Voices of Diversity:
Real People Talk about Problems and Solutions in a
Workplace Where Everyone is Not Alike
By Renee Blank and Sandra Slipp
is an excellent book to assist managers who are attempting to do the
right thing for minorities and women and just don’t really know how to
proceed. This book can be very enlightening about the unconscious
systems that are in place that keep minorities and women from
prospering in the workplace. The first two chapters discuss the make up
of the American workplace and issues such as stereotypes, which are
dangerous, and group tendencies, which help us to be aware of certain
possibilities within a group. These first chapters also discuss group
identity and individual differences, which are often greater within a
group than between groups.
The second part of the book has individual chapters devoted to the following groups: African-Americans; Asian-Americans; Latinos; recent immigrants to American; workers with disabilities; younger and older workers; gays and lesbians; women and white men. In the first section of each chapter, the authors summarize their extensive interviews with members of each of these groups. The interviewees actually described the issues, as they see them, in their own words. It is very valuable to hear the unadulterated comments from the workers, who may be intimidated to bring up the same issues or concerns to their supervisors. Then in the second part of each chapter, specific workplace scenarios are discussed. The situations are analyzed, with the mistakes outlined and suggestions for improved offered. Reading this book and following the suggestions will help any supervisor be more sensitive to the needs all their employees.
The final two chapters in the book are dedicated to giving advice on how to communicate better to facilitate understanding in diversity-related matters. One chapter offers suggestions for those who are not a member of the majority at work, while the final chapter is written for managers or supervisors attempting to facilitate understanding in a diverse workplace environment.
I would highly recommend this book if you are seriously ready to hear what your employees have to say and are prepared to do something about it.
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