Week 8 - Managing Diverse Teams
This week I ask you to review Chapter 5, which is a short chapter filled with important information. Your close attention in class will help you deal with the challenges of managing diverse groups. I don't want to stress you, but it seems the world suffers from a lack of multicultural understanding. That's ironic to me - we all came from somewhere else in the US. Our own families represent all kinds of diversity. For example, on the cultural side, I have had African American foster children; I have nieces and nephews who represent, in part, the Sikh and Mexican cultures of their fathers; I have a daughter-in-law from China, and I hope there are children in their future :-).
Here’s a good definition of what “managing diversity” means at work:
Managing diversity aims at providing employees with backgrounds, needs, and skill sets that may vary widely with the opportunity to engage with the company and their co-workers in a manner that produces an optimal work environment and the best possible business results for the company.
Plus, it’s life-enriching and enjoyable to get to know people of different cultures.
How Companies Can Develop Diverse, Healthy Cultures
1. Cast a wide net recruiting
2. Interview many candidates
3. Examine company culture - stay in tune with what is happening!
Slides and Reference
"Recognition - Respect - Reconciliation"
Harvard Article: Diversity Efforts Are Not as Effective as They Should Be
After Wall Street firms repeatedly had to shell out millions to settle discrimination lawsuits, businesses started to get serious about their efforts to increase diversity. But unfortunately, they don’t seem to be getting results: Women and minorities have not gained much ground in management over the past 20 years.
The problem is, organizations are trying to reduce bias with the same kinds of programs they’ve been using since the 1960s. And the usual tools—diversity training, hiring tests, performance ratings, grievance systems—tend to make things worse, not better. The authors’ analysis of data from 829 firms over three decades shows that these tools actually decrease the proportion of women and minorities in management. They’re designed to preempt lawsuits by policing managers’ decisions and actions. But as lab studies show, this kind of force-feeding can activate bias and encourage rebellion.
However, in their analysis the authors uncovered numerous diversity tactics that do move the needle, such as recruiting initiatives, mentoring programs, and diversity task forces. They engage managers in solving the problem, increase contact with women and minority workers, and promote social accountability. In the article above, the authors dig into the data, executive interviews, and several examples to shed light on what doesn’t work and what does.