Harvey, C. and Allard, J. (2014) Understanding and Managing Diversity (6th ed.) NJ: Pearson- Prentice Hall. ISBN: 9780133548198


1. Discussion Board Three

Individual Perspectives on Diversity II

Briefly summarize chap 8 and discuss how you can develop the skills needed to increase your Emotional Intelligence.

2. Discussion Board Four

Group Perspectives on Diversity I

How do gender differences impact how we communicate in the workplace? What strategies can be employed to improve communication? Discuss one example of intentional information use in the context of your organization (could be something that you witnessed or something that happened to you) (focus on Ch. 20, 27-28)

3. Discussion Board Five

Group Perspectives on Diversity II

Identify a belief, value or attitude of yours that you can attribute to your religion and examine its impact on your work and career. Discuss how your religion could affect your role and performance in a multicultural workplace.


The Chapter 8

on The Emotional Connection of Distinguishing Differences and Conflict
Carole G. Parker
In recent years, diversity in organizations has been an exciting, stimulating, frustrating, and intriguing topic. Some organizations continue to struggle for diversity whereas others have a fully integrated diverse workforce. The challenge to increase and manage diversity continues to be critical to organizational goals, particularly as more organizations, large and small, transact business internationally. Some organizations work to appreciate diversity and value differences, whereas others continue to discount differences and diversity. Smart managers today realize the importance of balance in work groups. Attempts to incorporate differences in age, gender, race, culture, sexual preference, and styles of being in their organizations to capitalize on the incredible potential diversity offers are occurring. Managing differences requires energy, commitment, tolerance, and finally, appreciation among all parties involved. Differences among people are not inherently good or bad; there is no one “right” way to deal with differences. Learning to manage and ultimately appreciate differences requires learning, emotional growth, and stretching the boundaries of all participants. Although differences can be challenging, they also lead to very important benefits, both to individuals, groups and organizations.
How Differences Are Often Managed
What action and factors must be uppermost in selecting the most appropriate approach to addressing differences? Often avoidance or repression is used to manage differences. The avoidance of differences often takes the form of associating with individuals of similar backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, and values. This strategy enables an environment of mutual support and predictability. Those who are adverse to risk or challenges are apt to select this strategy. Another avoidance strategy is to separate individuals who create sparks between each other. Although this strategy may reduce tension, it minimizes the opportunity for individuals and the organization to learn and grow.
The repression of differences occurs when an individual or organization refuses to allow disagreements to emerge. Top management often influences the culture by stressing conformity, which naturally affects diversity. Statements by managers such as: “We must work on this project in a professional and collegial manner,” or “By working together cooperatively, we will succeed during these difficult times,” create the boundaries for behavior limited to cooperation, collaboration, and loyalty and limit the opportunity for challenging assumptions, testing new ideas, and strategies for success. Repression is quite costly. Resistances develop that have both organizational and individual consequences. Blocking strong feelings and repressing differences may result in desensitization and loss of productivity. When individual differences come together, managers exert control to reduce conflict.
Both appropriate times and dangers are associated with the use of avoidance and repression in managing differences. Teams or work groups faced with tight deadlines may want to limit the number and type of ideas generated. Avoidance may be an appropriate interim strategy for dealing with differences by enabling an individual to learn more about a person or situation before advancing a stance. The challenge to management is to decide when it is most appropriate to use these approaches. The skill level of the manager, rather than an overt choice, may also influence the decision. Avoidance can lead to groupthink, which occurs when everyone in a group agrees with everyone else, even though there are differences among group members. Groupthink is the result of not challenging ideas, opinions, values, or beliefs. Individuals may not believe it is safe (concerns about advancing or retaining one’s job) to challenge, particularly if management does not model this behavior.
Still another danger in avoiding differences is overcompatibility. When overcompatibility exists in an organization, it may be due to a strong need for support, reassurance, or security or a need to eliminate perceived threats. In an organization, this can severely hamper the development of new ideas, productivity, growth, and development. Avoidance and repression of differences are not viable solutions. When differences are present, they must be expressed and worked through. If not, unnecessary conflict will result.
Positive Aspects of Differences
Differences are opportunities. The old adage “Two heads are better than one” has merit. When combining multiple perspectives, one gains a richer set of experiences, and the variability of these often leads to a more creative approach than could be achieved independently.
Differences are tests to the strength of a position. One needs to be sure all the perspectives, opinions, and perceptions enhance the final product.
A healthy interaction among differences (gender, age, race, culture, etc.) could address the preceding concerns. Two factors influence the treatment of differences: first, the needs, wants and goals of the individual; and second, the value placed on the relationship. People are often motivated by the desire to meet their needs and satisfy their wants and desires. The stronger the motivation, the greater the likelihood of addressing differences. Furthermore, when the persons involved are important to each other, or valued, the tendency to manage the difference increases to preserve the relationship. The reverse is likely when there is no value in the relationship. Once these factors are assessed, it becomes necessary to recognize behavior and attitudes that will be helpful in managing the differences.
Differences are not problems to be solved; they are dilemmas to be managed. Successful managers of difference reduce their judgments and accept the difference as legitimate. Clear boundaries between self and others, a willingness and interest in being influenced, and an awareness of choice with the ability to make choices are also helpful. Using strong language such as ought to, cannot, necessary, impossible, requirement, or mandate will diminish success.
Differences are experienced from contact with others who are dissimilar. A range of life experiences and success in interpersonal relationships support the ability to deal with differences. Individuals who have travelled nationally and internationally or who have had unusual experiences beyond the normal scope of their daily activities tend to develop an appreciation for differences, even though at the time of initial contact there may have been challenges, fear, and longing for what is familiar. Managing differences is not an individual process; it is interactive among individuals. When only one individual is attempting to deal with the difference, the result is coping behavior. Dealing with differences evokes emotion. A range of emotions for human interaction that leads to awareness of differences is necessary. These emotions can lead to conflict but conflict is not a prerequisite to managing differences. Differences evoke emotions, ranging from small or minor to large and major. An inverted triangle graphically shows the escalating intensity in each level of emotion as differences are encountered (see Figure 1.2).
Figure 1-2 The Escalation of Differences into Conflict
This model is based on the assumption that difficulties will likely result from contact with differences. The first level involves an awareness of the difference. Here the parties are exploring and learning about each other—what is similar, what is not, what is discomforting; the second level may result. One becomes uncomfortable with boundaries being pushed while values or beliefs are challenged. When the differences appear to be greater than the similarities, annoyance occurs. The parties are not able to appreciate how their differences may be beneficial to each other. Irritation, on the next level, may result from continued exploration, possibly through a dialectic process. Tension is heightening as more contact occurs; there is possibly an overlay of fear. The boundaries of self are threatened (What will happen to me if I continue with this encounter?), and frustration leading to open disagreement develops.
Anger, often a protective strategy, shifts the emotions to the next level, and hostility erupts while the dispute solidifies. Each party has a firm stance reflecting their position. The final level is conflict or war, where each party works hard to repress, neutralize or destroy the other.

Chapter 20

The Paradox of Male Privilege: Toward a Gender Democracy & Democratic Manhood
Steven D. Farough
Assumption College
How could it be that men continue to have such economic success in an era where women now outnumber men in college and have substantial achievements in the business world? How could it be that despite their continued success, men wind up with a shorter life span and a higher rate of depression than women? In short, it is the paradox of male privilege. Men maintain their advantages in an era where women appear to be outpacing men, but men ultimately lose from a system that has allowed them to win unparalleled wealth, power, and prestige. Of course, paradoxes are confusing. They leave people baffled at the appearance of two seemingly irreconcilable trends. In the absence of an explanation, paradoxes often polarize us into one camp or the other, creating a dynamic where people angrily talk past one another with no hope of resolution: “Men are privileged! Men are victims, too!” However, when one can understand the underlying logic of this paradox it can lead to not only greater insight but to new ways of living our lives as men and women. It is the goal of this article to highlight the paradox of male privilege and offer men (and women) a different way to approach gender, work, and identity in the 21st century. Despite the advantages men generally possess, it is in their best interests to give them up.
Being caught between advantage and disadvantage often leaves men unsure what to think. Although less pervasive, there still is an expectation that men should be the primary breadwinners for their families and climb up the occupational ladder. On the other hand, women continue to succeed in high-powered jobs that challenge the belief that men should be the primary income earner. For some men, it might feel like the tables have finally tipped in favor of women. During the Great Recession, men were at first hit harder than women, where from 2007 to 2009 men lost almost 75% of the total number of jobs (Cauchon, 2009). In fact, at one point the front page of USA Today read, “Women Gain in Historic Job Shift.”
This trend has motivated intellectual Reihan Salam (2009) to call the economic downturn a “he-cession,” and make the bold proclamation that we are now going through an epochal shift in gender relations where men will no longer dominate the US economy in the 21st century. As Salam (2009) points out, the greatest areas of job loss in the recession lie in finance and home construction, two occupations where men have been dominant. However, it goes deeper than that, according to Salam: characteristics like risk and overconfidence were keys to driving the success and massive failure of Wall Street and the housing bubble—and these attributes are strongly embedded into the identity of masculinity. Risk and overconfidence have sent the economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression. Many of us now look back at the brazen use of sub-prime mortgages and seemingly endless leveraging by brokers and financiers with contempt and bewilderment. Have the implicit macho ethics of risk and overconfidence left men in the dust of wild, laissez-faire capitalism as our economy continues to trend toward a more feminized service economy and a more careful, regulated system? For some like Salam, the answer is yes.
As many of us know, women are just as capable as men of taking risks and being overconfident, but such practices are so strongly associated with masculinity that they create a palpable feel that these are things only men do. If both men and women can engage in such behaviors, then why are these behaviors so strongly linked to men in the work world? The answer to this question lies in how gender impacts our occupational structure.
Dominant Masculinity
Although in every culture there is a variety of ways one can be a man, some forms of manhood are perceived as more legitimate or “real” than others. Sociologists who study masculinity would argue that culturally legitimate forms of masculinity should be seen as dominant masculinity, a gender identity that allows those men who abide by its behaviors to have greater access to power and wealth. In the United States, dominant masculinity is defined by its ability to excel at competition and risk, be self-assured, withhold emotions, possess physical strength, have control over the situations men inhabit, be the breadwinners of families, and not act feminine or be gay (Connell, 1995; Kimmel, 2006; Messner, 1997). Embedded in all of these characteristics lies the expectation that in the US, masculinity needs to be consistently proven, which, according to sociologist Michael Kimmel (2006) is rooted in the competitive, capitalist ethos and frontier mentality of the nation in the 18th and 19th centuries. Whether in the emerging industrial economy or on the frontier, manhood was deemed successful in the US when men could master tough terrain and accumulate wealth. Anything less than that left men grasping for this masculine ideal. Of course, the idealization of American masculinity in this nascent country was only for white men. African American men were either enslaved or oppressed through Jim Crow segregation; Native American men were killed or concentrated into reservations; and Mexican American and Asian American men were segregated into menial labor.
What is particularly striking is how the history of a competitive, frontier-based masculinity plays out even today. Indeed, it correlates strongly with some of the key strategies for success in American enterprise today: competition, risk, confidence, and withholding of emotions are all practices that many in the business world expect of their employees. The outcome of this widespread use of masculinity results in the gendering of work, where the key jobs and strategies for success are deeply linked to manhood (Hochshield, 2003; Pierce, 1995; U.S. Department of Labor, 2006). For instance, to achieve financial and professional success, lawyers are expected to be intimidating and aggressive (Pierce, 1995). Bill collectors are expected to deflate the status of truant clients through intimidation (Hochschild, 2003). Car salesmen are supposed to use their wits to get customers to purchase an automobile for more than it is really worth. Stockbrokers’ confident and assertive sales pitches are designed to hide the reality of substantial risk to clients and are imbued with a culture of dominant masculinity. This dominant form of masculinity has provided untold wealth, power, and prestige for men as a group, and it is clearly woven into their identities. Men prove their masculinity by acting competitively and forcefully in the business world, just as they did on the frontier and in industry.
In defining masculinity so strongly with work, this cultural norm also did something else: it created an environment that is hostile to women entering the workplace, as masculinity in the US is defined in strict opposition to femininity. The growth of the industrial economy and the development of the frontier organized the ideal family structure in a new way. Prior to industrialization, the US economy was largely agricultural, where both men and women were involved in economic production. As industrialization emerged, economic production left the family farm for the factory, and masculinity followed. Men were expected to work outside the home while women were expected to work within it (Coontz, 1992). The net result is a cultural definition of manhood that links it to work, and views women’s progress in the work world as an attack against masculinity itself. The ideological rationale is simple: women entering a space so strongly associated with masculinity threatens manhood itself. Although the anti-women attitude is changing and many individual men are not threatened by the progress made by women, this ideology of dominant American manhood creates a situation where men continue to receive both economic and psychological advantages. Dominant masculinity may be a stereotype, but it is a very powerful one that has perpetuated the history of American manhood.
Despite some who have called the emerging era one where women will have greater power than men, there are three key structural issues that continue to benefit men in the Great Recession and into the forseeable future: workplace segregation, continued discrimination against women, and the structure of the American family.
Privileges of Dominant Masculinity
The success of women in education and the economy has not prevented men—particularly white men—from maintaining disproportionate access to power and resources. Men continue to earn more than women, whether they have a high school degree or graduate degree (U.S. Department of Labor, 2007). Men are also overrepresented in the decision-making processes of business and government. Men constitute over 75 percent of chief executives, 70 percent of surgeons, and 73 percent of computer and math occupations (US Department of Labor, 2006). The same holds true with elected officials. In 2008, 84 percent of Congress and Senate were men and almost 77 percent of state legislatures were men (Center for American Women and Politics, 2008). The data clearly demonstrate that men continue to be disproportionately represented in key positions of power. As for the “he-cession,” men are faring far better than women during the recovery (Kochhar, 2012). Still, these data tell us nothing about why men are overrepresented in high-ranking positions.
Upon closer examination of these generalized patterns, the data unequivocally demonstrate that men, particularly white men, possess a whole set of advantages when compared with equally qualified white women and people of color. Research shows that people envision successful mangers as men (Willemsen, 2002). Men experience greater upward mobility than women (Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995). Men have greater access to and control over networks for employment, and they also have better access to mentoring relationships (Lorber, 1994). Federal government data on employment discrimination note that white men are the least likely to experience discrimination in the workplace (Reskin, 1998). In higher education, where it is noted that women now earn the majority of bachelor’s degrees, men continue to earn more after graduation in part because of this continued discrimination.
The inequality in earnings of men and women also has to do with the structure of the American family and sex segregation in the workplace (Cohen, 2004; Cohen & Huffman, 2004; Rhode, 1997). Although changing, men’s family roles continue to place men in positions as the
Social Class: The Fiction of American Meritocracy
Colleen A. Fahy
Assumption College
Oprah Winfrey, the nation’s wealthiest African American, overcame impoverished beginnings in rural Mississippi to accumulate an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion.1 High school friends Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded the Apple Computer Company in Job’s garage with $1300 in start-up money.2 Sonia Sotomayor rose from a South Bronx housing project to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Such stories of self-made men and women help fuel the perception of America as the land of opportunity, a place where anyone can achieve almost anything with a combination of hard work, intelligence, and determination.
Do you believe that anyone, regardless of the family and community into which he or she was born, could be where you are today? If you are like most, your answer is yes. In a New York Times poll, 80 percent of Americans answered “yes” to the question, “Is it possible to start out poor, work hard, and become rich?”3 A Chronicle of Higher Education poll found that 78.8 percent of college freshman agree that “through hard work, everybody can succeed in American society.”4
The U.S. economic system is commonly viewed as a “meritocracy” where rewards are bestowed upon those who have earned them. If individuals face equality of opportunity, then one’s social class position becomes a reflection of his or her personal qualities. Those who have achieved success must have earned it somehow, and those who have failed to climb the social ladder must simply have not tried hard enough. This common perspective leads to negative stereotyping and discrimination of individuals from lower social classes or “classism.”
Classism, like many other “isms,” results from prejudices based on false assumptions. Despite widely held perceptions, social class mobility in the United States is far from fluid. Those born with few resources face serious obstacles in their efforts to achieve a higher economic and social status. Those born into privilege are given a head start in life with many extra boosts along the way. Once it is recognized that merit has only a small role in determining one’s place on the social ladder, the foundation of classism crumbles.
Social Class Measurement
The most popular measures of social class are income and wealth. Persons, households or families can be ranked according to their income or wealth and then divided into groups. For example, in 2011, the highest 20 percent of U.S. households had an income exceeding $101,577—while the income of households in the lowest quintile fell below $20,260.5 Because of its cumulative nature, wealth is unevenly distributed among the U.S. population, with the top 10 percent of families having an estimated median net worth of just under $1.2 million and the bottom 20 percent having a median net worth of approximately $6000. The top 10 percent of families own an estimated 75 percent of the total net worth in the United States.6
Social class is also measured by educational achievement and occupational prestige. A National Opinion Research Center survey ranked 447 jobs in terms of their prestige level. Doctors come in first, accountants 35th, elementary school teachers 45th, retail salespersons 366th, and dishwashers 446th.7 A New York Times interactive site allows individuals to enter their occupation, education, income, and wealth in order to determine where they fall in the social class hierarchy. A housekeeper with an eighth grade education making $20,000 per year and holding $5000 in net worth is in the 16th percentile of total social class. A surgeon making $300,000 per year, with $1 million net worth is in the 99th percentile.8
Class In The Workplace
The frequency of workplace interaction between persons of different social classes will vary by occupation and industry. For example, in occupations such as construction and education, workers are less likely to have frequent interactions with coworkers from significantly different social classes. In other settings, particularly when there is a hierarchical structure, individuals are more likely to work closely with those from other social classes. In hospitals, for example, doctors, nurses, LNAs, and maintenance workers come into frequent contact with one another (Scully & Blake-Beard, 2006, p. 442).
Defining class in the workplace is complicated by its multidimensional nature. While income, wealth, education, and occupation are undoubtedly correlated, associations are not always perfect. A carpenter may never have finished high school or he may be a college graduate. A retail salesperson may be a single mother working as the sole breadwinner for her family or a college-educated, married mother working for extra income.
In a meritocracy, those higher on the social ladder have done something to deserve their place and are therefore somehow “better” than those below them. The resulting sense of status can undoubtedly lead to friction in the workplace. According to Bullock (2004),
In the United States, individualistic explanations for poverty (e.g., lack of thrift, laziness) and wealth (e.g., hard work, ability) tend to be favored over structural or societal attribution for poverty (e.g., failure of society to provide strong schools, discrimination) and wealth (e.g., inheritance, political influence, and ‘pull’). (p. 232)
Bullock further argues that these beliefs lead to “classism” including negative stereotypes such as “lazy, uninterested in self-improvement, and lacking in initiative and intelligence” and discrimination that includes “behaviors that distance, avoid, and/or exclude poor and working class people” (p.

result is coping behavior. Dealing with differences evokes emotion. A range of emotions for human interaction that leads to awareness of differences is

Published by
Write my essay
View all posts