11. best practive - Best Practices for Managing...

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Best Practices for Managing Organizational Diversity by Patricia A. Kreitz Available online 29 January 2008 Organizations with increasingly diverse workforces and customer populations face challenges in reaping diversity s benefits while managing its potentially disruptive effects. This article defines workplace diversity and identifies best practices supporting planned and positive diversity management. It explores how academic libraries can apply diversity management best practices and provides a reading list for leaders and human resource managers wishing to optimize their organization s approach to diversity. Patricia A. Kreitz is Director, Technical Infomation Services Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA and Ph.D. student in the Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions Program Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Simmons College, Boston, MA, USA < [email protected] >. I n the twentieth century, ecologists and agriculturalists developed an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the value of biological diversity, specifically the resilience and adaptability it brings to ecosystems. In the twenty-first century, the ecosystem model has been applied to human systems, particularly to understanding how organizations are structured and how they operate. Twenty-first century organiza- tions face diversity challenges in many arenas. Demographic changes in the workforce and customer populations, combined with globalized markets and international competition, are increasing the amount of diversity organizations must manage, both internally and externally. Many diversity specialists and business leaders argue that organizations interested in surviving and thriving in the twenty-first century need to take competitive advantage of a diverse workplace. 1 But to do so successfully, leaders and human resources (HR) managers must redefine their management and leadership. 2 Just as mono-cropping destroys biological diversity, and, in extreme cases, human as well as natural ecosystems, 3 mono- managing similarly destroys diversity within organizations. Leaders who want to build strong, diverse organizations will not be successful if they rely on one approach or solution. Single- threaded diversity solutions, such as focusing only on recruitment, or single-approach management techniques, such as requiring every employee to take diversity training, do not create lasting change. 4 Implementing the changes needed to build and sustain diversity requires commitment, strategy, communication, and concrete changes in organizational struc- ture and processes. Just as mono-cropping destroys biological diversity, and, in extreme cases, human as well as natural ecosystems, mono-managing similarly destroys diversity within organizations. How can managers and leaders develop diverse organiza- tions and ensure that they are managed to take optimum advantage of diversity? What role should human resource specialists play in creating and managing diverse organizations?
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