Teaching Notes for Workplace Video Cases
TEACHING NOTES FOR WORKPLACE VIDEO CASES
CHAPTER 1: ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR AND KEY COMPETENCIES
Workplace Video: Meeting the Challenge of Diversity at Whirlpool
Video Case Synopsis
In today's global marketplace, managers must routinely interact with people of different
cultures, languages, beliefs, and values. Recognizing diversity and the unique way people
of different backgrounds communicate is essential to success in the international arena.
Whirlpool Corporation, the No. 1 name in home appliances, has a long history of
managing diversity. Since its establishment in 1911, Whirlpool has become a global
corporation with manufacturing locations on every major continent. Approximately 60
percent of Whirlpool's 68,000 employees work outside of North America, and those
within North America represent a diverse mix of people.
Building a cohesive team of diverse individuals is one of the great challenges of
management. The leaders of Whirlpool are committed to cultivating a broad workforce,
and that means eliminating glass ceilings and biases that discourage certain groups from
participating fully in the company. Attaining these objectives is the job of Whirlpool's
award-winning diversity program. To enter the program, workers join the particular
employee-network group with which they self identify. Once joined to a network,
workers have access to career resources and training opportunities.
Though the diversity program is designed to empower employees, it also helps
Whirlpool achieve specific business objectives, such as understanding the needs and
desires of its global customer base. "Whirlpool has recognized that having diverse people
making decisions and giving input to the factors that we consider on a daily basis is
extremely important to the business," says Kathy Nelson, VP of Consumer & Appliance
Care at Whirlpool. "It's important because we need to make sure that the people who are
making business decisions are reflective of who our consumers are."
Mark McLane, director of Global Diversity and Inclusion, sees diversity as a vehicle
through which Whirlpool can find innovative solutions to problems. "The greatest
strength of our employee base today is its diversity—the diversity of thought and what
that brings to our innovation processes," McLane remarks. "We've embedded innovation
throughout the entire organization, we've really leveraged the strengths of each individual
Discussion Questions and Solutions
What are the three main objectives of Whirlpool's diversity networks?
The three main objectives of Whirlpool's diversity networks are (1) to be a resource to the
employee, (2) to be a resource to the community, and (3) to tie back into the business.
Specifically, each employee network is charged with recognizing what's important to the