Diversity Audit

Diversity Audit - Evaluating Diversity and Inclusion in the...

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Unformatted text preview: Evaluating Diversity and Inclusion in the Real World 329 I INSTRUCTIONS After your instructor forms groups 014 to 5 students. it is important to follow these steps. in order: 1. Find an Organization that is Willing to Work with Your Group. The group should meet early in the semester to brainstorm possible organiza- tions that might be willing to participate in this project. As always. it may be eas— ier to gain access if a group member already has an established relationship with an organization such as an internship placement. a job there. or a family member who is employed there. Notice how these connections illustrate an example of privilege. Groups should always have another alternative organization in mind just in case the first choice does not work out. Some companies may refuse because they are afraid of what students may find. are currently involved in a lawsuit. etc. Very early in the semester make contact with someone in the organi- zation. Explain the assignment for what it is: an opportunity for students to learn firsthand how a real organization deals with diversity issues on a daily basis. The group needs to be realistic about this field assignment. Sometimes small companies of less than 300 employees pose difficulties because of their lim— ited financial and human resources. In contrast. at large FORTUNE 500 compa- nies. it may be difficult to find the right contacts. Some organizations may refuse to cooperate because they are afraid of what the team may learn. Even organiza- tions that are willing to cooperate may find it difficult to schedule meeting times that work for students. 80. it is imperative that the team line up both a first choice and at least one backup choice for this project and begin the process early in the semester in case the group encounters difficulties. 2. Conduct Secondary Research. Secondary research resources are materials gathered for another reason. inferno! examples include annual reports [a good source of mission and value state- ments). press releases. employee handbooks. and any other materials that the organization can provide. Explain to your contact person that the group would like to be as knowledgeable as possible about the organization to maximize the time on the visit. So any material that can be sent and read by the group before the visit will help the group to prepare. Remember that researching an organiza- tion‘s Web site is a good way to begin and can offer useful information. but it is only the public face that the organization chooses to present. Students should also conduct thorough ertcrmi! secondary research on their organization for additional material. Utilizing various library databases. students may disc0ver very useful information. For examplesmal] local companies are often the subjects of newspaper articles that can be found in newspaper databases. Larger companies may have been involved in discrimination lawsuits that are detailed in iegal databases. and students are not apt to be told about these on visits. 3. Preparing to Visit the Organization. Make an appointment to interview a: feast three company representatives. man- agers andior employees. If you can interview people from different functions and areas and levels (human resources. training. managers. and hourly employees}. it will provide different perspectives and richer data. Although all team members I 330 SECTION III A Framework for Understanding Organizational Diversity do not need to go on the interview. at least two or three should participate to min— imize bias. Because many organizations are reluctant to let students tape-record interviews. it is more realistic to be prepared to take notes. Of course. multiple visits would probably provide richer data. and some organizations will give stu- dents the time for this. but many will not. When making an appointment. it can be helpful to arrange for a tour of the organization. Student groups may discover interesting observations that contrast with the information that they will be given. For example. one student group visit- ing a medium-sized manufacturing piant observed that the entire manufacturing workforce was composed of Asian women. They later learned that one of the top managers believed that Asian women had small hands that made assembling elec- trical components easier. So he instructed his supervisors to hire only Asian women in the assembly area. Job applications from all others were immediately discarded. Before visiting the organization. the whole group should meet to work on three items: . Estabiishing criteria (i.e.. standards) for a diverse organization. Preparing a list of thoughtful questions about diversity that the group will explore on the visit{s). and Reviewing the semester‘s readings for ideas about how theory may apply to this organization. If the team has gathered. read. and thoroughly discussed the secondary data. it will help the group to accomplish these tasks more effectively and efficiently. Exampies of possible criteria that can be considered and then evaluated include. but are not limited to. topics discussed throughout the semester such as the following: Support for diversity from top management Managers held accountable for hiring. coaching and promoting diverse employees Diversity included in the organization's mission andr’or value statements and in the organization‘s planning process Representation of diverse people (race. gender. age. ethnicity. physical and men- tal challenges, etc.) in all levels of the organization and the board and in advertis- ing and publications Human capital programs that aid in the recruitment. support. and retention ofa diverse workforce. such as special recruiting efforts. flexible work arrangements for parents andt‘or older workers. employee resource groups, mentoring pro- grams, partner benefits. flexible holiday policies. etc. Effective diversity training that is ongoing. required for all levels of employees, and routinely updated and assessed for effectiveness Supplier diversity programs Corporate social responsibility programs that contribute resources people. finan- cial resources. etc.. to a range of causes that benefit diversity groups of people Evidence that the organization is inclusive. i.e.. diversity is connected to the main mission of the organization Evaluating Diversity and Inclusion in the Flea] World 331 I Remember that the group’s criteria for what would make an inclusive diverse workplace must be tailored to the mission. size. resources. location. etc. of the organization selected. For example. a nonprofit hospital located in a very diverse community will be very different from a FORTUNE 500 company with a headquarters in New York City and branches located in many countries. Consult Table l in Bourne's article on “The Inclusion Breakthrough..." under “The New Baseline" for additional ideas in developing your criteria for a diverse organization. 4. Visiting the OrganizationlConducting Primary Research. Make an appointment that is convenient for your contact. Dress professionally: be on time. polite. and respectful of your contacts time constraints. If the group is thoroughly prepared and is knowledgeable about the organization. it will show. Occasionally. student teams are asked that the name of the company be kept con- fidential. If this issue comes up. it is important that you be hottest. The teacher will have to know the true identity of the organization to assess the team’s work. However. a fictitious name can be used for the paper and class presentation. Try to gather additional information through observation. Be sure to pay attention to “subtle” cues of inclusion or lack of inclusion. tie. is there evidence that they really do what they say they do?). One helpful way to do this is to ana- lyze the organization‘s culture in terms of Schein's levels of culture (see Box). LEVELS OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE Surface Level Artifacts Includes organizational structures. processes. (visible) dress. rituals. physical layout. etc. Values Espoused values are what the organization (espoused & Operational) says it values in terms of strategies. philoso— phies, etc. not necessarily what they do. which are operational values Basic Underlying Assumptions Real source of values and behavior: Philosophies that are sometimes uncon- scious and difficult to change Adapted from Schein, E. {1997). (Jr'grrrtizrm'mmf C allure and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. p. 16—27. According to Schein. in order to understand organizational culture. one must look at an organization in terms of these three levels. For example. as an outsider. you may see things (artifacts). but not really understand what these things mean. until you know more about the espoused values and the underlying assumptions. This suggests caution in interpreting what you may observe on the site visit. For example. a team visited the corporate headquarters of a large cor- poration lauded in the business press for its innovative diversity programs and met with the manager in charge of the national program. Her office was small. had no visible secretarial support. was set off by movable partitions and was located in a hallway.The students interpreted her physical layout as meaning that I 332 SECTION III A Framework for Understanding Organizational Diversity diversity really was an "espoused" (what they said), not an "operational" (what they do) corporate value. In truth. her real office was being renovated! Sometimes teams discover interesting things on their visits about the racial. ethnic. gender. and age makeup of the various levels and divisions of the work- force.'1'his is very helpful because some organizations may be reluctant to provide concrete numbers on the demographics of their workers For example. is there sig- nage in Braille. Spanish. or another local popular language? Do all the Asian workers sit together at lunch? Is this organization going beyond what is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act in terms of accessibility? However. as in the previous example. students need to dig deeper into the organizational culture in order to accurately assess the true meanings of what they see. In another instance. a team was interviewing the manager of a store that is part ofa huge national retail chain. He proudly pointed out that his organization makes it a goal to provide jobs to physically challenged workers and even featured physically challenged customers in their advertising campaignsThere was a notice encouraging physically challenged workers to apply for jobs posted in the entrance. etc. However. at this store. the team found that these workers were assigned to work only in the stockroom. unseen by the customersThis provides an example of an initiative (revealed through the artifact) that may be supported at corporate level (espoused). but lacks accountability to make it operational at the local level.’I‘he manager‘s basic assumption was that his corporation was not taking this program seriously. Sometimes student groups can obtain interesting artifacts on the site visit{s} that will be helpful in writing their papers or can be visual aids in class presentations. Teams have returned with both useful and sometimes comical examples of how an organization promotes diversity and inclusion. such as writ- ten materials (copies of company newsletters. employee handbooks. and value statements) and artifacts (diversity coffee mugs for every member of the class, pictures of an all—white. middle-aged. male board of directors. and even a beaded diversity key chain). It is part of the learning experience for the group to deter- mine the value of these artifacts to determine if diversity is really valued, i.e., operational. or merely an espoused value at their organization. . Post-Visit Activity. Once the visit is completed. the real work beginsThis is the most important part of the process and may require several team meetings. Groups that do well on this assignment take ample time at this stage. The entire group should meet and debrief. In terms of diversity. what did they really see? What does it mean in terms of the organizational culture? What did they learn? How did the visit support or refute what they had learned through their secondary research? What seems coa- tradictory? What evidence is there of true inclusion? How can the theory learned during the semester. help to explain what they know about the organization? After thoroughly discussing the data. the group should evaluate their organiza- tion against their established criteria for a diverse organization. At this point. the may find that they omitted some factors and may want to add additional criteria. . Written Report (NOTE: Your Instructor May Assign Different Length Additional Content Requirements). Each team also will prepare a 12- to l4-page paper that explains their findings: detail. The paper should be free from spelling and grammatical errors, citetj Evaluating Diversity and Inclusion in the Real World 333 I sources and interviews in a bibliography. and contain any additional helpful material in an exhibit section (copies of organizational value statements. relevant press releases. company newsletters. etc). The report should detail the strengths and weaknesses of the organization‘s diversity initiatives and be organized as follows: i A one—paragraph executive summary 0 One page describing the company background (history. size. industry. organiza— tional structure. etc.) - One to twu pages explaining the group‘s criteria for a diverse organization 0 One to two pages describing the visit(s) - The remainder of the paper should focus on evaluating the organization’s efforts in terms of the diversity concepts covered in this course. particularly in Section Ill of this text. (i.e.. Where is this organization in terms of Thomas and Ely‘s par~ adigms? In which of the four phases detailed in Inclusion Breakthrough . . ." article is this organization in and why‘.’ What evidence is there of a business case for diversity in this organization?) 0 A conclusion with the team‘s recommendations for change and a team grade (A. A —. B+. B. 8—. etc.) for this organization‘s diversity and inclusion efforts. '- Bibliography. exhibits. etc. 7. Presentation. The variety of student projects and the lessons about diversity management should be shared with the rest of the class. It is particularly interesting to see the different approaches and contrasts of the organizations. Each team of students should make a class presentation that details the results of their diversity audit. At a minimum. the presentation should include a short company back- ground. a list of the group‘s criteria for a diverse organization. anything particularly interesting learned from the visit{s). and an explanation of the group‘s evaluation of their organization. linked to the textual theory. in terms of how it attempts to manage diversity and inclusion. It is expected that the group will use visual material {PowerPoint slides. handouts. material supplied by the organization. etc). rehearse their presentas tions so that individual speakers do not repeat each other‘s material. not exceed the time limits set by the instructor. and be prepared to ansWer ques- tions from the class. Al the conclusion of the talk. the group. without revealing the grade that they assigned to the organizatimt. should ask for a show of hands from the class mem- bers as to what letter grade from A to F should be assigned to this organization. Then. they can reveal what grade the group gave the company for their diversity efforts and the rationale behind the decision. BIBLIOGRAPHY Schein. E. { l997). ()rgrmiznttmm! minor- and leadership. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass). I64? ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/08/2012 for the course BUS 330 taught by Professor Na during the Fall '11 term at American River.

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Diversity Audit - Evaluating Diversity and Inclusion in the...

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