A History of How U.S. Academics, Laws, and Business Have Created the Current Approach to Organizational Diversity: Visual, Innovative, and All-Inclusive Multiculturalism

A History of How U.S. Academics, Laws, and Business Have Created the Current Approach to Organizational Diversity: Visual, Innovative, and All-Inclusive Multiculturalism

Ben Tran (Alliant International University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6912-1.ch002
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Abstract

While the legal motive focuses on legal compliance and the branding motive emphasizes making the workplace representative of the consumer market to gain a bigger share, the value-in-diversity motive focuses exclusively on the value that is attributed to the workplace as a result of increased diversity. The value of diversity purported by this motive transcends the visible aspects of diversity, which organizations might obtain when motivated by legal compliance or branding, and features both the detectable aspects of diversity as well as those not as easily detectable. Hence, the purpose of this chapter is to clearly define and address the original intended usage of terms among academicians, the law, and businesses regarding diversity: modern diversity (visual diversity vs. innovative diversity). Upon having a clearly defined understanding of visual diversity and innovative diversity, implementation of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) within diversity will be addressed.
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Diversity

Research over the past 50 years has shown little consensus about what constitutes diversity or how it affects organizational processes and outcomes (Williams & O’Reilly, 1998). A common definition of diversity refers to the degree to which a workgroup or organization is heterogeneous with respect to personal and functional attributes (Jehn, Northcraft, & Neale, 1999). The extant literature on organizational diversity has produced inconsistent results on effects of diversity, with some researchers finding beneficial effects, such as increased creativity, productivity, and quality (Earley & Mosakowski, 2000; Ely & Thomas, 2001; Polzer, Milton, & Swann, 2002; Swann, Kwan, Polzer, & Milton, 2003; Watson, Kumar, & Michaelsen, 1993), and others finding a detrimental influence on organizational outcomes—particularly through process losses, increases in conflict, decreases in social integration, and inhibition of decision-making and change processes (Chatman, Polzer, Barsade, & Neale, 1998; Jehn et al., 1999; Mannix & Neale, 2006; Morrison & Miliken, 2000; Westphal & Milton, 2000). Following from such inconsistencies, diversity has been dubbed a double-edge sword for organizations (Williams & O’Reilly, 1998).

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