Define the concept of affirmation action in a work place.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Affirmative action in the workplace is an initiative designed to bring about a greater sense of representation.  The premise behind it was noble, if nothing else.  The belief was that at one point in time, and to a certain extent still valid today, the workplace was a setting that did not reflect the external world.  Whereas one would find examples of diversity in all of its forms in the real world, the workplace lacked it.  In this desire to bring about greater representation and a greater convergence between that which is external to the workplace and its internal settings, affirmative action policies or practices were embraced.  Essentially, the process calls for evaluating candidates' qualifications as well as their racial or representation status.  The belief was that if two equally qualified candidates applied for a position, and the only differentiating point was race, for example, it would make sense to bridge the gaps of representation by awarding the position to the candidate of color.  The Caucasian candidate, it was presumed, would have more opportunities to apply for a similar position, where the candidate of color at the time of inception of affirmative action did not have the same opportunities.  It is in this vein that affirmative action practices or policies were adopted.  It can be delved into in terms of effectiveness or whether the cultural settings that necessitated it then are still present today, but that might be for another post if we are only defining the concept in the purest of senses.