This paper examines how organizations can overcome cultural barriers and support leaders in creating more inclusive workplaces.
Drawing from personal experience as a senior leader within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the author provides a brief overview of the organization’s approach to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace, including her role in overseeing the change effort. The author then describes how certain aspects of the RCMP culture manifested in bias against others, and contributed to leaders’ efforts to cover up important parts of their identity to fit in. Finally, the author presents self-acceptance and personal vulnerability as building blocks for a more inclusive style of leadership.
The findings of this paper suggest that diversity and inclusion efforts that fail to address harmful aspects of organizational culture are unlikely to be successful. The findings also suggest that this barrier may be overcome through a greater understanding of the cultural norms that are most valued, of practicing inclusion at three different levels, starting with the individual, and of supporting leaders to begin the practice of inclusion, staring from the inside out.
This paper makes an important contribution to the field of organization development by providing a brief snapshot of one leader’s experience in attempting to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and makes recommendations for how the challenges presented might be overcome.
Workman-Stark, A. (2021), "Inclusion starts with “I”? The missing ingredient in leading change: the case of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 10-13. https://doi.org/10.1108/DLO-01-2020-0021
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