Monday, January 28, 2008

Rand report on managing diversity in corporate America

Rand released a report reviewing the rise of a new "cottage industry" -- consultants helping corporations to manage diversity, a newly promoted priority. The report criticizes the current approach used by such consultants as a...

laundry list of best practices that is not well organized, prioritized, or integrated. In contrast to this rule-based approach, the authors attempt to lay the groundwork for a fact-based approach to diversity management. We first establish a framework for evaluating approaches to diversity management on the basis of a synthesis of the best practices literature. We then use our diversity management model to determine whether diversity-friendly corporations really do stand out from other companies by analyzing the strategies pursued by 14 large U.S. companies recognized by Fortune magazine for their diversity or human resource (HR) achievements. Finally, to understand whether best practices alone make a company diversity-friendly, we compare a number of characteristics of best diversity companies, best HR companies, and other companies, using quantitative and qualitative methods.

Our principal findings are that firms recognized for diversity are distinguished by a core set of motives and practices that resemble those presented in the best practices literature, but that best practices per se may not enable a company to achieve a high level of diversity. Contextual factors, such as industry affiliation and company size, may be as significant as strategic factors in influencing the extent of a company’s diversity.
Click on the title to this post to reach the full text of the report.

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