Management Study Set 36

Business

Quiz 13 :

Managing Diversity and Inclusion

Quiz 13 :

Managing Diversity and Inclusion

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Draper Manufacturing "You see what I'm up against?" asked Ralph Draper wearily as he escorted Ted Hanrahan, a diversity consultant, into his modest office on a rainy October day. Ralph was the new CEO of Draper Manufacturing, a small mattress manufacturer. He'd recently moved back to Portland, Oregon, his hometown, to rake over the reins of the family-owned company from his ailing father. Ralph and Ted had just come from a contentious meeting of Draper's top managers that vividly illustrated the festering racial tensions Ralph wanted Ted to help alleviate. It hadn't taken long for sales manager Brent Myers to con-front shipping and receiving department head Adam Fox, an African American and the only non-white manager. "Why can't your boys get orders shipped out on time?" Brent demanded. "Isn't there some way you can get them to pay a little less attention to their bling and a little more to their responsibilities? Adam Fox shot back angrily, "If you tightwads actually hired enough people to get the job done, there wouldn't be any problem." The other managers sat by silently, looking acutely uncomfortable, until the quality control head worked in a joke about his wife. Most laughed loudly, and Ralph took the opportunity to steer the conversation to other agenda topics. The main challenge Draper faces is the price of oil, which had passed $100 per barrel mark that summer. In addition to powering its operations and shipping, petroleum is an essential raw material for many mattress components, from polyester and thread to foam. In addition, the Gulf hurricanes caused severe shortages of TDI, the chemical used to make polyurethane foam, a key component. So far, the company had passed its cost increases on to the consumer, but with increased competition from low-priced Asian imports, no one knew how long that strategy would work. To survive in mattress manufacturing, Draper needs to find ways to lower costs and increase productivity. Ralph completely understands why Brent is pressuring Adam to ship orders out more quickly. The current workforce reflects Draper's determination to keep labor costs low. It employs 90 people full-time, the majority of whom are Asian and Hispanic immigrants and African Americans. Although women make up 75 percent of the workforce, nearly all of the shipping department employees are young African American men. Instead of adding to its permanent workforce, the company hires part-time workers from time to time, mostly Hispanic females. It tends to engage Asians as mechanics and machine operators because human resources head Teresa Burns believes they have superior technical skills. The result is a diverse but polarized workforce."This is a time everyone needs to pull together" said Ralph. "But what's happening is that each minority group sticks to itself. The African Americans and Asians rarely mix, and most of the Mexicans stay to themselves and speak only in Spanish." When two of the older white shipping employees retired last year, Ralph didn't replace them, hoping to improve efficiency by cutting salary costs. "It seems to me that some of our workers are just downright lazy sometimes," said Ralph. "I myself have talked to Adam about pushing his kids to develop a work ethic. But he insists on blaming the company for the department's problems. You can see why we want your help." If you were the shipping and receiving or human resources manager, how do you think you would feel about working at Draper? What are some of the challenges you might face at this company?
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Company D has a number of factors impacting its business. These include competitive pressures, material cost increases, and groups of employees who are having trouble understanding each other and working effectively.
Being the shipping manager at company D would be difficult. This is because some staff would feel that race is the reason for slower shipping times in the department, and they are not interested in hearing about the other possible causes such as staffing shortages. Placing the blame on race means that solutions such as hiring additional staff are not given any consideration.
Being a human resources manager at company D would be difficult. This would be due to the reason that giving priority to specific races when hiring is not allowed by federal laws. Currently the company is bringing in staff belonging to specific race for different positions.

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Draper Manufacturing "You see what I'm up against?" asked Ralph Draper wearily as he escorted Ted Hanrahan, a diversity consultant, into his modest office on a rainy October day. Ralph was the new CEO of Draper Manufacturing, a small mattress manufacturer. He'd recently moved back to Portland, Oregon, his hometown, to rake over the reins of the family-owned company from his ailing father. Ralph and Ted had just come from a contentious meeting of Draper's top managers that vividly illustrated the festering racial tensions Ralph wanted Ted to help alleviate. It hadn't taken long for sales manager Brent Myers to con-front shipping and receiving department head Adam Fox, an African American and the only non-white manager. "Why can't your boys get orders shipped out on time?" Brent demanded. "Isn't there some way you can get them to pay a little less attention to their bling and a little more to their responsibilities? Adam Fox shot back angrily, "If you tightwads actually hired enough people to get the job done, there wouldn't be any problem." The other managers sat by silently, looking acutely uncomfortable, until the quality control head worked in a joke about his wife. Most laughed loudly, and Ralph took the opportunity to steer the conversation to other agenda topics. The main challenge Draper faces is the price of oil, which had passed $100 per barrel mark that summer. In addition to powering its operations and shipping, petroleum is an essential raw material for many mattress components, from polyester and thread to foam. In addition, the Gulf hurricanes caused severe shortages of TDI, the chemical used to make polyurethane foam, a key component. So far, the company had passed its cost increases on to the consumer, but with increased competition from low-priced Asian imports, no one knew how long that strategy would work. To survive in mattress manufacturing, Draper needs to find ways to lower costs and increase productivity. Ralph completely understands why Brent is pressuring Adam to ship orders out more quickly. The current workforce reflects Draper's determination to keep labor costs low. It employs 90 people full-time, the majority of whom are Asian and Hispanic immigrants and African Americans. Although women make up 75 percent of the workforce, nearly all of the shipping department employees are young African American men. Instead of adding to its permanent workforce, the company hires part-time workers from time to time, mostly Hispanic females. It tends to engage Asians as mechanics and machine operators because human resources head Teresa Burns believes they have superior technical skills. The result is a diverse but polarized workforce."This is a time everyone needs to pull together" said Ralph. "But what's happening is that each minority group sticks to itself. The African Americans and Asians rarely mix, and most of the Mexicans stay to themselves and speak only in Spanish." When two of the older white shipping employees retired last year, Ralph didn't replace them, hoping to improve efficiency by cutting salary costs. "It seems to me that some of our workers are just downright lazy sometimes," said Ralph. "I myself have talked to Adam about pushing his kids to develop a work ethic. But he insists on blaming the company for the department's problems. You can see why we want your help." How would a cultural audit help Draper Manufacturing assess its diversity issues? What questions do you suggest be included in the cultural audit?
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Company D has a number of factors impacting its business. These include competitive pressure, increase in material costs, and groups of employees who are having trouble in understanding each other and working effectively together. A cultural audit will help assess its diversity issues by identifying the specific issues the company is having, so they can be addressed.
Some questions that should be included in the audit are:
• Do promotion rates at the company vary by gender or race?
• Are there differences in compensation for similar positions based on gender or race?
• Are there stereotypes that exist in the workforce that need to be addressed?
• Are there productivity differences by gender or race at the company? If so, training should be provided to the less productive groups. If not, education needs to be provided to the entire team showing that race and gender are not the reason for any changes in the results.

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Sunset Prayers 104 Frank Piechowski, plant manager for a Minnesota North Woods Appliance Corporation refrigerator plant, just received his instructions from the vice president for manufacturing. He was to hire 40 more temporary workers through Twin Cities Staffing, the local labor agency that North Woods used. Frank already knew from past experience that most, if not all, of the new hires available to work the assembly line would be Muslim Somali refugees, people who had immigrated to Minnesota from their war-torn native country en masse over the past 15 years. North Woods, like all appliance manufacturers, was trying to survive in a highly competitive, mature industry. Appliance companies were competing mainly on price. The entrance of large chains such as Best Buy and Home Depot only intensified the price wars, not to mention that consumers could easily do comparison shopping before leaving home by logging on to the Internet. The pressure to keep production costs low was considerable. That's where the Somali workers came in. In an effort to keep labor costs low, North Woods was relying more and more on temporary workers rather than increasing the ranks of permanent employees. Frank was quite pleased with the Somalis already at work on the assembly line. Although few in number, they were responsible, hardworking, and willing to work for the wages that he could afford to pay. It was the first time this son of Polish immigrants had ever come into contact with Muslims, but so far, it had gone well. Frank had established a good working relationship with the Somalis' spokesperson, Halima Adan, who explained that unlike most Western faiths, Islamic religious practices were inextricably woven into everyday life. So together, they worked out ways to accommodate Muslim customs. Frank authorized changes in the plant's cafeteria menu so the Somali workers had more options that conformed to their dietary restrictions, and he allowed women to wear traditional clothing, so long as they weren't violating safety standards. After learning that the Somalis would need to perform at least some of the ceremonial washing and prayers they were required to do five times a day during work hours, the plant manager set aside a quiet, clean room where they could observe their 15-minute rituals during their breaks and at sunset. The Maghrib sunset prayers that second shift workers had to perform were disruptive to a smooth workflow. Compared to their midday and afternoon rituals, the Muslim faithful had considerably less leeway as to when they said the sunset prayers, and of course, the sun set at a slightly different time each day. But so far, they'd all coped. But what was he going to do about the sunset prayers with an influx of 40 Somali workers that would dramatically increase the number of people who would need to leave the line to pray? Was it time to modify his policy? He knew that Title VII of the Civil Right Act required that he make "reasonable" accommodations to his employees' religious practices unless doing so would impose an "undue hardship" on the employer. Had he reached the point where the accommodations that Halima Adan would probably request crossed the line from reasonable to unreasonable? But if he changed his policy, did he risk alienating his workforce? What Would You Do? 1. Continue the current policy that leaves it up to the Muslim workers as to when they leave the assembly line to perform their sunset rituals. 2. Try to hire the fewest possible Muslim workers so the work line will be efficient on second shift. 3. Ask the Muslim workers to delay their sunset prayers until a regularly scheduled break occurs, pointing out that North Woods is primarily a place of business, not a house of worship.
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Company M has an ethical dilemma, as the accommodation allowing them to leave the line at a time of their choosing for evening prayers is disrupting the assembly line workflow. They are planning to bring in additional Muslim staff and need to come up with a new solution.
The company is specifically recruiting Muslim workers, due to their quality work and willingness to accept low wages. If they modify their work environment to be incompatible with Muslim beliefs, they may lose many of these workers.
To meet the dual goals of being Muslim-friendly and maintaining productivity on the line, the company should create a scheduled break that falls at sunset. Although the time of this break would vary from day to day, it would be known in advance and all workers who need it would leave the line at the same time. This would meet the needs of the Muslim staff and would also enable planning by management around this specific break time.

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What is the first step in creating a culturally competent culture? What does this first step reveal?
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Draper Manufacturing "You see what I'm up against?" asked Ralph Draper wearily as he escorted Ted Hanrahan, a diversity consultant, into his modest office on a rainy October day. Ralph was the new CEO of Draper Manufacturing, a small mattress manufacturer. He'd recently moved back to Portland, Oregon, his hometown, to rake over the reins of the family-owned company from his ailing father. Ralph and Ted had just come from a contentious meeting of Draper's top managers that vividly illustrated the festering racial tensions Ralph wanted Ted to help alleviate. It hadn't taken long for sales manager Brent Myers to con-front shipping and receiving department head Adam Fox, an African American and the only non-white manager. "Why can't your boys get orders shipped out on time?" Brent demanded. "Isn't there some way you can get them to pay a little less attention to their bling and a little more to their responsibilities? Adam Fox shot back angrily, "If you tightwads actually hired enough people to get the job done, there wouldn't be any problem." The other managers sat by silently, looking acutely uncomfortable, until the quality control head worked in a joke about his wife. Most laughed loudly, and Ralph took the opportunity to steer the conversation to other agenda topics. The main challenge Draper faces is the price of oil, which had passed $100 per barrel mark that summer. In addition to powering its operations and shipping, petroleum is an essential raw material for many mattress components, from polyester and thread to foam. In addition, the Gulf hurricanes caused severe shortages of TDI, the chemical used to make polyurethane foam, a key component. So far, the company had passed its cost increases on to the consumer, but with increased competition from low-priced Asian imports, no one knew how long that strategy would work. To survive in mattress manufacturing, Draper needs to find ways to lower costs and increase productivity. Ralph completely understands why Brent is pressuring Adam to ship orders out more quickly. The current workforce reflects Draper's determination to keep labor costs low. It employs 90 people full-time, the majority of whom are Asian and Hispanic immigrants and African Americans. Although women make up 75 percent of the workforce, nearly all of the shipping department employees are young African American men. Instead of adding to its permanent workforce, the company hires part-time workers from time to time, mostly Hispanic females. It tends to engage Asians as mechanics and machine operators because human resources head Teresa Burns believes they have superior technical skills. The result is a diverse but polarized workforce."This is a time everyone needs to pull together" said Ralph. "But what's happening is that each minority group sticks to itself. The African Americans and Asians rarely mix, and most of the Mexicans stay to themselves and speak only in Spanish." When two of the older white shipping employees retired last year, Ralph didn't replace them, hoping to improve efficiency by cutting salary costs. "It seems to me that some of our workers are just downright lazy sometimes," said Ralph. "I myself have talked to Adam about pushing his kids to develop a work ethic. But he insists on blaming the company for the department's problems. You can see why we want your help." If you were Ted Hanrahan, what suggestions would you make to Draper s managers to help them move toward successfully managing diversity issues?
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You are a manager it an organization that has decided it needs a more diverse workforce. What steps or techniques will you use to accomplish this goal? What steps will you take to retain diverse employees once you have successfully recruited them?
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What is the glass ceiling, and why do you think it has proven to be such a barrier to women and minorities?
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How might employee affinity groups contribute to the advancement of women and minorities to higher-level positions in an organization?
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Walmart Part Four:Organizing World's Top Employer Ranks High on Diversity and Employee Satisfaction-But Not Everyone Hearts Walmart For the past decade, Walmart has ranked high on Fortune magazine's list of "most admired companies," and with good reason: No one creates more jobs for the economy or career opportunities for workers than Walmart With more than 2.1 million associates internationally, Walmart is the world's largest employer. Job candidates famously brave long lines and travel long distances for an opportunity to work at the company's new stores. The retailer's 1.4 million U.S. hourly associates earn $11.75 per hour on average, and more than 80 percent of employees-including part-time workers-are eligible for health benefits. In addition, associates at Walmart receive approximately $2 billion each year in the form bonuses, profit sharing, and 401 (k) contributions. The greatest reason workers like Walmart? The company recruits from within-a full 75 percent of store managers joined the company as hourly associates before advancing to salaried management positions. Ad is true of most multinational corporations, Walmart is highly diverse. The company employs more then 41,000 Asian associates, 171,000 Hispanic associates, 257,000 African-American associates, and 869 000 women associates. Management's commitment to diversity is widely recognized among professional organizations-on gender diversity alone Walmart has received coveted kudos including "Top Companies for Executives (National Association of Female Exeutives). "Best Companies for Multicultural Women" (Woking Mother magazine), and "40 Great Organizations for Women of Color" (Women of Color magazine). Despite these high accolades, not everyone is enamored of Walmet. The world's top employer is also the world's top target for special interest groups. Each year, well-funded political organization including ACORN, MoveOn.org, UFCW, and SEIU run negative publicity campaigns in an attempt to pressure Walmart to unionize. The rought-and-tumble politicking finds its most visible expression in "Wake Up Wal-Mart" and "Wal-Mart Watch," two Washington-styled anti-Walmart organizations led by campaign directors for former presidential candidates Howard Dean and John Kerry. Dukes v. Walmart While opposition groups present low-grade image challenges for Walmart, the retailer is facing the mother of all human-resource-related threats in the form of Dukes- v. Waknan a $500-billion-dollar discrimination lawsuit billed as the largest class action civil rights lawsuit history. The Dukes case began back in 2000 when California Walmart associate Betty Dukes complained that she unfairly reprimanded and denied opportunities to advance in the company. Although Walmart reports that Ms Dukes clashed with her female supervisor and was appropriately disciplined for violating lunch-break polices five women joined the Dukes lawsuit in 2001 alleging a pattern gender discrimination by the company. The local incident. which initially posed a potential risk of million, of dollars in compensatory damages, morphed into a multi-billion dollar lawsuit overnight when a district judge gave the Dukes case "class action" status-a certification upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010. As a result of the class action designation, Dukes v. Walmart is now a national lawsuit representing over 1.6 million female workers going back to 1998, none of whom have individual discrimination complaints against the company. Walmart denies violating the civil rights of the six female employees, but the individual cases are not on trial in a class action suit. The trial now shifts to a broad examination of large companywide patterns of employment data, and plaintiffs' attorneys are claiming that women, as a class, do not receive pay and promotions equal to men at Walmart. The legal framework is enigmatic, for it forces Walmart to defend statistical discrepancies regarding gender that exist nearly everywhere in the world of business. According to nationwide studies, women are not rising in middle- and upper-level management positions at the same percentages as men. To better understand the causes of workplace inequities, researchers study a range of issues, from voluntary extended leaves to the prohibitive relocation requirements of high-paying jobs. One Cornell researcher even found that full-time working spouses hamper women's careers, mostly due to delicate work/life negotiations at home. These and other issues make climbing ladders more difficult. In Walmart's immediate context, disparities in pay or promotions may also be attributable to retail-related tends. For example, more men than women tend to apply for higher-paying dock jobs-a trend that skews numbers toward higher average pay for men. Likewise, more women than men tend to apply for lower-paying cashier positions-a trend that inadvertently skews averages down for women. Such imbalances are consistent throughout the retail industry and occur apart from any discrimination on Walmart's part. Even so, the Dukes case, with its astronomical $500 billion penalty, is a potential company-killer. Walmart has appealed the class-action designation to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of dealing with individual cases, not amorphous data trends of entire classes of people. Whatever the outcome may be, the Dukes trial is scheduled to resume in 2011 or 2012. In the end, high-powered law firms, not Betty Dukes, have the most to gain from the lawsuit. While suing alone, Ms. Dukes might have won a multi-million dollar award. But as one of 1.6 million female plaintiffs in a class, the Walmart associate is in line to receive just a few thousand dollars from a court victory. Walmart, on the other hand, stands to lose its business. Meanwhile, back in Bentonville, Arkansas, spokes-person David Tovar reaffirms Walmart's award-winning record on human resource management: "We are proud of our work to promote diversity at Walmart and are continually recognized for our efforts." What federal laws govern the main legal issue raised in Dukes v. Walmart?
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Walmart Part Four:Organizing World's Top Employer Ranks High on Diversity and Employee Satisfaction-But Not Everyone Hearts Walmart For the past decade, Walmart has ranked high on Fortune magazine's list of "most admired companies," and with good reason: No one creates more jobs for the economy or career opportunities for workers than Walmart With more than 2.1 million associates internationally, Walmart is the world's largest employer. Job candidates famously brave long lines and travel long distances for an opportunity to work at the company's new stores. The retailer's 1.4 million U.S. hourly associates earn $11.75 per hour on average, and more than 80 percent of employees-including part-time workers-are eligible for health benefits. In addition, associates at Walmart receive approximately $2 billion each year in the form bonuses, profit sharing, and 401 (k) contributions. The greatest reason workers like Walmart? The company recruits from within-a full 75 percent of store managers joined the company as hourly associates before advancing to salaried management positions. Ad is true of most multinational corporations, Walmart is highly diverse. The company employs more then 41,000 Asian associates, 171,000 Hispanic associates, 257,000 African-American associates, and 869 000 women associates. Management's commitment to diversity is widely recognized among professional organizations-on gender diversity alone Walmart has received coveted kudos including "Top Companies for Executives (National Association of Female Exeutives). "Best Companies for Multicultural Women" (Woking Mother magazine), and "40 Great Organizations for Women of Color" (Women of Color magazine). Despite these high accolades, not everyone is enamored of Walmet. The world's top employer is also the world's top target for special interest groups. Each year, well-funded political organization including ACORN, MoveOn.org, UFCW, and SEIU run negative publicity campaigns in an attempt to pressure Walmart to unionize. The rought-and-tumble politicking finds its most visible expression in "Wake Up Wal-Mart" and "Wal-Mart Watch," two Washington-styled anti-Walmart organizations led by campaign directors for former presidential candidates Howard Dean and John Kerry. Dukes v. Walmart While opposition groups present low-grade image challenges for Walmart, the retailer is facing the mother of all human-resource-related threats in the form of Dukes- v. Waknan a $500-billion-dollar discrimination lawsuit billed as the largest class action civil rights lawsuit history. The Dukes case began back in 2000 when California Walmart associate Betty Dukes complained that she unfairly reprimanded and denied opportunities to advance in the company. Although Walmart reports that Ms Dukes clashed with her female supervisor and was appropriately disciplined for violating lunch-break polices five women joined the Dukes lawsuit in 2001 alleging a pattern gender discrimination by the company. The local incident. which initially posed a potential risk of million, of dollars in compensatory damages, morphed into a multi-billion dollar lawsuit overnight when a district judge gave the Dukes case "class action" status-a certification upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010. As a result of the class action designation, Dukes v. Walmart is now a national lawsuit representing over 1.6 million female workers going back to 1998, none of whom have individual discrimination complaints against the company. Walmart denies violating the civil rights of the six female employees, but the individual cases are not on trial in a class action suit. The trial now shifts to a broad examination of large companywide patterns of employment data, and plaintiffs' attorneys are claiming that women, as a class, do not receive pay and promotions equal to men at Walmart. The legal framework is enigmatic, for it forces Walmart to defend statistical discrepancies regarding gender that exist nearly everywhere in the world of business. According to nationwide studies, women are not rising in middle- and upper-level management positions at the same percentages as men. To better understand the causes of workplace inequities, researchers study a range of issues, from voluntary extended leaves to the prohibitive relocation requirements of high-paying jobs. One Cornell researcher even found that full-time working spouses hamper women's careers, mostly due to delicate work/life negotiations at home. These and other issues make climbing ladders more difficult. In Walmart's immediate context, disparities in pay or promotions may also be attributable to retail-related tends. For example, more men than women tend to apply for higher-paying dock jobs-a trend that skews numbers toward higher average pay for men. Likewise, more women than men tend to apply for lower-paying cashier positions-a trend that inadvertently skews averages down for women. Such imbalances are consistent throughout the retail industry and occur apart from any discrimination on Walmart's part. Even so, the Dukes case, with its astronomical $500 billion penalty, is a potential company-killer. Walmart has appealed the class-action designation to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of dealing with individual cases, not amorphous data trends of entire classes of people. Whatever the outcome may be, the Dukes trial is scheduled to resume in 2011 or 2012. In the end, high-powered law firms, not Betty Dukes, have the most to gain from the lawsuit. While suing alone, Ms. Dukes might have won a multi-million dollar award. But as one of 1.6 million female plaintiffs in a class, the Walmart associate is in line to receive just a few thousand dollars from a court victory. Walmart, on the other hand, stands to lose its business. Meanwhile, back in Bentonville, Arkansas, spokes-person David Tovar reaffirms Walmart's award-winning record on human resource management: "We are proud of our work to promote diversity at Walmart and are continually recognized for our efforts." Explain how Walmart's employee diversity benefits the organization. What are some challenges of diversity?
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What is the difference between the traditional definition of diversity and the more inclusive view of diversify?
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As a manager, how would you accommodate the special needs of different groups (e.g., single parents, older workers, or employees with poor English language skills or religious restrictions) without appearing to show favoritism or offending other groups?
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Shelley Willingham-Hinton, president of the National Organization for Diversity in Sales and Marketing, was quoted m the chapter as saying, "Our country's consumer base is so varied. 1 can't think of how a company can succeed without having that kind of diversity with their employees." Why should corporations have workforces that mirror the country's diverse consumer base?
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Walmart Part Four:Organizing World's Top Employer Ranks High on Diversity and Employee Satisfaction-But Not Everyone Hearts Walmart For the past decade, Walmart has ranked high on Fortune magazine's list of "most admired companies," and with good reason: No one creates more jobs for the economy or career opportunities for workers than Walmart With more than 2.1 million associates internationally, Walmart is the world's largest employer. Job candidates famously brave long lines and travel long distances for an opportunity to work at the company's new stores. The retailer's 1.4 million U.S. hourly associates earn $11.75 per hour on average, and more than 80 percent of employees-including part-time workers-are eligible for health benefits. In addition, associates at Walmart receive approximately $2 billion each year in the form bonuses, profit sharing, and 401 (k) contributions. The greatest reason workers like Walmart? The company recruits from within-a full 75 percent of store managers joined the company as hourly associates before advancing to salaried management positions. Ad is true of most multinational corporations, Walmart is highly diverse. The company employs more then 41,000 Asian associates, 171,000 Hispanic associates, 257,000 African-American associates, and 869 000 women associates. Management's commitment to diversity is widely recognized among professional organizations-on gender diversity alone Walmart has received coveted kudos including "Top Companies for Executives (National Association of Female Exeutives). "Best Companies for Multicultural Women" (Woking Mother magazine), and "40 Great Organizations for Women of Color" (Women of Color magazine). Despite these high accolades, not everyone is enamored of Walmet. The world's top employer is also the world's top target for special interest groups. Each year, well-funded political organization including ACORN, MoveOn.org, UFCW, and SEIU run negative publicity campaigns in an attempt to pressure Walmart to unionize. The rought-and-tumble politicking finds its most visible expression in "Wake Up Wal-Mart" and "Wal-Mart Watch," two Washington-styled anti-Walmart organizations led by campaign directors for former presidential candidates Howard Dean and John Kerry. Dukes v. Walmart While opposition groups present low-grade image challenges for Walmart, the retailer is facing the mother of all human-resource-related threats in the form of Dukes- v. Waknan a $500-billion-dollar discrimination lawsuit billed as the largest class action civil rights lawsuit history. The Dukes case began back in 2000 when California Walmart associate Betty Dukes complained that she unfairly reprimanded and denied opportunities to advance in the company. Although Walmart reports that Ms Dukes clashed with her female supervisor and was appropriately disciplined for violating lunch-break polices five women joined the Dukes lawsuit in 2001 alleging a pattern gender discrimination by the company. The local incident. which initially posed a potential risk of million, of dollars in compensatory damages, morphed into a multi-billion dollar lawsuit overnight when a district judge gave the Dukes case "class action" status-a certification upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010. As a result of the class action designation, Dukes v. Walmart is now a national lawsuit representing over 1.6 million female workers going back to 1998, none of whom have individual discrimination complaints against the company. Walmart denies violating the civil rights of the six female employees, but the individual cases are not on trial in a class action suit. The trial now shifts to a broad examination of large companywide patterns of employment data, and plaintiffs' attorneys are claiming that women, as a class, do not receive pay and promotions equal to men at Walmart. The legal framework is enigmatic, for it forces Walmart to defend statistical discrepancies regarding gender that exist nearly everywhere in the world of business. According to nationwide studies, women are not rising in middle- and upper-level management positions at the same percentages as men. To better understand the causes of workplace inequities, researchers study a range of issues, from voluntary extended leaves to the prohibitive relocation requirements of high-paying jobs. One Cornell researcher even found that full-time working spouses hamper women's careers, mostly due to delicate work/life negotiations at home. These and other issues make climbing ladders more difficult. In Walmart's immediate context, disparities in pay or promotions may also be attributable to retail-related tends. For example, more men than women tend to apply for higher-paying dock jobs-a trend that skews numbers toward higher average pay for men. Likewise, more women than men tend to apply for lower-paying cashier positions-a trend that inadvertently skews averages down for women. Such imbalances are consistent throughout the retail industry and occur apart from any discrimination on Walmart's part. Even so, the Dukes case, with its astronomical $500 billion penalty, is a potential company-killer. Walmart has appealed the class-action designation to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of dealing with individual cases, not amorphous data trends of entire classes of people. Whatever the outcome may be, the Dukes trial is scheduled to resume in 2011 or 2012. In the end, high-powered law firms, not Betty Dukes, have the most to gain from the lawsuit. While suing alone, Ms. Dukes might have won a multi-million dollar award. But as one of 1.6 million female plaintiffs in a class, the Walmart associate is in line to receive just a few thousand dollars from a court victory. Walmart, on the other hand, stands to lose its business. Meanwhile, back in Bentonville, Arkansas, spokes-person David Tovar reaffirms Walmart's award-winning record on human resource management: "We are proud of our work to promote diversity at Walmart and are continually recognized for our efforts." Why does Walmarr prefer to recruit new store managers from its large pool of hourly associates?
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Why do you think a large number of women are opting out of corporate management? Discuss whether this trend is likely to continue over the next ten years.
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Explain how a managers personal biases and stereotypes may affect an organizations success in creating a workplace that is culturally competent.
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Describe employees who are most vulnerable to stereotype threat. Why is it important for managers to understand that some employees may experience stereotype threat?
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How might organizations strike a balance between respecting and meeting the needs of a diverse workforce and shaping a high-performance corporate culture where shared values contribute to the accomplishment of strategic goals?
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Evaluate your own personal experiences with people from other cultural backgrounds. How well do you think those experiences have prepared you to understand the unique needs and dilemmas of a diverse workforce?
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