Transformational Diversity

Feb 22, 2016
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Transformational Diversity© is a new vision of diversity developments that seeks to revise and transform current diversity programs through a strong infusion of an intercultural perspective with intercultural business competencies training. This new brand of diversity is taking the “old” diversity beyond race and gender, proposing the shift of focus from traditional race-gender to minorities-integration-synergy-performance issues. The shift—which we believe to be of special significance in the time of economic challenges and rapidly changing demographics—needs special attention: women, as well as U.S.-Americans of color, are regarded as easier to integrate into corporate cultures (for they share the prevailing national cultural norms), while other ethnic minorities and overseas employees may present more complex issues of cultural backgrounds and styles of thought. Many business professionals already understand that different demographic groups think and communicate differently, and these cultural differences need to be understood by all stakeholders—so that the newcomers to the workplace can be integrated sooner rather than later. Integration is not easy to achieve, but the expectant prize of an enhanced bottom line resulting from an inclusive, harmonious, and collegial organizational culture is well worth the effort.

Designed for the reality of an increasingly multicultural and global workplace, Transformational Diversity aligns with the new imperative to focus on inclusion as defined by practice over the past few years as company after company seems to have changed its “diversity” initiatives to “diversity and inclusion.” The “new imperatives” for further diversity developments include the need to compete worldwide for the best talent, which is usually more attracted to companies known for having inclusive cultures; the need to develop global workforce initiatives; the need to coordinate all domestic efforts with an increasingly multicultural workforce; the need to have diversity contribute more visibly to performance and the bottom line; and the need to organize inclusion-oriented systematic education for all populations.

Excerpted from Fiona Citkin and Lynda Spielman, Transformational Diversity: Why and How Intercultural Competencies Can Help Organizations to Survive and Thrive (SHRM, 2011).

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