This "Why Diversity Programs Fail" case study focuses on diversity programs implemented by businesses after several firms had to settle lawsuits involving discrimination in the workplace. Still, these programs always fail. This case study looks into the causes of the failure of the program and the possible solutions to eliminate discrimination.
Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev
Harvard Business Review (R1607C-PDF-ENG)
July 01, 2016
Case questions answered:
- Please discuss which systems you will recommend for Diversity Programs to be applied in organizations that are utilitarian?
- Discuss how diversity implementation can be a hindrance to systems that are undergoing change. Please discuss with reference to the Unilever case and any example from the Industry.
- Discuss which HRM competencies will be required to implement a good diversity program. Discuss one HR role for the same that can be used (Examples are important).
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Why Diversity Programs Fail Case Answers
1. Please discuss which systems you will recommend for Diversity Programs to be applied in organizations that are utilitarian?
A utilitarian organization would opt for programs that have more quantifiable results. Hence it is likely to see HR programs as investments and look towards the total outcome of the investment. Therefore, the diversity program recommended for such an organization is the Diversity task forces system under the social accountability approach (assuming that only one system is to be recommended).
Wipro technologies have a corporate diversity council (diversity task force) that meets twice every quarter to look at the diversity numbers and provide direction for the same. They come up with solutions for inclusions and diversity initiatives.
The managers think twice before making any hiring or promotion decisions as they will be socially accountable for the same by the task force. As a result, the company has higher engagement levels for women, includes more women, persons with disabilities, and other minorities in its workforce every year. It has also received recognition for the same in the form of various awards.
As the members of the task force are from different departments and run an implementation check of the solutions brought by them, they tend to increase contact and engage members. Wipro has received global recognition for its diversity and inclusion approach and added reputation as another output of the program.
According to Harvard Business Review, firms applying the same have the highest % increase in the proportion of women and minorities in management for 5 years.
Moreover, the task forces use existing workers to investigate the problems and therefore are a lot cheaper compared to other diversity systems. Hence a diversity task force system can fit in the approach of a utilitarian organization at any particular time.
2. Discuss how diversity implementation can be a hindrance to systems that are undergoing change. Please discuss with reference to the Unilever case and any example from industry?
Diversity does not necessarily mean gender, age, caste, race, physical ability, sexual orientation, or nationality. It also implies other dimensions of diversity, such as values, personalities, attitudes, work ethic, etc.
Different people have different belief systems, and that’s where it becomes dicey, especially when organizations are undergoing change. One of the reasons is that…
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