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Discrimination in the United States

Gupta, Gallakota, and Srinivasan (2005) have discussed how to ensure the long-term viability of discrimination strategies. They argue that organizations in the United States can apply various mechanisms through their structures to achieve this goal. Discrimination is evident in the formal structure of an organization. According to Paludi (2012), the “glass ceiling” past which women and other minorities cannot go through can be easily deciphered by looking at the organization’s structure. An organization’s culture will also indicate forms of discrimination in the organization. Establishing a strategy that fights discrimination will need to focus on the organizational culture and structure (Gupta, Gallakota & Srinivasan, 2005). The organizational culture content describes the stereotypes that people have regarding what type of employees and what type of behaviors fit the organization. Discriminatory cultural beliefs, values, and assumptions are evident in behavioral norms and HR practices. Physical arrangements of the workplace may also exhibit this (Paludi, 2012). Leaders should strive to ensure that the organizational culture content is free from discrimination against women and other minority groups. Through interactions and events that seek to change the culture content, the leadership should be able to bring a new culture that minimizes and possibly eliminates discrimination (Paludi, 2012).

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The organizational culture strength refers to the extent to which members of an organization agree about the organization’s beliefs, norms, and practices. In strong cultures, members are expected to strictly adhere to organizational norms and beliefs. The deviation may result in serious sanctions being imposed on the offender (Gupta, Gallakota & Srinivasan, 2005). Strong cultures give little or no opportunity to weak employees who like to do things their own way. These employees may find themselves feeling discriminated against because their strong approach to work is being devalued (Dipboye & Cothern, 2004). In contrast, weak culture strengths allow for varied approaches to handling interpersonal relations, norms and behaviors thereby allowing for greater variability in behavioral scripts (Paludi, 2012). To fight discrimination, an organization should strive to have areas of both strong and weak cultural values. Strong cultural strengths ensure that the organization’s members remain disciplined while weak cultural strengths should provide and nurture diversity in behavior. US organizations with leadership strategies that promote a mixture of strong and weak cultural strengths are likely to eradicate discrimination (Dipboye & Cothern, 2004).

Without the commitment of the upper levels of management to eradicate discrimination, the diversity programs explained above may not be efficient. Strategies formulated to fight discrimination also need to target persons below the upper level management (Paludi, 2012). First, the upper level management should evaluate the organization’s traditional structures against discrimination and remove obstacles that hinder employees from success. The ways in which a leader allocates resources, addresses employees and emphasizes inclusivity reveals which employees are valued in the organization. Top level management should formulate procedures that ensure accountability and that reward systems take into account meeting diversity goals (Gupta, Gallakota & Srinivasan, 2005). The role of the Chief Executive Officer is even much more important when the organization strives to achieve diverse representation and inclusivity at all levels of the organization. The CEO is in a good position to act as a champion of change, a role model and a guide in the quest for diversity.

Midlevel management and direct supervisors interpret and implement the organization’s policies. They are the lens through which employees perceive the organization. A single act by midlevel management or direct supervisors may not be perceived as discrimination. However, when this pattern is repeated throughout an organization, such an act may be deemed as discrimination. Leadership strategies that encourage high quality exchanges between midlevel management and subordinates are key to combating discrimination in an organization (Dipboye & Cothern, 2004). Leaders that engage in high quality exchanges with all their employees without discriminating against minority groups are more likely to enjoy productive relations with their subordinates (Gupta, Gallakota & Srinivasan, 2005). Generally, the strategies employed to mitigate discrimination in America should encourage diversity in personnel in an organization while maintaining inclusivity in the organization’s core activities. Business strategy should be aimed at recruiting, retention and rewarding of diverse employees (Paludi, 2012).

References

Dipboye R. L., & Cothern C. R., (2004). Discrimination at Work: The Psychological and Organizational Bases. New York: Routledge.

Gupta, V., Gallakota, K., & Srinivasan, R., (2005). Business Policy and Strategic Management: Concepts and applications. Chicago: PHI Learning.

Paludi M. A., (2012). Managing Diversity in Today’s Workplace: Strategies for employees and employers. California: ABC-CLIO.

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