Current status and future trends of diversity initiatives in the workplace: Diversity experts' perspective

Rose Mary Wentling, Nilda Palma-Rivas
1998 Human Resource Development Quarterly  
PREFACE This is the second report in the Diversity in the Workforce Series sponsored by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education (NCRVE). This series is intended to inform the readers of the dynamics and breadth of workforce diversity issues. In addition, it provides information to educators and people from business and industry. They can use this information to develop practices and guidelines to follow when selecting or assessing workplace environments that are conducive to
more » ... imizing the contributions of all workers. The information on workforce diversity from this series may enable educators to revise their curricula appropriately to reflect changes in the workplace, identify workable strategies for accommodating and managing differences in the workplace, and illustrate for their students the continuing impact of diversity on the organizational culture and climate of corporations. The information may also assist human resource development professionals or any person in charge of programs dealing with diversity in organizations to better assess the needs of the employees; improve the design, implementation, and evaluation of diversity efforts; and identify initiatives to improve the management of a diverse workforce. This report is devoted to providing information on diversity initiatives and programs and future trends in addressing diversity in the workplace, as perceived by a panel of diversity experts. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Purpose of the Study The main purpose of this study was to provide information on diversity initiatives and programs to better understand organizational response to workforce diversity. This study was designed to provide information on the current status and future trends of diversity initiatives in the workplace, as perceived by panel of diversity experts. The study attempted to address the following major research questions: • What are the barriers inhibiting the employment, development, retention, and promotion of diverse groups in the workplace? • What are the major factors influencing diversity initiatives in the workplace? • Why are organizations managing diversity? • What are the best strategies for organizations to manage diversity? • What are the components of effective diversity training programs? • What are the future trends related to diversity in the workplace? Research Methods The major method of this research study was in-depth, open-ended telephone interviews with a panel of twelve diversity experts from across the United States. Diversity experts were chosen as participants because they can provide current perspectives and up-to-day knowledge that can not be found in other sources of information. Through telephone interviews, extensive data were collected in order to produce an in-depth understanding of the current status and future trends of diversity initiatives in organizations. An interview guide was developed to assist in collecting the data from the interviews. A pilot study was conducted with three people knowledgeable on diversity issues in business and industry in order to determine validity and appropriateness of the interview guide. Initial contacts with the diversity experts were made over the telephone at which time dates, interview appointments, and arrangements were made. Each participant received a letter confirming the telephone interview appointment and a copy of the interview guide two weeks before the scheduled interview. The participants were able to examine the interview questions prior to the interview. The interviews lasted from one to three hours, with an overall average of two hours.
doi:10.1002/hrdq.3920090304 fatcat:va5kukvbkfefpeecpm4ws4mexy