The New Normal: Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the 21st Century Workplace
This course examines the social construction of race and ethnicity, including relations within and across groups, with a particular focus on their implications for organizational culture and management. In a very real sense, the workplace is a microcosm of the larger society; a place where our individual experiences, beliefs, and biases related to race and ethnicity intersect, creating both opportunities and challenges. Our capacity to understand the different backgrounds and experiences that individuals and groups bring to the organization, as well as recognizing our own biases and the biases of others are directly implicated in our ability to both manage and be managed in the organizations that we are a part of. A primary objective in this course is to increase our capacity to first understand the contours of racial and ethnic diversity in twenty-first century America by investigating (1) the historical context that influences present-day understandings of racial/ethnic diversity (2) how and why individuals from different racial/ethnic backgrounds can “see” the same thing but interpret it very differently, depending on experience, culture, and social position relative to race/ethnicity (3) the meaning and importance of dominant and minority groups, the degree to which a racial hierarchy exists, and the implications of that hierarchy for important outcomes (4) the degree to which the workplace is, indeed, a microcosm of the larger society (5) the pitfalls of “colorblindness” (6) the nature of stigma and its workplace implications and (7) the benefits and drawbacks of affirmative action policy in the workplace.