This paper will go over the importance of having diversity initiatives in the workplace. I will discuss three common approaches used when addressing diversity in the workplace: colorblind approach, multicultural approach, and all-inclusive multiculturalism approach. This paper will discuss the positive and negatives of each approach as well as examples. I will also discuss critiques and future research ideas.
Keywords: Diversity, Colorblind, Multiculturalism
Since the 1980’s specialist have suggested that employers designate diversity committees and task forces composed of people from different departments, professional backgrounds, and managerial levels (Kalev, Dobbin, & Kelly, 2006). In order to not have dictatorial companies, diversity committees allow for the needs of diverse populations to be heard and respected. Robinson and Dechant (1997) listed many business reasons for managing diversity such as cost saving, winning the competition for talent, driving business growth, increasing creativity, producing higher quality problem solving, enhancing effective leadership, improving marketplace understanding, and more. It is clear that managing diversity is a key component for employees and employers. One important component of diversity initiatives is to make every employee feels that they are in an inclusive environment. Previous research shows that social exclusion is linked to aggressive behavior and decrements in intelligent thought (Baumeister, Twenge, & Nuss, 2002). Therefore, in order for businesses to keep their employees as productive as possible, it is important to make sure there are no feelings of social exclusion. Though, this task is not as easy as it may seem. For minorities in particular, seeing that they are underrepresented in middle- and upper-management positions makes it more likely for them to discount the principles of the diversity initiative and conclude that the organization does not value people like themselves (Avery, 2003). This data shows that not all diversity initiatives will be effective. Diversity initiatives have to be tested out to make sure that they are truly getting through with their intended message. Though, diversity can have a wide range of meanings. Some companies use the traditional Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) definition of diversity, which deals with differences in gender, racioethnicity, and age (Robinson & Dechant, 1997). Other companies tend to favor the broadest definitions of diversity, ones that encompass differences in gender, racioethnicity, age, physical abilities, qualities, and sexual orientation, as well as differences in attitudes, perspectives and background. (Robinson & Dechant, 1997). Many individuals rely on a more detailed definition of diversity considering diverse people as being in the non-dominant social system who have been traditionally under research and under served (Henderson, 1998). While there is no correct definition of diversity, the three diversity initiatives discussed in this paper seem to target a definition that encompasses creating a diverse work environment that is inclusive to everyone, specifically focusing on the inclusion of minorities and non minorities.
Diversity Approaches: 3 main approaches to diversity
The colorblind approach is similar to the well-known American concept of the “melting pot”. The melting pot implies that everyone melts together in one pot, meaning that people assimilate to become one. The colorblind approach seeks to have people see everyone as ‘colorblind’. This means not paying attention to the color of ones skin and seeing everyone the same. Efforts to promote a colorblind principle in which all people were to be judged as individual human beings without regard to race or ethnicity, was intended to eliminate racism and discrimination, promote justice, and generally improve the economic and social climate for Blacks in the US (Ryan,Hunt,Weible,Peterson, & Casas, 2007). An example of using the colorblind approach in the workplace is to structure rewards that foster greater nonminority-minority collaboration, bringing important deep-level characteristics to the foreground while pushing demo- graphic differences, such as racial and ethnic diversity, to the background (Stevens, Plaut, & Sanchez, 2008). Using a colorblind approach in the workplace entails pushing back ones background/culture aside and focusing on the persons individual characteristics. The way that this approach focuses on finding unique and similar qualities in one seems to have some promise at both the theoretical and empirical levels in facilitating positive intergroup consequences (Rosenthal & Levy, 2010). Focusing on a common in-group identity (“we”), which transcends intergroup distinctions (“us” vs. “them”) has been found to improve intergroup attitudes (Gaertner, Dovidio, Anastasio, Bachman, & Rust, 1993). Though, the problem with this approach is that there doesn’t seem to be an “we” group formed. The process of assimilation that this approach entails creates a resistance to forming a “we” mindset. Assimilation seems to have negative consequences, especially for members of lower status societal groups (Rosenthal & Levy, 2010). Research indicates that assimilation is not necessarily successful or desirable for non- dominant group members (Oudenhoven, Prins, & Buunk, 1998). This information should not be surprising as the process of assimilation strips ones identity and seeks to create an accepted identity. The colorblind approach seems to only identify with non-minorities. Nonminority’s who believe strongly in individual merit or have a high need to belong are likely to identify highly with an organization that espouses colorblindness (Stevens, Plaut, & Sanchez, 2008). A colorblind approach works best for making nonminority’s feel included but does the opposite for minorities. The idea of putting someone’s identity to the side does not lead to less bias but is actually associated with higher levels of increases bias (Richeson & Nussbaum, 2004). While the intentions of this approach were sincere, it does not seem to be an approach that truly values diversity.
色盲法类似于众所周知的美国“熔炉”概念。熔炉意味着把每个人都在一个锅里融化，这意味着人们同化成为一体。色盲法旨在让人们将每个人视为“色盲”。这意味着不要注意皮肤的颜色，并且看到每个人都一样。努力促进色盲原则，其中所有人都被视为个人而不考虑种族或民族，旨在消除种族主义和歧视，促进正义，并普遍改善美国黑人的经济和社会环境（ Ryan，Hunt，Weible，Peterson，＆Casas，2007）。在工作场所使用色盲法的一个例子是构建奖励，以促进更多的非少数民族 – 少数群体合作，将重要的深层次特征带到前台，同时将种族和民族多样性等人口差异推向背景（Stevens，Plaut，＆Sanchez，2008）。在工作场所使用色盲方法需要将背景、文化放在一边，并关注个人特征。这种方法侧重于在一个方面寻找独特和相似品质的方式，似乎在促进积极的群体间结果的理论和经验水平上都有一些希望（Rosenthal＆Levy，2010）。专注于共同的群体内部身份（“我们”），超越群体间的区别（“我们”与“他们”），已被发现可以改善群体间的态度（Gaertner，Dovidio，Anastasio，Bachman，＆Rust，1993）。虽然，这种方法的问题在于似乎没有形成“我们”组。这种方法所带来的同化过程产生了对形成“我们”思维方式的抵制。同化似乎有负面影响，特别是对于地位较低的社会群体的成员（Rosenthal＆Levy，2010）。研究表明，非支配群体成员的同化不一定成功（Oudenhoven，Prins，＆Buunk，1998）。这种信息不应该令人惊讶，因为同化过程剥夺了身份并试图创造一个被接受的身份。色盲方法似乎只能识别非少数民族。非本能的人强烈相信个人的优点或者有很高的归属感，他们很可能会认同一个支持色盲的组织（史蒂文斯，Plaut，＆Sanchez，2008）。色盲方法最适合包含少数民族的感觉，但对少数群体则相反。将某人的身份置于一边的想法不会导致较少的偏见，但实际上与较高的增加偏差水平有关（Richeson＆Nussbaum，2004）。虽然这种方法的意图是真诚的，但似乎并不是真正重视多样性的方法。