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Juan Concepcion Managing Diversity in the Workplace Cultural diversity in
the workplace is becoming more and more prevalent. Corporations in all
industries are encouraging minorities, women, elderly workers, people with
disabilities as well as foreign workers to join white males in the workplace.
The following analysis will focus on these groups and how companies are
encouraging them to join an ever-expanding workplace. Even if affirmative
action is dismantled, diversity of the workforce is clearly here to stay.
Business owners and managers, experts say, will still need to maintain or step
up efforts to recruit and advance ethnic minorities in the year 2000 and
beyond. That’s essentially because having a diverse work force and managing
it effectively will simply be good business for various companies. One
business leader who is at the forefront of implementing diversity is the Xerox
Corporation. Xerox implemented their strategy for diversification through an
“aggressive, hard driving affirmative action plan.” (Managing Diversity:
Lessons from Private Sector, AOL Electric Library). The company has been
successful in grasping Diversity by instilling it in it’s organizational culture and
making it management priority. Xerox Corporation has taken on the
imperative responsibility to implement plans that ensure a true representation
of the community in which they are based and upholding a true picture of the
globally based customers they serve. Their strategy is one that sets goals to
recruit and retain minorities for previously restricted positions and hold
management accountable for reaching those goals. It is an approach which
has worked well for the organization. Because they are truly committed to
tapping into the expanded creativity minorities bring, Xerox has moved from
the mandatory focus of Affirmative action programs to the voluntary
implementation of a business objective. According to John Fernandez, author
of the book “Managing a Diverse Work Force”, white males would make up
only fifteen percent of the net additions to the labor force between 1985 and
2000. White males were already in the minority, representing only forty-five
percent of America’s 115 million workers in 1985. Other facts and figures
also support the above mentioned trend. This is pointed out by The Career
Exposure Network, a premier on-line career center and job placement
service. According to the Network: ? Through the 1990’s, people of color,
women and immigrants will account for 85% of the net growth of the nation’s
labor force. ? By 2000, women will be 47% of the labor force ? Over the
next 20 years the U.S. population will grow by 42 million. Hispanics will
account for 47% of the growth, Blacks22%, Asians18% and Whites13%. ?
Miami is 2/3 Hispanics. ? San Francisco is 1/3 Asian American. A more
recent survey suggests that smaller businesses have been more successful
than larger ones in promoting ethnic minorities into upper management. The
study shows that in businesses with fewer than 500 employees, twenty
percent of the senior managers are minorities, as compared with about 13
percent for businesses with five hundred or more employees (Thiederman,
162). The reason probably lies in the fact that the highest net increase of small
businesses since the early 1990’s have been minority owned. The number of
Hispanic-owned business has grown 76% since the early 90’s proceeded by
Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaskan Natives which grew
61% (Nickels, McHugh, McHugh, 4). Naturally, minority-owned businesses
are more opt to promote their own into managerial positions. Either because
the business is family owned or they have a limited labor pool of applicants.
Managing diversity goes ‘far beyond’ meeting the legal requirements of equal
employment opportunity and affirmative action. Whereas Affirmative action is
based on mandatory compliance regulations designed to bring the level of
representation for minority groups into parity, diversity initiatives within
organizations are voluntary in nature. It takes Affirmative action a step further.
Organizations that incorporate diversity initiatives as a part of their
organizational objectives will be the most prepared they will be to meet the
challenges of the next millenium. Whereas Affirmative Action focuses on
including those on the basis of race, gender, and/or ethnicity, Diversity
initiatives, when well implemented, focuses on all elements of diversity.
Management must embrace the inclusion of employees not only with regard
to obvious differences of race, sex, and age but also without regard to such
secondary factors