There is no doubt that diversity in the workplace is a good thing, but how to achieve it is a subject of controversy. The active pursuit of diversity is often embodied in affirmative action guidelines, rules, and laws. On the other hand, passively pursuing diversity would involve assessing applicants on...
There is no doubt that diversity in the workplace is a good thing, but how to achieve it is a subject of controversy. The active pursuit of diversity is often embodied in affirmative action guidelines, rules, and laws. On the other hand, passively pursuing diversity would involve assessing applicants on a case-by-case basis rather than on statistical averages.
There are numerous ethical and practical reasons for actively pursuing workplace diversity. For instance, a diverse work environment offers a business a wider range of viewpoints and input. It also reflects the diversity of the country at large, increasing the possibility of attracting the attention of more potential customers. Actively attempting to employ a diverse workforce makes up for long-time discrimination, providing a better overall balance of employment. It helps to overcome unconscious biases built up over decades and even centuries. It also helps mitigate disadvantages that many minorities still have to overcome, of poverty and lack of access to quality education. When companies actively attempt to diversify their workforces, it offers hope to women and minorities and inspires them to continue striving for better lives for themselves and their loved ones.
On the other hand, there are also ethical reasons for pursuing a more passive approach to workplace diversity. First of all, the active pursuit of diversity through programs such as affirmative action can cause reverse discrimination. Instead of choosing workers on their merits, employers are forced to choose them because of other considerations such as gender and race. Some people that may be better qualified are turned down for jobs that they are ideally suited for. Additionally, a stigma may develop if women and minorities are hired due to a need for diversity instead of their superior skills. The passive approach believes that the filling of job positions should be decided on merit, not because someone is a woman or belongs to a minority group. The quality of work may suffer if people are hired not because of merit but rather because of their gender or race.
We see, then, that the issue of how to promote diversity in the workplace is a complex one with ethical considerations on both sides of the argument.