Summary of Diversity at Work

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Reading this volume is a bit like panning for gold: You have to sift a lot of dust to find the nuggets, but it is worth it when you do. The reason for the dust and the payoff: This is a collection of academic essays. That means you’ll find an abundance of social science jargon, competing terms for similar theories and extensive source citations – but you’ll also find sound chapters based on exhaustive, rigorously sorted research that has been analyzed with focus and honesty. Several of these treatises offer advice to organizations about ways to improve their diversity programming. Others cut through some of the ideological buzz surrounding diversity and candidly articulate how being committed to diversity can both enrich and complicate organizational life. getAbstract recommends this compilation, despite its often dense academic prose, to anyone responsible for a diversity program, to human resources officers, and to those interested in teams, corporate culture and workplace ethics.

About the Author

Arthur P. Brief is a professor of business ethics at the University of Utah and an expert on “the moral dimensions of business life.” He also wrote Attitudes In and Around Organizations.



Scholarship and Workplace Diversity

Workplace diversity and corporate culture receive considerable academic attention. In fact, in the last 10 years, 19% “of the work published in peer-reviewed psychology” journals and 14% of the work in sociology journals have focused on race, gender or the larger category of diversity. However, only 5% of the articles in Academy of Management journals focus on these issues – far fewer than the nature of business demands. Organizations are the locus of great change and ongoing cultural integration, but those who lead this effort need better need theoretical tools. This gap presents an opportunity for scholars to provide insights on matters of great concern to the workplace, where academic findings can immediately apply. Such investigations are crucial for ethical and practical reasons, given the rapidity of change in the world of business. However, from the researcher’s point of view, obtaining good data from within companies is difficult, partially because discrimination is a “touchy,” hard-to-discuss topic.

One of the first questions to address is how “stereotypes and prejudice create workplace discrimination.” Outright racism ...

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