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Workforce Diversity

and Organizational
By: Dr. Robina Yasmin

What is Diversity?

Different definitions ranging from primary

dimensions to secondary dimensions.
Primary Dimensions:
We are distinguished and united by differences
and similarities according to gender, age,
language, culture, race and income level.
(California Department of Education;

Diversity is otherness or those human qualities

that are different from our own and outside the
groups to which we belong, yet are present in
other individuals and groups".
(University of Maryland,1995,

Secondary Dimensions:

Features: education, place of residence, class,

martial status, religious beliefs, occupational
status and life experiences.
More comprehensive definition by UN.
Diversity takes many forms. It is usually
thought of in terms of obvious attributes-age,
differences, race, gender, physical ability, sexual
orientation, religion and language. Diversity in
terms of background professional experiences,
skills and specialization, values and culture as
well as social class, is a prevailing pattern.
(United Nations, 2000)

Primary and Secondary


What is Managing

Recognizing diversity is to appreciate and value individual

Managing diversity means establishing a heterogeneous
workforce to perform to its potential in an equitable work
environment where no member or group of member have
advantage or disadvantage.

Managing diversity is different from managing

affirmative action, which refers to actions taken
to overcome the effects of past or present
practices, policies or other barriers to equal
employment opportunity (EEO)
(Source: How should my organization define diversity? Society for Human Resource Management,2004. Online: on Aug.5,2004 )

Difference Between EEO/AA

and Diversity
EEO/Affirmative Action

Government initiated
Legally driven
Problem focused
Assumes assimilation


Productivity driven
Opportunity focused
Assumes integration

(Source: Managing Human Resources productivity, quality of work life, profits by Cascio ,7 edition)

Diversity Management

Diversity management is becoming more and

more important organizational debate
Shift from manufacturing to service economy
Globalization of markets
New business strategies that require more team
Mergers and alliances
The changing labor markets.
(Sources: The diversity factor, 2003;Fortune, pp. S1-S12. See also Jackson, S. E. & Alvarez, E. B. 1992, Working through diversity as
a strategic imperative in S.E. Jackson ed. Diversity in the workplace; New York: Guilford, pp. 13-35)

Advantages of Workforce

Diversity management creates multicultural

organization which leads to equal opportunities
for all employees.
Monolithic organizations leads to competitive
disadvantages because of stereotypical
thinking and hindrance of creative problem
Diversity managed properly can leads to
maximum productivity, creativity and
commitment of workforce while meeting the
needs of diverse consumer groups.

(Krell, 1996; 339)

(Source: Cascio; Managing Human Resources: productivity, quality of work life, profits; pp.117-151)

Successful Diversity
Leadership: demonstrable commitment, support

including steering and advisory groups and effective

communication plan.

Valid and reliable performance measurement:

organizational assessments, benchmarking and
comparative analysis.

Education: Awareness training and development of inhouse expertise.

Cultural and management change: Devising and

implementing effective HRM strategies.

Follow up: Longitudinal evaluation, performance

management systems, and knowledge management.

(United Nations, 2000; United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Managing Diversity in the Civil Services; online:

Comments and Discussion

Thank you