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Workplace Diversity Fact or FictionAre todays corporate diversity programs truly effective That question posed by Robert J Grossman in an article carried by the Wall Street Journal Online on June 28 2000 will be explored as part of the review of Mr Grossmans articleThe concept of diversity goes well beyond the historical employment equity legislation enacted in both federal and local jurisdictions It calls for the recognition of the contributions that individuals can make as individuals not just as members of legislatively designated groups It calls for management of organizations to be totally inclusive not just tolerating those who are different but celebrating those differences It calls for the opening of non-traditional occupations to men and women of all creeds colors religions races and social groupings and for making reasonable accommodations the workplace and worklife for this to happen It calls for diversity beyond just gender race or physical and intellectual abilities to include diversity in opinions sexual preferences social customs and mores and other aspects of the variations in lives and lifestyles Conference Board of Canada 1995 p 1 There is a compelling generic business case for achieving and managing diversity in the workplace Diversity can help organizations identify and capitalize on opportunities to improve products and services attract retain motivate and utilize human resources effectively improve the quality of decision-making at all organizational levels and reap the many benefits from being perceived as a socially conscious and progressive organization These benefits should be manifested in an improved bottom line and maximization of shareholder value Gandz and Ivey 2000 Achieving diversity does nothing for an organization unless that diversity is managed effectively It is not a natural thing for people of different cultural backgrounds religious or moral upbringings cognitive styles or even genders to communicate effectively appreciate what shapes each others viewpoints debate with each other without giving offense or otherwise get along together When a manager says this diversity thing would be easy
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