Business Management — Diversity Issues
Contemporary business managers must be competent in all areas of diversity issues in order to comply with applicable federal laws, state laws, and to insulate their business organizations from potential civil liability arising from lawsuits for violations of those laws (Halbert & Ingulli, 2008). Cultural diversity issues typically arise in connection with the increasing demographic diversity of American society in general. Ethnic diversity issues also typically arise as a function of societal diversity, but ethnicity is a particularly important element of sensitivity to diversity in contemporary business because of the designation of minority races as “suspect classes” in relation to the protections afforded by the Civil Rights Act of 1965 (Halbert & Ingulli, 2008). Gender, while not as strictly protected by law as racial identity, is subject to the protections of the laws of equality in many states and also is a potential source of civil liability in relation to discrimination and harassment in the workplace (George & Jones, 2008).
The contemporary workplace environment generally requires sensitivity toward and awareness of the sensibilities and expectations of individuals from a wide range of (Robbins & Judge, 2009). Therefore, virtually all modern business organizations maintain employee training programs that include cultural diversity sensitivity training to ensure that their employees respect one another and avoid offending coworkers and other stakeholders such as vendors, and (especially) customers. Naturally, it is the professional manager’s responsibility to plan and deliver effective employee cultural sensitivity training programs to throughout the workforce (George & Jones, 2008).
Ethnic diversity presents many of the same issues as cultural diversity but in an even more important context because of the combined protection against racial and religious discrimination (in particular) afforded by the Civil Rights Act of 1965, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the fact that precedents set by the U.S. Supreme Court in that regard treat claims of racial and religious discrimination with the highest possible level of constitutional scrutiny by courts (Halbert & Ingulli, 2008). From the perspective of , that requires effective employee sensitivity training with respect to race, and the establishment and maintenance of policies, procedures, and protocols necessary to minimize potential enterprise liability by ensuring appropriate and timely response at every level of the organization in the event of any instance of racial discrimination (Halbert & Ingulli, 2008).
Gender issues in the as a function of the inherent and learned differences in sensibilities of males and females and (especially) in relation to potential risks of discrimination and harassment (Halbert & Ingulli, 2008). For business managers, the most important aspect of gender diversity issues is that organizations must be capable of training personnel to understand the nature of sexual discrimination, harassment, and the elements of what constitutes a hostile work environment (George & Jones, 2008; Robbins & Judge, 2009). Generally, that requires mangers to educate personnel to understand what can be potentially perceived as offensive or hostile by members of both genders and to establish protocols for immediately responding to any reports or complaints to mitigate organizational liability arising from the actions of individual employees. In that regard, enforcing rules prohibiting exploitation of subordinates by supervisors is particularly important (Halbert & Ingulli, 2008).
George, J.M. And Jones, G.R. (2008). Understanding and Managing Organizational
Behavior. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Halbert, T. And Ingulli, E. (2008). Law & Ethics in the Business Environment. Cincinnati:
West Legal Studies.
Robbins, S.P. And Judge, T.A. (2009). Organizational Behavior. Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Prentice Hall.