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The Business of Diversity

The Case for Action

A business case for diversity

How does diversity impact an organization?

Each year, many businesses lose money in overt, unconscious, and subtle ways by assuming that diversity has no significant business impact. Diversity has a direct or indirect relationship to organizational productivity. People working together in the most efficient way is the key to profitability. In the competitive business world, corporations are profitable because of the "efficiency of production" of their products and services.

Diversity is the people factor. It spans each of the vertical initiatives by virtue of the employees who actually implement the processes and the full array of differences they inherently bring to the workplace. Diversity and people are synonymous. In this sense, diversity is the key element in producing high performance since people make things happen, not structure or process.

The dimensions of diversity are:
  • Human diversity - Physical differences, personal preferences, or life experiences of an individual.
  • Cultural diversity - fundamental beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, values, and personal characteristics.
  • Systems diversity - The way corporations are organized, and how they function and implement strategy in order to continually achieve high performance.
Management of a Diverse Work Force

The other dimension of managing differences involves the progressive incorporation of empowerment and high performance.

This requires a shift from:
  • Supervisor to coach
  • Controller to responsible delegator
  • Organizer to coordinator
  • Manager to facilitator

In the ensuing years, we have come to learn that diversity goes far beyond EEO/AA in addressing the concerns of customers and employees as well as the implications regarding high performance. Diversity involves every aspect of an organization where people performance determines profitability—which is everything an organization does.

At present, diversity has evolved to the mature stage of becoming an institutionalized part of most organizational cultures. It is acknowledged by most organizations that diversity is inevitable. The only question is when and how. If an organization considers diversity to be a competitive advantage, then the answer is now—with all deliberate speed. An advantage only exists when most competitors are not actively pursuing a similar strategy. When diversity does become a necessity—driven primarily by demographics—there will be no advantage.

Innovations offers seminars, speeches, surveys, and publications to assist your organization in making diversity a competitive advantage.

The booklet The Business of Diversity—The Case for Action can be purchased in our bookstore as either a .pdf or hard copy.

We also offer customized business cases for diversity tailored to your organization's specific needs.

For more information, or to schedule a seminar, workshop, or speech:
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