Contemporary Issues in Human Resource Management
In a world that is quick to state discrimination has taken place, there is a new discrimination
emerging (i.e. reverse discrimination). Is this form of discrimination really discrimination? What
diversity practices would you put in place to prevent any kind of discrimination?
Reverse discrimination first gained notoriety in the 1970’s and has blossomed into a
serious concern as to whether the protection of minorities discriminates against the majority
(Does Affirmative, 2009). Affirmative action was written in a manner that the law protects all races
not just minorities. The recent deluge of state reverse discrimination cases is indication that an
adverse impact on majority races from affirmative action does in fact exist. Case law is unclear
as to whether “quotas” are allowed in deciding admission or promotion for an institution but it is
undoubtedly the case that schools and businesses in fact set aside “minority placements” (Does
Affrimative, 2009). White applicants with superior objective marks may be overlooked due to
“quota” factors. Reverse discrimination does in fact exist but a case can be made that the
building of a diverse team can be considered a worthy organizational goal.
Educating managers about the positive side of discrimination through seminars and
professional development white papers is an excellent policy to deal with hiring discrimination. A
scientific case can be made for positive discrimination through diversity. Meritocracy and
diversity often seem to be at odds and a certain tension arises when the two are considered when
hiring decisions are made (Walton, Spencer, & Erman, 2013). Jerry Falwell Sr. once said your
greatest opportunity is often disguised as your greatest obstacle (Falwell, 2012). The obstacles
in discriminating against applicants in an attempt to create diversity are great but worth it!
Diversity can be a talent in its own right but organizations must stop recruiting from the same
institutions of higher education, geographies, and cohorts (Buchen, 2012). If all things are equal
the diverse team brings the following benefits:
* It is also a multiplier of differences.
* It encourages multiple perspectives.
* It imparts range to the generation of alterative systems.
* It enjoys a symbiotic relationship with innovation
Best” often looks a lot like what we have always been doing and we have to change if we want
more diversity (Contempary Issues, 2011). The fact of the matter is that times have changed and
that diverse teams are a necessity to be competitive in today’s business environment. Race, age,
sex all play a major role in who people are and what they bring to the table. Discrimination
should have a positive motivation and take action in the building of diverse teams. While merit
should always be placed first, organizations are wise to create as diverse a team as possible to
ensure long term organizational value.
Managers face the potential of reverse discrimination of themselves and within their
hiring decisions. While negative impact on majority race members exists due to affirmative
action, there is a real opportunity for businesses to take hold of diversity as an opportunity.
Seeking out the qualified minority applicants and incorporating them into the team in the correct
manner creates a positive discrimination environment. Recognition that every team member has
a unique ability to offer a new perspective pushes managers to take a harder look at ensuring
diverse backgrounds exist in every team within an organization.
Buchen, I. H. (2012). Rescuing diversity. Leadership Excellence, 29(10), 13-14. Retrieved from
Does Affirmative Action Punish Whites? (2009). Associated Press. Retrieved from
Falwell, J. (2012). 1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ Thomas Nelson: Nashville, TN. ISBN:
Gomez-Mejia, L. R., Balkin, D. B., & Cardy, R. L. (2012). Managing human resources (7th ed.). Pearson
Upper Saddle River, NJ. ISBN: 9780132729826.
Contemporary issues in human resource management: Case studies (2011). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Walton, G. M., Spencer, S. J. and Erman, S. (2013), Affirmative Meritocracy. Social Issues and Policy
Review, 7: 1–35. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-2409.2012.01041.x
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