Chapter11: Managing the Diverse Workforce
Some organizations are monolithicAn organization that has a low degree of structural integration—employing few women, minorities, or other groups that differ from the majority—and thus has a highly homogeneous employee population. . This type of organization has very little cultural integration; in other words, it employs few women, minorities, or any other groups that differ from the majority. For example, in its hiring, an organization might favor alumni of the same college, perhaps even more specifically targeting members of fraternities who are enthusiastic about the school's football team. Such an organization is highly homogeneous in terms of its employee population. In monolithic organizations, if groups other than the norm are employed, they are found primarily in low-status jobs. Minority group members must adopt the norms of the majority to survive. This fact, coupled with small numbers, keeps conflicts among groups low. Discrimination and prejudice typically prevail, informal integration is almost nonexistent, and minority group members do not identify strongly with the company.p. 401
Diversity Assumptions and Their Implications for Management
SOURCE: From “Diversity Assumptions and Their Implications for Management” by Nancy J. Adler, Handbook of Organization, 1996. Reprinted courtesy of Marcel Dekker Inc., New York.
Most large U.S. organizations made the transition from monolithic to pluralistic organizations in the 1960s and 1970s because of changing demographics as well as societal forces such as the civil rights and women's movements. Pluralistic organizationsAn organization that has a relatively diverse employee population and makes an effort to involve employees from different gender, racial,or cultural backgrounds. have a more diverse employee population and take steps to involve persons from different gender, racial, or cultural backgrounds. These organizations use an affirmative action approach to managing diversity: they actively try to hire and train a diverse workforce and to ensure against any discrimination against minority group members. They typically have much more integration than do monolithic organizations, but like monolithic organizations, they often have minority group members clustered at certain levels or in particular functions within the organization.
Because of greater cultural integration, affirmative action programs, and training programs, the pluralistic organization has some acceptance of minority group members into the informal network, much less discrimination, and less prejudice. Improved employment opportunities create greater identification with the organization among minority group members. Often the resentment of majority group members, coupled with the increased number of women and minorities, creates more conflict than exists in the monolithic organization.
The pluralistic organization fails to address the cultural aspects of integration. In contrast, in multicultural organizationsAn organization that values cultural diversity and seeks to utilize and encourage it. diversity not only exists but is valued. These organizations fully integrate gender, racial, and minority group members both formally and informally. But managers in such organizations do not focus primarily on the visible differences between employees, like race or sex. Rather, managers value and draw on the different experience and knowledge employees bring to the organization and help it achieve agreed-upon strategies and goals.40 The multicultural organization is marked by an absence of prejudice and discrimination and by low levels of intergroup conflict. Such an organization creates a synergistic environment in which all members contribute to their maximum potential and the advantages of diversity can be fully realized.41 As you read the “Management Close-Up: Taking Action” feature, consider whether Marriott International offers the qualities of a multicultural or a pluralistic organization.
40K. A. Jehn, “Workplace Diversity, Conflict, and Productivity: Managing in the 21st Century,” SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Diversity, http://mktg-sun.wharton.upenn.edu/SEI/diversity.html.
41A. J. Murrell, F. J. Crosby, and R. J. Ely, Mentoring Dilemmas: Developmental Relationships within Multicultural Organizations (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999). See a review of this book by M. L. Lengnick-Hall, “Mentoring Dilemmas: Developmental Relationships within Multicultural Organizations,” Personnel Psychology 53, no. 1 (Spring 2000), pp. 224–27.
42“Marriott Nearly Doubles Billion Dollar Spending Goal with Diverse Suppliers,” Hospitality Industry, February 25, 2009, http://www.hospitality-industry.com; Haapaniemi, “Diversity Goes Global”; Deann D. Holcomb, “Marriott Adds Global Hospitality to Diversity and Inclusion,” Minority Business News, August 12, 2008, http://www.mbnusa.com; “Marriott Expands Diverse Hotel Ownership Portfolio,” National Harbor, July 31, 2008, http://www.nationalharbor.com; “100 Best Companies to Work For,” Fortune, February 4, 2008, http://money.cnn.com; Anita Huslin, “Marriott's New Diversity Executive Comes Full Circle,” Washington Post, January 21, 2008, http://www.washingtonpost.com; Gaynair, “Marriott International Forms Diversity Position”; “Marriott Sets New Supplier Diversity Goal,” Smart Brief, August 16, 2007.