Diversity and Cultural Assessments in Business Organizations

By Hector Qirko.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In theory, a diversity-focused cultural assessment provides a detailed picture of the current state of an organization and its workforce with respect to diversity issues and programs, as well as an opportunity to measure culture
change through comparable data and subsequent reassessments. In practice, however, cultural assessments are rarely conducted in such a way as to fulfill both of these goals. Quantitative, etic (outsider-analytic) approaches, while often producing valid data and replicable methodologies through which to measure change, also run the risk of being too narrow to capture many of the most relevant dimensions of culture in diversity work. On the other hand, qualitative, emic (insider-subjective) approaches tend to be effective in producing rich, contextualized data, but are not particularly conducive to replication or generalization. Notwithstanding these problems, a methodology drawn from anthropological perspectives that blends qualitative and quantitative
analyses can produce an effective cultural assessment protocol that contributes to the success of diversity management initiatives. Here I describe and illustrate a diversity cultural assessment model that bridges these
theoretical and methodological divides and that has been used effectively in a variety of organizational contexts.

Keywords: Managing Diversity, Organizational Culture, Ethnography, Cultural Assessments

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.151-158. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 532.143KB).

Dr. Hector Qirko

Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA

Since 1992, a practicing anthropologist working with business, government, community, and educational organizations in the areas of organizational culture and diversity, specializing in organizational ethnographies and cultural assessments. Since 1998, Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, teaching and conducting research in organizational and institutional culture, evolutionary theory, applied anthropology, and popular culture.

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