Responding to Work-Force Diversity: Conceptualization and Search for Paradigms

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Research in business disciplines about work-force diversity has been inadequate in terms of precise conceptualization and theoretical grounding. Two psychological paradigms from training literature (cognitive and affective) are examined here, but, because of their inability to explain the sources and significance of organization-level change, sociological paradigms about dominance and intergroup dynamics are presented as viable theoretical supplements. Substantive sharing of power with diverse or nontraditional employees hitherto marginalized in U.S. organizations is proposed as one potentially effective response to managing work-force diversity. Systemwide structural changes in U.S. organizations of today are recommended for optimizing diversity.