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Equal Opportunities International

ISSN: 0261-0159

Article publication date: 1 January 1991



Affirming Diversity R.R. Thomas in Vol. 68 No. 2 of Harvard Business Review, in an article entitled From affirmative action to affirming diversity', argues that affirmative action in the recruitment of women and minorities is based on premises no longer appropriate. White males are no longer dominant at every level of the corporation (statistically, they are merely the largest of many minorities), while decades of attack have noticeably weakened racial and gender prejudices. At the intake level, affirmative action sets the stage for a workplace that is gender‐, culture‐, and colour‐blind. But minorities and women tend to stagnate, plateau, or quit when they fail to move up the corporate ladder, and everyone's dashed hopes lead to corporate frustration, usually followed by a crisis and more recruitment. The traditional American approach to diversity has been assimilation and the author suggests that this is no longer valid. Companies are faced with the task of managing unassimilated diversity and getting from it the same commitment, quality, and profit they once got from a homogeneous workforce. To reach this goal, organisations need to work not merely toward culture and colour‐ blindness but also towards an openly multicultural workplace that taps the full potential of every employee without artificial programmes, standards, or barriers. The author gives his own ten guidelines for learning to manage diversity by learning to understand and modify the company's culture, vision, assumptions, models, and systems.


(1991), "Networking", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 14-23.




Copyright © 1991, MCB UP Limited

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