In their eagerness to avoid the courts and editorial pages, most firms in America, and increasingly in Europe, now pay close attention to the sex and race of the people they recruit and promote, For example, Harvard Business School has just announced that they will go out of its way to include women in its case studies, which are used in business-school classrooms around the world. In other words, schools and businesses, in order to stay out of trouble, are taking the easy way out, quotas. (Kole, MacDonald. 1997. 1)
Although some women and minorities are hired to fill quotas, the majority of them are needed to create a cultural diverse workplace. Cultural Diversity can have a positive effect and be profitable but only for some firms. A well considered strategy must accompany Cultural Diversity if profit is to be made. There are at least two reasons to expect a policy of diversity to yield profits. One difference is communication. Because many people find it easier to understand others of the same sex, or nationality, it helps to have employees from the same cultural background as your customers.
It’s not only a matter of language, but understanding the customer’s needs, tastes and the earning of their trust is vital. The recruiting of people from a different cultural background can not only improve communication with outsiders, it may also bring fresh ideas to insiders (Kole, MacDonald. 1997. 2). Businesses don’t only need cultural diversity in order to relate to customers, they need women and minorities in management. Smaller banks have traditionally selected their directors from among those who live and work in their communities.
Their reasoning is to hire people who cannot only tell the banks what the people want, but also spread the word about their products. However, many banks surveyed by the Business Times have local natives on their boards, few women are represented and almost no minorities can be found-even in areas where there is a large minority population (Kole,MacDonald. 1997. 2). Many bank CEO’s feel that the lack of minority and female representation needs to be corrected (Cochran. 1997).
“Jack Anderson, chairman and Chief Executive of Johnstown-based BT Financial Corp. he holding company for Laurel Bank, and Johnstown Bank Trust Co. states “Any right-thinking person understands the need for diversity,” he said “I think it is something we need to work toward. “(Neiser. 1997. 1)” Anderson also recognizes that there hasn’t been a large pool of candidates to choose from. His sentimates are echoed by most bank executives (Cochran. 1997). Simply put, women and minorities are being left out of the board rooms, minority customers are paying the price. Problems that Occur Due to Lack of Representation If minority groups aren’t represented in a community many problems may arise.
One of which is customer dissatisfaction. Customers that can’s communicate with their bank or other businesses can become very frustrated and unhappy if customers don’t see their group represented within a business. They may not want to be a client of that company. “The most important part of being a Community Bank is representing your community”(Cochran. 1997). With this statement made by Pam Yoakum, assistant manager of Regency Bank, one can’t help but construe that in order to fully represent a community all minority groups should be represented. Affirmative Action
In the late 1960’s and early 70’s, affirmative action was the club that the federal government used to force American companies to hire people of color and women for managerial jobs. It mandated that a company set up specific and results-oriented procedures to which the company must commit itself and apply every good faith effort to insure equal employment opportunities to all employees regardless of sex, race, religion, or national origin. Back in the 1960’s and early 70’s, affirmative action, one of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Programs, created bright visions of magnificent career possibilities for millions of people of color and women.
For the first time, masses of women and people of color could begin dreaming of a career in corporate management. Affirmative Action put minorities into the corporate environment. And now “Cultural Diversity programs are created to help companies handle their presence”(Davis. 1997. 127). These creations open more jobs including an institute for managing diversity. Affirmative action changed the face of Corporate America. Back in the 1950’s that face was almost entirely white and male. Now it also includes African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, and women. But, in many instances, the white male is angry.
In just about as many cases, the white female face ranges from impassive to disappointed. The African-American face is just as often mistrusting and resentful. Chief among the reasons for the anger, disappointment, and resentment are white male “backlash” created in reaction to affirmative action itself and “downsizing” compiled to a large degree by the globalization of the American economy. At the same time the lines of conflict have been made more confusing due to the multicultural society which has evolved within the American population. This has created more groups which are fighting for power behind the closed doors of Corporate America.