Managing Ethnic Diversity in the Workplace

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For the purpose of this paper, I will define what the term Diversity means, and then I will concentrate on the diversity as a result of geographic origin or ethnic diversity. I will look at how ethnic diversity is managed generally and then how my employer, deals with the diverse ethnic groups in its organization and what it needs to improve on.

The first usage of ethnicity is attributed to the American Sociologist David Riesman in 1953. The word ethnic, however, is much older. It is derived from the Greek word ethnos (which in turn derived from the word ethnicos), which originally meant heathen or pagan[1]. It was used in this sense in English from the mid-14th century until the mid 19th century when it gradually began to refer to racial characterization.

In the United States, “ethnics” came to be used at around Second World War as a polite way of referring to the Jews, Italian, Irish, and other people considered inferior to the dominant group of largely British descent. Since the 1960s, ethnic groups and ethnicity have become household words in English-speaking social anthropology[2]. In everyday language, the word ethnicity still has a ring of minority issues and race relations to it.

Researchers, among them Michael Banton have argued the need to distinguish between race and ethnicity. In Banton’s view, race refers to the categorization of people while ethnicity has to do with group identification.

Diversity is defined as race, gender, age, language, physical characteristics, disability, sexual orientation, economic status, parental status, education, geographic origin, profession, life-style, religion, personality, position in the company hierarchy and any other difference[3]. In other words, diversity refers to ...

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...which should be drawn upon to bring us to common ground.


Thomas Hylland Erikson, 1993, “Ethnicity and Nationalism Anthropological Perspective” (London Phito Press, 1993)

Nathan Glazer and Daniel Moynihan 1963, “A study of Ethnic Diversity in the United States”

Patricia A. Galagan, 1991, Training and Development Manual, March 1991

County Of Los Angeles Office of Affirmative Action, 1998, Diversity & Unlearning Prejudice Training Manual, 1998

U.C. Manual of Regents 1996-2000 “Why Diversity Matters"

LA County Employee Handbook, 1997

Michael W. Morris& Kwok Leung, “Justice For All? Progress in Research On Cultural Variation in the Psychology of Distributive and Procedural Justice” Applied Psychology; An International Review, Vol. 49, 1999.

Beverly Becker, Amelia Shelley & Manuel Erviti, Research Paper, April 30, 1997.

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