Breaking Glass Ceilings, Ignoring Dirty Floors: The Culture and Class Bias of Diversity Management

TitleBreaking Glass Ceilings, Ignoring Dirty Floors: The Culture and Class Bias of Diversity Management
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBerrey, E
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Volume58
Pagination347-370
Date Published2014
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsclass , Corporate , Diversity , EQUALITY , Glass , Organizational , power , PROGRESS , SOCIAL , workplace
AbstractResearch on workplace inequality focuses largely on gender and racial disparities at work and contributing factors, while those who study diversity interventions tend to ask how these might be remedied. This article takes a different tack, asking the following: What ideals and cultural assumptions about social progress undergird workplace diversity programs, and with what consequences? Drawing from neoinstitutionalism and workplace ethnography, I examine diversity management in a multinational company based on a year of field research. At this company, diversity programs are for high-status women and people of color. Findings advance the study of workplace inequality and, more generally, the relational study of meaning making in real-life institutional contexts. They show that diversity management programs attempt to minimize gender and racial boundaries by codifying egalitarian ideals in organizational structures, and those definitions can reify class-based hierarchies. The findings also push social scientists to conceptualize inequality and equality as cultural constructs and to consider the biases of scientific measurements of inequality. 
NotesAccession Number: 93523852; Berrey, Ellen 1; Affiliation: 1: University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA; Source Info: Feb2014, Vol. 58 Issue 2, p347; Subject Term: GLASS ceiling (Employment discrimination); Subject Term: DIVERSITY in the workplace; Subject Term: EQUALITY; Subject Term: SOCIAL classes; Subject Term: PROGRESS; Subject Term: ORGANIZATIONAL structure; Subject Term: CORPORATE culture; Subject Term: POWER (Social sciences); Author-Supplied Keyword: class inequality; Author-Supplied Keyword: diversity; Author-Supplied Keyword: workplace ethnography; Number of Pages: 24p; Document Type: Case Study; Full Text Word Count: 10636
DOI10.1177/0002764213503333
Short TitleAmerican Behavioral Scientist

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