Topic 15: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)


Topic 15 provides scenarios that provide students an opportunity to examine problems with diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. There is no law that requires diversity in the workplace. There are laws that can lead to diversity, equity, an inclusion, but none that specifically requires diversity. Diversity just means difference. It must be defined in context to be applicable for use to achieve equity and inclusion.

Scenario 1: Presentation of Diverse Employees throughout Organizations

Many organizations have minority themed activities to celebrate diversity of its employees. In many instances these activities are appreciated by minority employees representing these groups. However, if these activities are the only efforts exerted to “present” these minority groups to other organization employees, it may not be enough to increase understandings of diversity. Some non-minority employees may see these activities as entertainment while members of the minority groups value their cultural activities as sacred to the sustainability of their cultural heritage. The way these groups are presented is often perceived as an insult to their heritage.

Discussion Questions

  1. How do you present your minority employees to the majority groups in the organization?
  2. Do you value the cultural heritage of all employees within the organization?
  3. Should cultural heritage be a part of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within organizations? Why or why not?
  4. Does the cultural heritage of minority groups affect you in the workplace? How?
  5. Is the cultural heritage of minority groups offensive to you? Why?

Scenario 2: DEI Leadership

Ray is a Black male who has been selected to lead his organization’s DEI efforts. His organization employees over 5,000 employees and less than two percent of them are from all minority groups combined. Ray does not have any specific DEI background because there is no known degree that prepares one to be a DEI leader. Ray has cultivated relationships with the senior leadership in his organization and because he has made it, he believes that other minorities can succeed within the organization too. Ray never meets with other minority groups in the organization. In fact, he has never sent an email to the minority employees in salaried positions, so those below the salaried ranks have even less of a chance at being heard by Ray. Ray’s DEI efforts are with external constituents of the organization so that these constituents will continue to invest with the organization. The organization’s brand must be perceived as promoting DEI regardless of the morale of internal minority employees. Ray is promoted because of his perceived DEI efforts.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Should Ray have worked to improve the DEI situation for internal minorities of the organization?
  2. Has Ray succeeded in meeting the DEI efforts of his organization?
  3. Is organizational DEI branding more important to organizational success than the morale of workers?
  4. How should DEI leaders be prepared to lead DEI efforts within organizations?

Supplemental Readings

Anderson, B. E. (1996). The ebb and flow of enforcing executive order 11246. American Economic Review, 86, 298–301.

Berg, R. K. (1964). Equal employment opportunity under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Brooklyn Law Review, 31, 62-97.

Dover, T. L., Kaiser, C. R., & Major, B. (2020). Mixed signals: The unintended effects of diversity initiatives. Social Issues and Policy Review14(1), 152-181.

Elias, T., Honda, L. P., Kimmel, M., & Chun, J. (2016). A mixed methods examination of 21st century hiring processes, social networking sites, and implicit bias. The Journal of Social Media in Society, 5(1), 189-228.

Fine, C., Sojo, V., & Lawford‐Smith, H. (2020). Why does workplace gender diversity matter? Justice, organizational benefits, and policy. Social Issues and Policy Review14(1), 36-72.

Gutman, A., Koppes, L. L., Vodanovich, S. J. (2011). EEO law and personnel practices (3rd ed.). Routledge.

Hemphill, H., & Haines, R. (1997). Discrimination, harassment, and the failure of diversity training: What to do now. Quorum Books.

Hughes, C. (2014). American Black women and interpersonal leadership styles. Sense Publishers.

Hughes, C. (2016). Diversity intelligence: Integrating diversity intelligence alongside intellectual, emotional, and cultural intelligence for leadership and career development. Palgrave MacMillan Publications.

Hughes, C. (2018). Workforce inter-personnel diversity: The power to influence human productivity and career development. Springer International Publishing.

Hughes, C. (Preface). (2018). The role of HRD in using diversity intelligence to enhance leadership skill development and talent management strategy. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 20(3), 259-262.

Hughes, C. & Brown, L. (2018). Exploring leaders’ discriminatory, passive-aggressive behavior toward protected class employees using diversity intelligence. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 20(3), 263-284.

Hughes, C. (2018). Conclusion: Diversity intelligence as a core of diversity training and leadership development. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 20(3), 370-378.

Hughes, C. (Ed.) (2020). Implementation strategies for improving diversity in organizations. IGI Global.

Ng, E. S., & Sears, G. J. (2020). Walking the talk on diversity: CEO beliefs, moral values, and the implementation of workplace diversity practices. Journal of Business Ethics164(3), 437-450.