Skip to Content
OpenStax Logo
Principles of Management

12.4 Challenges of Diversity

Principles of Management12.4 Challenges of Diversity
Buy book
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Managing and Performing
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 What Do Managers Do?
    3. 1.2 The Roles Managers Play
    4. 1.3 Major Characteristics of the Manager's Job
    5. Key Terms
    6. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    7. Chapter Review Questions
    8. Management Skills Application Exercises
    9. Managerial Decision Exercises
    10. Critical Thinking Case
  3. 2 Managerial Decision-Making
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Overview of Managerial Decision-Making
    3. 2.2 How the Brain Processes Information to Make Decisions: Reflective and Reactive Systems
    4. 2.3 Programmed and Nonprogrammed Decisions
    5. 2.4 Barriers to Effective Decision-Making
    6. 2.5 Improving the Quality of Decision-Making
    7. 2.6 Group Decision-Making
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Chapter Review Questions
    11. Management Skills Application Exercises
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
    13. Critical Thinking Case
  4. 3 The History of Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 The Early Origins of Management
    3. 3.2 The Italian Renaissance
    4. 3.3 The Industrial Revolution
    5. 3.4 Taylor-Made Management
    6. 3.5 Administrative and Bureaucratic Management
    7. 3.6 Human Relations Movement
    8. 3.7 Contingency and System Management
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Chapter Review Questions
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
  5. 4 External and Internal Organizational Environments and Corporate Culture
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 The Organization's External Environment
    3. 4.2 External Environments and Industries
    4. 4.3 Organizational Designs and Structures
    5. 4.4 The Internal Organization and External Environments
    6. 4.5 Corporate Cultures
    7. 4.6 Organizing for Change in the 21st Century
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Chapter Review Questions
    11. Management Skills Application Exercises
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
    13. Critical Thinking Case
  6. 5 Ethics, Corporate Responsibility, and Sustainability
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Ethics and Business Ethics Defined
    3. 5.2 Dimensions of Ethics: The Individual Level
    4. 5.3 Ethical Principles and Responsible Decision-Making
    5. 5.4 Leadership: Ethics at the Organizational Level
    6. 5.5 Ethics, Corporate Culture, and Compliance
    7. 5.6 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
    8. 5.7 Ethics around the Globe
    9. 5.8 Emerging Trends in Ethics, CSR, and Compliance
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Chapter Review Questions
    13. Management Skills Application Exercises
    14. Managerial Decision Exercises
    15. Critical Thinking Case
  7. 6 International Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 Importance of International Management
    3. 6.2 Hofstede's Cultural Framework
    4. 6.3 The GLOBE Framework
    5. 6.4 Cultural Stereotyping and Social Institutions
    6. 6.5 Cross-Cultural Assignments
    7. 6.6 Strategies for Expanding Globally
    8. 6.7 The Necessity of Global Markets
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Chapter Review Questions
    12. Management Skills Application Exercises
    13. Managerial Decision Exercises
    14. Critical Thinking Case
  8. 7 Entrepreneurship
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Entrepreneurship
    3. 7.2 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
    4. 7.3 Small Business
    5. 7.4 Start Your Own Business
    6. 7.5 Managing a Small Business
    7. 7.6 The Large Impact of Small Business
    8. 7.7 The Small Business Administration
    9. 7.8 Trends in Entrepreneurship and Small-Business Ownership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Chapter Review Questions
    13. Management Skills Application Exercises
    14. Managerial Decision Exercises
    15. Critical Thinking Case
  9. 8 Strategic Analysis: Understanding a Firm’s Competitive Environment
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 Gaining Advantages by Understanding the Competitive Environment
    3. 8.2 Using SWOT for Strategic Analysis
    4. 8.3 A Firm's External Macro Environment: PESTEL
    5. 8.4 A Firm's Micro Environment: Porter's Five Forces
    6. 8.5 The Internal Environment
    7. 8.6 Competition, Strategy, and Competitive Advantage
    8. 8.7 Strategic Positioning
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Chapter Review Questions
    12. Management Skills Application Exercises
    13. Managerial Decision Exercises
    14. Critical Thinking Case
  10. 9 The Strategic Management Process: Achieving and Sustaining Competitive Advantage
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Strategic Management
    3. 9.2 Firm Vision and Mission
    4. 9.3 The Role of Strategic Analysis in Formulating a Strategy
    5. 9.4 Strategic Objectives and Levels of Strategy
    6. 9.5 Planning Firm Actions to Implement Strategies
    7. 9.6 Measuring and Evaluating Strategic Performance
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Chapter Review Questions
    11. Management Skills Application Exercises
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
    13. Critical Thinking Case
  11. 10 Organizational Structure and Change
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Organizational Structures and Design
    3. 10.2 Organizational Change
    4. 10.3 Managing Change
    5. Key Terms
    6. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    7. Chapter Review Questions
    8. Management Skills Application Exercises
    9. Managerial Decision Exercises
    10. Critical Thinking Case
  12. 11 Human Resource Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 An Introduction to Human Resource Management
    3. 11.2 Human Resource Management and Compliance
    4. 11.3 Performance Management
    5. 11.4 Influencing Employee Performance and Motivation
    6. 11.5 Building an Organization for the Future
    7. 11.6 Talent Development and Succession Planning
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Chapter Review Questions
    11. Management Skills Application Exercises
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
    13. Critical Thinking Case
  13. 12 Diversity in Organizations
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 An Introduction to Workplace Diversity
    3. 12.2 Diversity and the Workforce
    4. 12.3 Diversity and Its Impact on Companies
    5. 12.4 Challenges of Diversity
    6. 12.5 Key Diversity Theories
    7. 12.6 Benefits and Challenges of Workplace Diversity
    8. 12.7 Recommendations for Managing Diversity
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Chapter Review Questions
    12. Management Skills Application Exercises
    13. Managerial Decision Exercises
    14. Critical Thinking Case
  14. 13 Leadership
    1. Introduction
    2. 13.1 The Nature of Leadership
    3. 13.2 The Leadership Process
    4. 13.3 Leader Emergence
    5. 13.4 The Trait Approach to Leadership
    6. 13.5 Behavioral Approaches to Leadership
    7. 13.6 Situational (Contingency) Approaches to Leadership
    8. 13.7 Substitutes for and Neutralizers of Leadership
    9. 13.8 Transformational, Visionary, and Charismatic Leadership
    10. 13.9 Leadership Needs in the 21st Century
    11. Key Terms
    12. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    13. Chapter Review Questions
    14. Management Skills Application Exercises
    15. Managerial Decision Exercises
    16. Critical Thinking Case
  15. 14 Work Motivation for Performance
    1. Introduction
    2. 14.1 Motivation: Direction and Intensity
    3. 14.2 Content Theories of Motivation
    4. 14.3 Process Theories of Motivation
    5. 14.4 Recent Research on Motivation Theories
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    8. Chapter Review Questions
    9. Management Skills Application Exercises
    10. Managerial Decision Exercises
    11. Critical Thinking Case
  16. 15 Managing Teams
    1. Introduction
    2. 15.1 Teamwork in the Workplace
    3. 15.2 Team Development Over Time
    4. 15.3 Things to Consider When Managing Teams
    5. 15.4 Opportunities and Challenges to Team Building
    6. 15.5 Team Diversity
    7. 15.6 Multicultural Teams
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Chapter Review Questions
    11. Management Skills Application Exercises
    12. Managerial Decision Exercises
    13. Critical Thinking Case
  17. 16 Managerial Communication
    1. Introduction
    2. 16.1 The Process of Managerial Communication
    3. 16.2 Types of Communications in Organizations
    4. 16.3 Factors Affecting Communications and the Roles of Managers
    5. 16.4 Managerial Communication and Corporate Reputation
    6. 16.5 The Major Channels of Management Communication Are Talking, Listening, Reading, and Writing
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    9. Chapter Review Questions
    10. Management Skills Application Exercises
    11. Managerial Decision Exercises
    12. Critical Thinking Case
  18. 17 Organizational Planning and Controlling
    1. Introduction
    2. 17.1 Is Planning Important
    3. 17.2 The Planning Process
    4. 17.3 Types of Plans
    5. 17.4 Goals or Outcome Statements
    6. 17.5 Formal Organizational Planning in Practice
    7. 17.6 Employees' Responses to Planning
    8. 17.7 Management by Objectives: A Planning and Control Technique
    9. 17.8 The Control- and Involvement-Oriented Approaches to Planning and Controlling
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Chapter Review Questions
    13. Management Skills Application Exercises
    14. Managerial Decision Exercises
    15. Critical Thinking Case
  19. 18 Management of Technology and Innovation
    1. Introduction
    2. 18.1 MTI—Its Importance Now and In the Future
    3. 18.2 Developing Technology and Innovation
    4. 18.3 External Sources of Technology and Innovation
    5. 18.4 Internal Sources of Technology and Innovation
    6. 18.5 Management Entrepreneurship Skills for Technology and Innovation
    7. 18.6 Skills Needed for MTI
    8. 18.7 Managing Now for Future Technology and Innovation
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Chapter Review Questions
    12. Management Skills Application Exercises
    13. Managerial Decision Exercises
    14. Critical Thinking Case
  20. References
  21. Index
  1. What is workplace discrimination, and how does it affect different social identity groups?

Although diversity has it benefits, there are also challenges that managers must face that can only be addressed with proper leadership. Some of the most common challenges observed in organizations and studied in research include lower organizational attachment and misunderstanding work diversity initiatives and programs.

Lower Organizational Attachment

Although diversity programs attract and retain women and minorities, they may have the opposite effect on other, nonminority employees. When diversity is not managed effectively, White and male employees can feel alienated from or targeted by the organization as diversity programs are put in place. A study that examined 151 work groups across three large organizations investigated whether the proportion of group membership based on race or sex affected the group members’ absentee rates, psychological attachment to their work group, and turnover intentions,111 three factors that play significant roles in an employee’s attachment to their organization. Results showed a positive relationship between group heterogeneity and lower organizational attachment, higher turnover intentions, and greater frequency of absences for men and for White group members. In other words, as work group diversity increased, White employees and male employees felt less attached to the organization and were more likely to quit. Because heterogeneous groups improve creativity and judgement, managers should not avoid using them because they may be challenging to manage. Instead, employers need to make sure they understand the communication structure and decision-making styles of their work groups and seek feedback from employees to learn how dominant group members may adjust to diversity.

Legal Challenges and Diversity

The legal system is used to combat discrimination. Among the ways that we will cover here are reverse discrimination, workplace discrimination, harassment, age discrimination, disability discrimination, national origin discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, race/color discrimination, religious discrimination, sex-based discrimination and other forms of discrimination.

Reverse Discrimination

As research shows, workplace discrimination against women and racial or ethnic minorities is common. Reverse discrimination is a term that has been used to describe a situation in which dominant group members perceive that they are experiencing discrimination based on their race or sex. This type of discrimination is uncommon, but is usually claimed when the dominant group perceives that members of a protected (diverse) class of citizens are given preference in workplace or educational opportunities based not on their merit or talents, but on a prescribed preferential treatment awarded only on the basis of race or sex.

Research conducted in the 1990s shows that only six federal cases of reverse discrimination were upheld over a four-year period (1990–1994), and only 100 of the 3,000 cases for discrimination over that same four-year period were claims of reverse discrimination.112 Interestingly, a recent poll administered by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that a little more than half of White Americans believe that White people face discrimination overall, and 19% believe they have experienced hiring discrimination due to the color of their skin.113 This misperception stems in part from the recalibration of the labor force as it become more balanced due to increased equal employment opportunities for everyone. Members of dominant identity groups, Whites and men, perceive fewer opportunities for themselves when they observe the workforce becoming more diverse. In reality, the workforce of a majority of companies is still predominantly White and male employees. The only difference is that legislation protecting employees from discrimination and improvements in equal access to education have created opportunities for minority group members when before there were none.

Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination occurs when an employee or an applicant is treated unfairly at work or in the job-hiring process due to an identity group, condition, or personal characteristic such as the ones mentioned above. Discrimination can occur through marital status, for example when a person experiences workplace discrimination because of the characteristics of a person to whom they are married. Discrimination can also occur when the offender is of the same protected status of the victim, for example when someone discriminates against someone based on a national origin that they both share.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the primary goal of making it illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace due to their race, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or pregnancy status.114 The EEOC enforces laws and issues guidelines for employment-related treatment. It also has the authority to investigate charges of workplace discrimination, attempt to settle the charges, and, if necessary, file lawsuits when the law has been broken.

All types of workplace discrimination are prohibited under different laws enacted and enforced by the EEOC, which also considers workplace harassment and sexual harassment forms of workplace discrimination and mandates that men and women must be given the same pay for equal work.115

The provision for equal pay is covered under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which was an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Virtually all employers are subject to the provisions of the act, which was an attempt to address pay inequities between men and women. More than 50 years later, however, women still earn about 80 cents to every dollar that men earn, even while performing the same or similar jobs.116

Harassment

Harassment is any unwelcome conduct that is based on characteristics such as age, race, national origin, disability, sex, or pregnancy status. Harassment is a form of workplace discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.117

Sexual harassment specifically refers to harassment based on a person’s sex, and it can (but does not have to) include unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or physical and verbal acts of a sexual nature. Though members of any sex can be the victim of sexual harassment, women are the primary targets of this type of harassment.118

Age Discrimination

Age discrimination consists of treating an employee or applicant less favorably due to their age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids discrimination against individuals who are age 40 and above. The act prohibits harassment because of age, which can include offensive or derogatory remarks that create a hostile work environment.119

Disability Discrimination

A person with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more of the person’s life actions. Disability discrimination occurs when an employee or applicant who is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is treated unfavorably due to their physical or mental disability. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications against people with disabilities.120 To be covered under the ADA, individuals must be able to perform the essential functions of their job with or without reasonable accommodations. Research has shown that reasonable accommodations are typically of no or low cost (less than $100) to employers.121

National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of their country of origin, accent, ethnicity, or appearance. EEOC regulations make it illegal to implement an employment practice or policy that applies to everyone if it has a negative impact on people of a certain national origin. For example, employers cannot institute an “English-only” language policy unless speaking English at all times is essential to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the business. Employers also cannot mandate employees be fluent in English unless fluency in English is essential to satisfactory job performance. The EEOC also prohibits businesses from hiring only U.S. citizens or lawful residents unless the business is required by law to do so.122

Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination involves treating an employee or applicant unfairly because of pregnancy status, childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits any discrimination as it relates to pregnancy in any of the following areas: hiring, firing, compensation, training, job assignment, insurance, or any other employment conditions. Further, certain conditions that result from pregnancy may be protected under the ADA, which means employers may need to make reasonable accommodations for any employee with disabilities related to pregnancy.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), new parents, including adoptive and foster parents, may be eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave (or paid leave only if earned by the employee) to care for the new child. Also, nursing mothers have the right to express milk on workplace premises.123

Race/Color Discrimination

Race/color discrimination involves treating employees or applicants unfairly because of their race or because of physical characteristics typically associated with race such as skin color, hair color, hair texture, or certain facial features.

As with national origin discrimination, certain workplace policies that apply to all employees may be unlawful if they unfairly disadvantage employees of a certain race. Policies that specify that certain hairstyles must or must not be worn, for example, may unfairly impact African American employees, and such policies are prohibited unless their enforcement is necessary to the operations of the business.124

Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination occurs when employees or applicants are treated unfairly because of their religious beliefs. The laws protect those who belong to traditional organized religions and those who do not belong to organized religions but hold strong religious, ethical, or moral beliefs of some kind. Employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees’ religious beliefs, which may include flexible scheduling or modifications to workplace practices. Employees are also permitted accommodation when it comes to religious dress and grooming practices, unless such accommodations will place an undue burden on the employer. Employees are also protected from having to participate (or not participate) in certain religious practices as terms of their employment.125

Sex-Based Discrimination

Sex-based discrimination occurs when employees or applicants are treated unfairly because of their sex. This form of discrimination includes unfair treatment due to gender, transgender status, and sexual orientation. Harassment and policies that unfairly impact certain groups protected under sex discrimination laws are prohibited under EEOC legislation.126

The key diversity-related federal laws are summarized in Table 12.2.

Key Diversity Related Legislation
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with the primary role of making it illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace due to their race, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or pregnancy status.
Equal Pay Act of 1963 Mandates that men and women must be given the same pay for equal work
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) Forbids discrimination against individuals who are age 40 and above.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, public services, public accommodations, and in telecommunications
Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) Prohibits any discrimination as it relates to pregnancy, including hiring, firing, compensation, training, job assignment, insurance, or any other employment conditions.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Grants new parents up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave to care for the new child, and gives nursing mothers the right to express milk on workplace premises.
Table 12.2 (Attribution: Copyright Rice University, OpenStax, under CC-BY 4.0 license)

Other Types of Discrimination

Beyond the key types of discrimination outlined by the EEOC, diversity and management scholars have identified other types of discrimination that frequently impact certain identity groups more than others. Access discrimination is a catchall term that describes when people are denied employment opportunities because of their identity group or personal characteristics such as sex, race, age, or other factors. Treatment discrimination describes a situation in which people are employed but are treated differently while employed, mainly by receiving different and unequal job-related opportunities or rewards.127 Scholars have also identified a form of discrimination called interpersonal or covert discrimination that involves discrimination that manifests itself in ways that are not visible or readily identifiable, yet is serious because it can impact interpersonal interactions between employees, employees and customers, and other important workplace relationships.

This type of discrimination poses unique challenges because it is difficult to identify. For example, one study examining customer service and discrimination found that obese customers were more likely to experience interpersonal discrimination than average-weight customers. Salespersons spent less time interacting with obese customers than average-weight customers, and average-weight customers reported more positive interactions with salespeople when asked about standard customer service metrics such as being smiled at, receiving eye contact, and perceived friendliness.128

Concept Check

  1. What is the role of the EEOC?
  2. What are the types of discrimination encountered in the workplace?
Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book is Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/principles-management/pages/1-introduction
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/principles-management/pages/1-introduction
Citation information

© Mar 20, 2019 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.