Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

The following are books and related articles that could be used for a cultural diversity in the workplace study.  If a student were to create a 4 credit study with a mentor, a good starting place might be to select four of the books below (or another of his/her choosing) with one article or additional media.  If a student selects a textbook, only an additional article or media source would be required. 

Most students will be asked to write a PowerPoint of a diversity program.  To see examples, click here.

This page contains examples of learning contracts for group studies for Diversity in the Workplace.

Go here for articles/books/websites related to personal change and self-reflection and diversity issues.

Mackintosh, Peggy (1990) “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” Independent School Winter, Vol. 49, Issue 2 pg 31-36. ESC Link

  • A classic article that demonstrates the variety of ways in which one white female academic conceptualizes the “privileges” that she has that non-whites do not.

Blue Eye, Brown Eye experiment

  • A Frontline TV review of the original footage and interviews about the impact of the experiment on the students themselves can be found here.
  • To know more about the woman herself and to see what she is up to now go to http://www.janeelliott.com/
  • To learn more about how the threat of being similar to a particular stereotype can impact a person’s performance (as seen in the video) look at this article Stereotype Threat and Intellectual Test by Steele and Aronson from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1995here

For information on specific groups – mainly from the census – go here.

Information on Sonia Sotomayor and Affirmative Action can be found here.

Textbooks

Diversity in Organizations Myrtle  Bell Thompson South-Western

  • This is a standard textbook. It leads you through all of the various relevant topics with the vocabulary, concepts and examples.  Personally, I do not think that the issues of diversity in the workplace lend themselves to a textbook but of those that exist; I think this is a better example.

 

Individual Texts

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki 

  • This groundbreaking text presents various threads of life and work for selected groups (African Americans, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Mexican Americans/Chicanos) in a historical perspective to the middle of the 20th century.  The author has many other texts and will be missed – his NYTimes obituary is here.
  • A possible list of questions to go along with this text can be found here

Building on the Promise of Diversity by R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. 

  • This text has some history of the subject and an understanding of how the idea of diversity is wrapped up in the U.S. mindset but comes together to discuss Affirmative Action and his management techniques regarding Strategic Diversity Management.
  • Possible questions for introductory level students include:
    • What does Thomas Jr. believe is necessary for the workplace to be successful and inclusive in the United States?  Back up your opinion with clear examples from the text.
  • Possible questions for advanced level students include:
    • What impact does one aspect of Thomas’ personal or (not and) professional background show in the opinions and theories regarding diversity in this text? (in other words what has his background or experience given him that allowed him to express the ideas in the way that he did)  At least three specific ideas/concepts/strategies from the text must be mentioned.  Students might want to run the example of his background that they select by the mentor before starting to write the paper.
    • 2-4 pages  What do you think was the author’s purpose for writing this book? (hint: repeating what he said was the purpose without being critical will not earn you credit –  saying “to inform the public about the importance of diversity” will be equally frowned upon.)
    • Compare this author’s perspective with that of Knippenberg and Schippers’ “Work_Group_Diversity” in the Annual Review of Psychology 2007.  In what ways do they describe diversity in the workplace differently?

Making Diversity Work by Sondra Thiederman,

  • This text leads the reader through the seven steps to reduce one’s own bias.
  • Possible question for any level student:
    • Go through the process suggested by the book for one bias that you may have.  You will not be judged for having a bias, but for how well you understand the process and how directly you address it.  You must describe the various steps from the text to earn full credit.
  • Possible questions for advanced level student:
    • Thiederman appears to think that problems of diversity are under an individual’s control (if you can make individual change than…).  This contradicts the ideas presented by other authors.  Compare and contrast the perspectives of at least two authors you have read to demonstrate the perspectives of each by using each one’s ideas, theories, methods and solutions.

The Diversity Toolkit by William Sonnenschein

  • This is a comprehensive book that deals with many of the aspects of diversity in the workplace with a practical bent for the manager
  • Possible questions for the advanced level student:
    • The author has a particular perspective regarding how to manage diversity in an office.  What do you think it is?  Provide clear and specific examples to support your assertion. 

Harvard Business Review on Managing Diversity – edited text

  • This text presents several different “cases” regarding diversity in the workplace (the importance of mentoring, sexuality, gender) and presents them together in one group.  It does not provide solutions but is designed to foster thought.  It is a good companion text.

Diversity: The Invention of a Concept by Peter Wood

  • This text is written by an anthropologist to argue that diversity is not a good thing for the United States.  It is fascinating, well researched and informative.  It presents the opposite perspective of many of the other texts listed here.
  • Possible questions for an advanced level student who reads the entire text:
    • Imagine that Wood represents the arguments of a manager in your office who does not believe in affirmative action.  Using one of the other texts that you have read, use convincing and logical arguments to contradict at least three of the ideas that he presents.

Latinos Inc by Arlene Davila

  • This text has a marketing focus but it looks at how media has shaped the understanding of these diverse groups in the eyes of the population of the United States.

There are also a lot of good books listed on the following site by aimd.org  

One should always maintain a sense of humor, and here’s some diversity humor courtesy of outsidethebeltway.com 

Articles

Mackintosh, Peggy (1990) “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” Independent School Winter, Vol. 49, Issue 2 pg 31-36. ESC Link

  • A classic article that demonstrates the variety of ways in which one white female academic conceptualizes the “privileges” that she has that non-whites do not.

“The Effect of Physical Height on Workplace Success and Income” by Judge and Cable in Journal of Applied Psychology 2004 can be found

  • This article shows that as height confers social and self esteem, it has a link to workplace success and income. 
  • Possible question for a paper
    • Based on Judge and Cable’s evidence, it is possible to claim discrimination based on lack of height? 

Mandani, Mahmood (2002) “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism” in American Anthropologist Vol 104 Num 3. ESC Link

Spedley, Audrey (1998) “Race and the Construction of Human Identity” American Anthropologist Vol 100 No 3 Pg 690-702. ESC Link

Crockett, David and Melanie Wallendorf 2004 “Role of Normative Political Ideology on Consumer Behavior” in Journal of Consumer Research December pg 511-528. ESC Link

  • This is a fascinating article on the cultural logic of where to live and shop for African Americans in a particular part of Milwaukee WI.

Cose, Ellis (2009) “Revisiting ‘The Rage of a Privileged Class’” Newsweek 2/2/2009 Vol 153 Issue 5 pg 42-43 ESC Link

Video/Movies

Blue Eye, Brown Eye experiment

  • A Frontline TV review of the original footage and interviews about the impact of the experiment on the students themselves can be found here.
  • To know more about the woman herself and to see what she is up to now go to http://www.janeelliott.com/
  • To learn more about how the threat of being similar to a particular stereotype can impact a person’s performance (as seen in the video) look at this article Stereotype Threat and Intellectual Test by Steele and Aronson from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1995here

 

Online Exercises

  • How to have the “what you said or did was racist” conversation according to www.illdoctrine.com

The Police Officer’s Dilemma

  • Quotation from site that their goal was to “develop and refine a first-person-shooter videogame, which presents a series of images of young men, some armed, some unarmed, set against realistic backgrounds like parks or city streets. The player’s goal is to shoot any and all armed targets, but not to shoot unarmed targets. Half of the targets are Black, and half are White. We have used this game to investigate whether decisions to “shoot” a potentially hostile target can be influenced by that target’s race.”
  • You can do it yourself here  Really well worth the time.

The “truth” about the races

  • There is a quiz located here that discusses the question of “race” (versus the term I prefer, ethnicity).  Consider taking the quiz.

The BBC created an entire page of quizzes regarding world religions.  See how much you know!

How do we have to change the minority/majority debate as there are increasing numbers of locations around the United States that now have “majority of minorities”? see this article for more on the topic.

This website has a pre-post-test of how your feelings have changed.  It is an interesting exercise to do at the beginning of a diversity related study and then again at the end to see how you’re your thoughts have or have not changed.  The survey does not directly relate to the workplace.

 

Legal background Websites