It takes about 8 seconds for you to decide what kind of person is in front of you. Doing this you have classified the person using a stereotype. If your classification was correct or wrong, is something that, you probably will find out later. What happens if you made an inaccurate assessment and the person is not “allowed” to show her or his legal personality?
Stereotyping is usually classified as something negative, but how could we use the knowledge from a stereotype to highlight the opportunities of diversity? Diversity: is it only another way to make stereotypes? Using a stereotype – will that make me act, to the person in front of me, as a “type”? Using diversity – will that make me act differently? Will it make me see the person more as a human being than a “type”, or does it not matter?
This paper is based on a survey that shows how people categorize others. Expectations or prejudices are formed differently depending on which “stereotype” is in use. However, diversity is a “new” and modern word that could also lead us wrong even if the intention is good. A tentative synthesis of negative and positive components of stereotyping and applying diversity is presented.
Results from the survey indicate that, stereotyping is generally perceived as something clearly negative, and should not be used, but is never the less in use. Using diversity is generally perceived as more positive than negative. The expression about using diversity is also put into question as a fad. The free text comments input support the model proposed that by the help of awareness permits using both stereotypes and diversity in a positive way.
|Keywords:||Awareness, Classifying People, Diversity, Prejudice, Stereotype, Stereotyping|
Lecturer in Leadership, Department of Quality Management, Gotland University, Visby, Gotland, Sweden
University Lecturer and Process Consultant, Quality Management, Gotland University, Visby, Gotland, Sweden
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