The 1964 Civil Rights Act made it illegal for organizations to engage in employment practices that discriminated against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, and disability.
In 1965, Executive Order 11246 was passed requiring all government contractors to take affirmative actions to overcome past patterns of exclusion and discrimination .
Research suggests that whether or not diversity has a positive or negative effect depends on different aspects of the organization’s strategies, culture, and human resource practices. This indicates that diversity may be beneficial under certain conditions and in certain organizations (Pugh, Dietz, Brief, & Wiley, 2008).
Size of the organization
Age of the organization
Type of organization
Diversity of the community surrounding an organization
While many organizations are embracing diversity in the workforce, there are still organizations today that remain unreceptive. Although many government agencies and Fortune 500 companies provide diversity training, around 40% of organizations still do not.
Even the organizations that claim to be strong advocates for diversity do not have the statistics to back their claims.
Only 30% of female employees hold management positions in Wal-Mart This is a very low number considering 70% of their employees are female.
Gender discrimination is still a huge problem within many organizations. Many male managers are slow to promote female employees to managerial positions. A Senior Vice President interviewed by Turner (2007), was quoted saying,
“ Well, yes we need to have more women in senior positions. Our senior leadership team includes only men. But, personally, I’m just less comfortable with women on the senior team. We spend a lot of time together. You know you always have to be worried about the sexual harassment thing, what you say, how you say it…But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue it .”
Other companies such as Abercrombie and Fitch show extreme racial preference, with a reputation for hiring people to fit their image of a “Classic American,” which they believe are attractive white employees.
Other companies such as Abercrombie and Fitch show extreme racial preference, with a reputation for hiring people to fit their image of a “Classic American,” which they believe are attractive white employees. Due to this, they have faced many lawsuits
Many of these companies now claim that diversity is important to them, especially on their websites, however it is clear that this is only in response to the many lawsuits they’ve faced.
Marques states “It becomes apparent, however, when studying the background of these appealing statements, that they were not formulated spontaneously, but, just like A&F above, merely as a reaction to massive discrimination lawsuits” (2010).
Brief, A., & Pugh, S.D., Dietz, J., & Wiley, J.W. (2008). Looking inside and out: The impact of employee and community demographic composition on organizational diversity climate . Journal of Applied Psychology: American Psychological Association , 93(6 ), Nov 2008, 1422-1428. doi: 10.1037/a0012696
Herring, C (2009). Does diversity pay?: Race, gender, and the business case for diversity. American Sociological Review April 2009 74 no. 2 208-224. doi 10.1177/0003122Business Case for Diversity. 40907400203
Kochan, T., Bezrukova, K., Ely, R., Jackson, S., Joshi, A., Jehn, K., Leonard J., Levine, D., Thomas., D (2002). The effect of diversity on business performance: report of the diversity research Network. Study commissioned by the Business Opportunities for Leadership Diversity (BOLD) initiative
Levy, P (2010) . Industrial organizational psychology, understanding the workplace (3 rd ed.). (pp. 218-220). New York, New York: Worth Publishers
Marques, J. F.(2010). Colorful window dressing: A critical review on workplace diversity in three major american corporations. Human Resource Development Quarterly , 2 1 ( 4 ), November 2010, doi: 10.1002/hrdq.20045