Negative Reactions to Affirmative Action
In this case, students are asked how they would deal with employees’ dissatisfaction at increasing the diversity of an organization.
Setting It Up
“There are two candidates for an entry-level position at an investment bank. Both are Ivy League graduates, top of their class, and have equal amounts of experience in internships. In fact, other than their racial backgrounds, there is very little to distinguish between the two people. One is white, the other is black. Who would you hire and why?”
Ten years ago, your company made an organization-wide commitment to increase diversity. Every single employee, from entry level clerks to senior executives, attended a two-weeklong diversity training course. After that course, a group of employees and managers formed a committee that met each week to talk about how to make sure that their workplace was one that respected and appreciated everyone’s uniqueness. Senior managers also create a new item in the budget. They called it “social affairs,” and it was a large pool of money that was to be used for holding group dinners, movie nights, weekend camping trips, and other social activities that were designed to help workers get to know each other better.
A controversial part of this plan to encourage diversity had to do with hiring. After one particular company-wide training session, the senior management team came to the realization that the company lacked minorities. There were few African Americans, Latinos, or Asians among the employees, and even fewer women. Every single person on the senior management team was a Caucasian male, and there were only two minorities among 75 middle managers. After a series of conversations, the senior managers decided that the company would hire more minorities at all levels of the company and give them the support and training they would need to get promotions.
In just ten short years, the company looks radically different. More than 50 percent of all employees are minorities, and more than 30 percent of the managers are African American or Latino. Women now make up just less than 50 percent of middle management, and three women were recently promoted to senior level positions.
Although the senior management team is elated with these developments, not all employees agree. A group of Caucasian male employees have been complaining for several months that they are the victims of reverse discrimination. They complain that they’ve been passed over for promotions, even though they’re the best qualified, in favor of minorities with lesser qualifications. They also argue that they receive far less training and coaching, that their performance reviews are much more critical, and that they receive pay raises and bonuses far less frequently than those of their nonwhite, non-male colleagues.
As a group of white male employees explains to the senior management team, it’s not that they’re against diversity. They want to do all they can to make this company a great place for diversity. But, they wonder, how does it help increase diversity if white men feel like they’re being discriminated against for being white men? That’s the question they want you to answer.
For this Management Team Decision, consider how one would respond to the group of white male employees, as the company’s senior management team.
Be thorough and use information from your textbook and outside sources to answer these questions.
- Do you believe that companies should adopt Affirmative Action to increase its diversity? Are there alternatives to Affirmative Action that a company can use to increase diversity?
- Do you think that Affirmative Action is discriminatory towards white males? If so, is it an acceptable means of increasing diversity?
Question 1 Affirmative action is the notion of the society increasing the number of minorities and women in the workplace and schools. Historically, the minorities and women have been prejudiced, leaving them at a competitively disadvantaged position compared to their white male counterparts (Huebsch). The late President John F. Kennedy took the first affirmative action in 1961, when he gave an executive order that required government service providers to increase the number of minorities and women employees (Huebsch). His intentions were to reduce the hiring discrimination that befell women and the minorities. Therefore, by adopting this affirmative action, it is assured that the diversity of the workplace will surely increase. By doing this they not only increase diversity, but they also have a better understanding of their diverse clients’ needs…
Question 2 The affirmative action that the company took was discriminatory. This is because they set emphasis on the minority and neglected the needs of the white males. Although, the white males were performing more than the minorities, it should have been the duty of the company’s HRM (human resource management) to prioritize the performance of diversity. Nonetheless, this action does not mean that discriminatory action should have been taken against the less performing minority. The actions that the HRM should have taken include promotions in accordance with performance and training of all employees depending on their department. The affirmative action intended to reduce discrimination to both the majority and minority, by giving each side equal opportunity to succeed. By favoring the minority and neglecting the majority this form of affirmative action cannot be condoned. This means that both sides receive equal trainings and promotions according to their performance…