The Retention of African-American Males in Corporate America

The Retention of African-American Males in Corporate...

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1 Running head: RETENTION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN MALES The Retention of African-American Males in Corporate America Terrance L. McKnight Teachers College – Columbia University
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2 RETENTION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN MALES The Retention of African-American Males in Corporate America Overview The demographic makeup of Corporate America is progressively changing, along with concurrent trend towards a more technology-based and global work environment. The most notable change is the growth of the proportion of visible racial and ethnic minorities (“minorities”) in the workforce. With the ethnic mix of the United States getting more heterogeneous yearly, employee diversity has become a focus of many American organizations. Companies are becoming more diverse for various reasons, including realizing the potential benefits of having a diverse workforce, and complying with legal orders in order to alleviate or avoid equal opportunity federal reprimands and/or lawsuits. Despite this trend, many corporations have difficulty when it comes to leveraging diversity, whether for the overall benefit of their profit margins or for the careers and psychological well-being of their respective employees. This is due to the fact that more often than not, when diversity initiatives are developed and presented, only the recruitment and selection of diverse employees are addressed. However, more important than getting persons of color into an organization is the task of keeping them happy and employed. Thus, it can be argued that while recruitment and selection are important, the retention of minority employees is more essential to diversity initiatives. Diversity recruitment practices, while effective at bringing people into the organization, may ironically contribute to high early turnover if they raise expectations for a positive diversity climate that is not fulfilled (Hom, Roberson, & Ellis, 2008). It would be presumptuous to assume that all diverse employees in Corporate America share the same issues. While this essay will touch on some work experiences of other minority groups in America, particular interest will be placed on African-American males. Most of the
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3 RETENTION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN MALES issues of African-American males can be related to that of other disadvantaged groups. However, research has shown that this group has historically been one of the most oppressed within white-collar America; in United States research, Blacks endorse the highest racial identification of all racial groups, and not surprisingly, report the highest incidences of discrimination at work and in general, followed by Hispanics, Asians, and Whites (McKay, Avery, Tonidandel, Morris, Hernandez, & Hebl, 2007). As a result, the group is one of the most underrepresented in the United States’ professional sector, when a comparison is done between the percentages of the group in the sector (~5.1%) (Employed persons by occupation, race, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, and sex, 2008) and its representation in the general American
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This note was uploaded on 06/01/2011 for the course ORL 1000 taught by Professor Buontempo during the Spring '11 term at Columbia.

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The Retention of African-American Males in Corporate...

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