Gauging The Outcomes of Organizational Diversity Implementations: The Intersection of Attitudes, Awareness and Behavior
Henson, Heidi Tarr
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This dissertation examines the attitudinal and behavioral outcomes from diversity education implementations in both a corporate and an academic institution. At each site, I explored whether attitudinal changes had occurred as a result of the diversity programs conducted there. At both sites, I found that attitudes towards diversity were not changed significantly as a result of diversity education, either within respondents or in their impressions of other members of the organization. At both sites, respondents indicated that while attitudinal change may not have occurred, an "awareness" of diversity was achieved. To enhance acceptance of diversity and to better generate attitudinal change, respondents indicated that diversity needs to be put in the best interests of constituents. At the corporation, "best interests" relates to diversity being part of the employees' evaluation and job responsibilities. At Nova State University, "best interests" referred more to faculty members having their efforts towards enhancing diversity rewarded financially. The results from Agribank indicated that many respondents felt that diversity training was "common sense" and that the content was a reiteration of the "golden rule" principle for human behavior. Many respondents also felt that they already understood diversity issues and that cultural difference should not be the focus of concern at Agribank. At Nova State University, a central limiting factor to the acceptance of diversity education is that it is not currently required of faculty or staff. There are many efforts across the university to address diversity-related issues, but there seems to be a lack of unity and common purpose. A recent adoption of a diversity course requirement for undergraduate students may help to enhance the climate for diversity at this site. A common conclusion from both sites is that there needs to be greater and more visible leadership support for enhancing diversity. Without this, these programs are not likely to generate any long-term, positive affective or behavioral outcome. With this support, there is a far greater likelihood of generating greater commitment from members of the organization, and ultimately greater outcomes than have thus far been achieved at either institution.
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