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DIVERSITY IN THE WORKFORCE INTRODUCTION There is a growing and continuous interest in workplace diversity within management and organization studies This interest can be traced back to Johnston and Packards 1987 influential report Workforce 2000 which alerted organizations to the dramatic demographic changes that were in the process of transforming the North American workforce Prasad 1997 Managing diversity at the workplace presents many dilemmas Confronted with constant change management business educators and organizational consultants continue to meet the challenges of a new and diverse workforce in a number of ways DEFINITION OF DIVERSITY There are numerous ways in which to define diversity Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another It is all inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued Wentling 1997 A broad definition includes not only race gender ethnicity age national origin religion and disability but may include sexual orientation values personality education language physical appearance marital status lifestyle beliefs and background characteristics such as geographic origin tenure with the organization and economic status THE CHANGING WORKFORCE There is a significant increase in women and minority populations in the workplace Americans continue to mature an increasing number of minority youths are becoming part of the workforce gay men lesbians and bisexual individuals are becoming an important part of the workforce and marketplace people with disabilities are also increasingly entering the labor force and more business is becoming global Wentling 1997 Nearly half of all workers will be women and more than a quarter will likely be members of minority races About 40 of the work force will be over 45 years of age and only about 15 of new entrants will be the young white males Labich 1996 And yet another statistic the Hispanic population is quickly becoming the
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