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The Effects of Affirmative Action in the Present Day


Today, the problem of affirmative action is neglected by many organizations and considered an old-fashioned issue. Modern companies prefer to introduce social corporate responsibility policies and ethical rules including equal opportunities and equal treatment norms. I am interested in the topic of affirmative action because of personal concerns and problems experienced by my friends in employment. in spite of its long history and effective applications, the problem of discrimination and equal treatment exists (Baqley and Connerty, 2000). Several decades of affirmative practices and actions show that affirmative action is a need for companies with diverse workforce.

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Affirmative Action: Discussion

In general, affirmative action means legally mandated written plans and statistical aims for recruiting, training, and promoting specific underutilized job seekers. This compliance-oriented method of employment is beneficial in that it attempts to correct previous wrongs (Patterson, 1998). Thus, I found that many modern companies do not have any written plan or goals reflecting affirmative action policies. I suppose that the main focus should be on qualified, underrepresented job seekers entering the organization. In this case, majority-group job seekers tend to describe selective “minority” or “affirmative action” hires as proof of reverse discrimination. While usually effective, affirmative action may inadvertently be a roof for the careers of protected minority employees, especially ethnic minorities and women (Anderson et al 1999).

In spite of opportunities and benefits proposed for affirmative action policies I found that poor application of affirmative actions can lead to speculation and inadequate treatment of all employees. it is known that there is speculation that some of employees are not the best qualified people for the jobs, thus the company has to promote and support them in order to avoid criminal responsibility and accusations in racial discrimination and racism (Rubenfeld, 1997). These examples show that valuing racial and personal differences evolves around moral and ethical issues to recognize and appreciate culturally different peoples. Hypothetically, every employee of an organization is to be valued. This is a universal approach that does not seek assimilation: diversity is better (Barnett, 1996).

My recent employment practice shows that employees have value for their own unique contributions to the company. The focus is mostly on changing employees’ perceptions and attitudes about racial minorities and women(Kamalu and Kamalu, 2004). I can say that in many cases this approach results in white male bashing, which magnifies rather than lessens racial conflict (Stroud, 1999). Ideally, affirmative action emphasizes managerial skills and policies needed to optimize every employee’s contribution to the organizational strategies. Initiatives are taken not because of legal mandates or moral and ethical imperatives but instead to enhance organization morale, productivity, and benefits. After underrepresented employees are hired and employee consciousness had been raised, appropriate policies, procedures, and managerial interventions are needed to change a culturally diverse staff (Horne 1992).

My recent employment practice allows me to say that one common mistake some companies make when initiating affirmative action programs is the belief that concern for mission achievement and concern for cultural diversity are mutually contradictory. There is no plausible yardstick of company effectiveness that has productivity goals at the one end and accomplishment of multiplicity at the other. The effective company will satisfy both. Again, using the downsizing illustration, I can say that friends of individuals who lost their job view the new employees as impeding productivity goals. It should be clear by now that regardless of how much power or formal authority a company confers on its managers, usable power and authority are granted by their subordinates (Dietz-Uhler and Murrell 1999).

Stories gathered from my friends and relatives show that a human relations approach to people management is gaining acceptance in private and public companies. Indeed, such an approach is being implemented in some companies to winnow common goals from contradictory points of view. Cultural sensitivity programs, films, speakers with well-defined communication, and carefully controlled role-playing are but a few of many in-service activities available to managers endeavoring to create culturally viable companies characterized as having discrimination. There is a new spirit among managers who dare to innovate and deviate from tradition in order to solve affirmative action mistakes that have no guiding example. Sometimes modern companies undergoing affirmative action training resemble cultural groups whose citizens are struggle with each other. Those emotionally injured and stressed lose their jobs. Companies of this kind badly need affirmative action programs to be at peace with employees. No company should be a battlefield, but many of them are understood that way by their employees (Martinez, 1997).


In sum, my personal examples and stories of my friends prove the idea that affirmative action should be a part of modern organizations as a separate program. Most affirmative action problems are rooted in the culture. One of the reasons leaders and supervisors are repeatedly frustrated is because the discrimination problems they are called upon to resolve are themselves the issues of a larger social environment. Often, an employee’s decision depends not on his or her alteration to an existing situation but instead on being shifted to another job. This kind of affirmative action change is modeled after milieu therapy. It is clear that many racial minorities and women do not get the support they need because the organizational resources are not adjusted to their needs.

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Anderson, J., Custred Jr., G.H., Raza, M.A. (1999). The Ups and Downs of Affirmative Action Preferences. Praeger Publishers.

Baqley, W., Connerty, W. (2000). Affirmative Action: Pro and Con. (online) Web.

Barnett, A. (1996). “A Case Against Affirmative Action”. Building Equal Opportunity On Firmer Footing. 23 (4), (online). Web.

Dietz-Uhler, B., Murrell, A.J. (1998). Evaluations of Affirmative Action Applicants: Perceived Fairness, Human Capital, or Social Identity? Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 38 (11-12), 933.

Horne, G. (1992). Reversing Discrimination: The Case for Affirmative Action. International Publishers.

Kamalu, J.A., Kamalu, N.C. (2004). From Bakke to Grutter: The Supreme Court and the Struggle over Affirmative Action in the Era of Globalization. The Western Journal of Black Studies, 28 (2), 489.

Martinez, V. (1997). “The affirmative action debacle: how a 20th century solution is becoming America’s 21st century problem”. Hispanic Times Magazine. (online) 4 pages. Web.

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Patterson, O. (1998). Affirmative Action: Opening Up Workplace Networks to Afro-Americans. Brookings Review, 16 (1), 17.

Rubenfeld, J. (1997). Affirmative Action. Yale Law Journal, 107 (2), 427-472.

Stroud, S. (1999). The Aim of Affirmative Action. Social Theory and Practice, 25 (3), 385.

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