From desegregation to diversity management in Alabama public universities: a narrative review

Vickie Cox Edmondson (Department of Management, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)
Louis Dale (Department of Mathematics, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)
Glenn Feldman (Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)
Annice Yarber (Department of Sociology, Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery, Alabama, USA)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Publication date: 3 May 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate that history has much to teach leaders in understanding resistance to affirmative action and how a greater commitment to diversity can be fostered.

Design/methodology/approach

This narrative review provides a timeline of a case for resolution‐by‐agreement in the wake of the landmark Knight v. Alabama case.

Findings

There have been dramatic increases in the enrollment of students of color and the presence of African‐American faculty in the three major public universities that comprise the University of Alabama System, as well as others in the state.

Research limitations/implications

The present review does not contend that historic and fundamental inequities no longer exist in business and society. Moreover, the authors recognize that present inequities in the realms of diversity have important and historical roots. Likewise, there is no attempt to suggest that affirmative action is no longer a necessary or desired program in some areas. Neither do the authors deny the potential for inordinate management influence in the implementation and practice of some programs that focus on “diversity” instead of “affirmative action.”

Social implications

The numbers are not optimal. But future studies, along with this paper, should make a significant contribution to the affirmative action literature in the hope that organizations of all types may exceed their goals in the area of “diversity” as part of a larger quest for genuine advancements in the realm of diversity and fairness throughout society.

Originality/value

The paper provides an additional lens through which to examine diversity initiatives. Organizations can learn from the resolution‐by‐agreement process used to settle this desegregation dispute.

Keywords

Citation

Cox Edmondson, V., Dale, L., Feldman, G. and Yarber, A. (2011), "From desegregation to diversity management in Alabama public universities: a narrative review", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 318-331. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610151111135769

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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