Workplace Readiness for Communicating Diversity

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Three decades. Many companies have recognized the benefits of a multicultural workforce and have supported diversity efforts in a number of ways. However, there are still problems for minorities trying to assimilate into work settings as reflected in the many accounts of feelings of discomfort, alienation, and frustration experienced by racial and ethnic minority employees. One significant reason for this is the lack of preparedness for the various programs designed to promote diversity. Such programs are often developed by personnel departments without a diagnosis of the "diversity problem" or the input of employees, and, therefore, often end up not effecting significant change. Using the Organizational Readiness model developed by Armenakis, Harris, and Mossholder (1993), this paper discusses ways in which organizational change agents can assess the company's current interpersonal and social dynamics, use appropriate influence strategies, and create effective messages that will appeal to employees and help to achieve the desired acceptance of diversity among members of the organization.


Originally published in Journal of Business Communication 1996 33(4), 475-84

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