press, 1989).
Thomas, R. Roosevelt Jr., Redefining Diversity,
Amacom (American Management Association), 1996;
Beyond Race and Gender: Unleashing the Power of
Your Work Force by Managing Diversity, Amacom,
Thomas, one of the pioneers of the diversity movement, laid out his philosophy of “managing diversity” in
his first book and what he called his “new paradigm” of
the “diversity management” in his second. Thomas, who
has taught at Harvard Business School and Morehouse
College, founded and served until recently as president
of the American Institute for Managing Diversity in
Atlanta; he is now a private consultant in Atlanta.
Thomas’ first book elaborated on themes he first set
forth in his article “From Affirmative Action to Affirming
Diversity,” Harvard Business Review, March/April 1990,
pp. 107-117.
Jamieson, David, and Julie O’Mara, Managing
Workforce 2000: Gaining the Diversity Advantage,
Jossey-Bass, 1991.
Diversity consultants Jamieson and O’Mara provide a
practical guide for managers on a range of issues
associated with work force diversity. The book includes
a 34-page list of resources and a three-page list of
references. Jamieson is based in Los Angeles, O’Mara in
Castro Valley, Calif.
Reports and Studies
Kossek, Ellen Ernst, and Sharon A. Lobel (eds.),
Managing Diversity: Human Resource Strategies for
Transforming the Workplace, Blackwell, 1996.
The book provides textbook-style treatment of major
work force diversity issues, including recruiting, training a diverse work force and linking diversity to organizational strategy. Each chapter includes a detailed reference list. Kossek and Lobel are professors at, respectively, Michigan State University’s School of Industrial
CQ Researcher
Johnston, William B. and Arnold E. Packer,
Workforce 2000: Work and Workers for the 21st
Century, Hudson Institute, 1997.
This Labor Department-commissioned study stirred
interest in diversity issues by projecting that minority
and female workers would increase at a faster rate than
white males for the remainder of the century.
Fullerton, Howard N., Jr., “The 2005 Labor Force:
Growing, but Slowly,” Monthly Labor Review, November 1995, p. 29.
Fullerton, a demographer with the U.S. Department of
Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides a comprehensive analysis of work force trends.
The Next Step
Additional information from UMI’s Newspaper
& Periodical Abstractsâ„¢ database
Affirmative Action
Carlton, Melinda, Philip Hawkey, Douglas Watson
and William Donahue et al “Affirmative action and
affirming diversity,” Public Management, January
1997, pp. 19-23.
Carlton et al raise questions about the effectiveness of
affirmative action at the local level. Major trends that will
revolutionize the work force in the near future have
implications for affirmative action.
“Danger in California,” Call & Post, Nov. 21, 1996, p. A4.
An editorial criticizes California’s Proposition 209,
which will dismantle the state’s affirmative action programs by making racial preferences in hiring, educating
and contracting illegal. The editorial warns that if the
proposition holds up under court scrutiny, the diversity
of the work force in state agencies and among the
contractors who service them will suffer.
Loury, Glenn C., “How to Save Affirmative Action,”
The New York Times, Sept. 7, 1997, p. 17.
The Clinton administration’s reversal of position on a
case that could be one of the most important in the
Supreme Court’s coming term has disappointed supporters of affirmative action. But given the tenor of the
court’s recent decisions on racial preferences, the administration has made a smart strategic move to preserve
what can and should be saved of affirmative action. The
case concerns the decision of the Piscataway, N.J.,
school board to promote racial diversity by laying off a
white teacher so that it could preserve the job of an
equally qualified black teacher.
Mauro, Tony, “Possible shift in affirmative action
White House urged to take a new stance,” USA Today, June 5, 1997, p. A3.
The Justice Department is recommending a potentially
controversial shift in the Clinton administration’s stance
on a closely watched affirmative action case before the
Supreme Court. The case, which has caused turmoil
within the Clinton administration since 1994, was brought
by a white New Jersey teacher who was laid off while a
black teacher with equal seniority was retained in the
interest of diversity. Before the lower courts, the administration sided with the Piscataway, N.J., school board’s
argument that promoting diversity justified giving the
black teacher preference.
Page, Clarence, “Diversity Vs. Affirmative Action,”
Chicago Tribune, Aug. 27, 1997, p. 19.
When circumstances pressed President Clinton to de-
clare his position on affirmative action, he embraced a
classically Clintonian middle-ground position. On August 14, the Clinton administration announced that it is
considering a proposal to make it easier for whiteowned businesses to qualify for government contracts
that originally were set aside for businesses owned by
racial and ethnic minorities. The small business set-aside
program was conceived like other affirmative action
programs in the 1960s to help black-owned businesses
develop and create jobs. But, it didn’t take long for
various administrations to expand the program’s definition of “small/disadvantaged” businesses to include a
list of racial and ethnic minorities too lengthy to detail
here — plus whites, male and female, if they could make
a showing of past bias.
Discrimination Lawsuits
Caudron, Shari, “Don’t make Texaco’s $175 million
mistake,” Workforce, March 1997, pp. 58-66.
The recent Texaco debacle involving secret tapes and
the prejudiced attitudes of high-ranking officials demonstrates discrimination problems in the workplace. Discrimination is still widespread and costs companies
millions. The right diversity strategy can help prevent
dire financial consequences.
“Black hole,” The Economist, Nov. 16, 1996, pp. 27-28.
Texaco is caught in the middle of the worst racialdiscrimination scandal to hit corporate America for
years. A $520 million discrimination lawsuit has resulted
in the discovery of an audio tape recording made by
Texaco officials.
Elsasser, Glen, and Judy Peres, “Supreme Court Is
Asked to Ignore Appeal in Affirmative Action Case,”
Chicago Tribune, June 6, 1997, p….
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