Many firms operate with structural biases (Cox, 1994) which serve the traditional American worker—white men—but unintentionally disadvantage white women and people of color. This study examined the potential influence of structural bias on worker assimilation, framed by Van Maanen and Schein’s (1979) model indicating that workers assimilate by crossing inclusionary, functional, and hierarchical boundaries. Interviews conducted with 23 workers compared assimilation experiences of Caucasian males to Caucasian women and people of color. Among the findings were that women and minorities reported obstacles to crossing inclusionary boundaries related to workgroup adaptation. Non-native English speakers said crossing functional and inclusionary boundaries was impeded when native speakers paid little attention to their ideas. Women and minority workers said that Caucasian men were the only likely leaders in their organizations, an indication of difficulties to cross hierarchical boundaries. Caucasian males did not report experiencing these challenges and mostly were unaware of these obstacles for minorities and women.
|Keywords:||Organizational Assimilation, Diversity, Structural Bias|
Assistant Professor, College of Communication, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA
Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA