Workplace Diversity and Aboriginal People in Canada: Going Beyond the Managerial Model

By Francis Adu-Febiri and Jacqueline M. Quinless.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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

Diversity in the workplace has been the trend in postmodern society and this trend is not about to change. In fact, the future of the workplace is diversity. However, the challenge is to reconstruct the workplace to make it demographically, culturally, socially, emotionally, politically, morally, spiritually, and structurally more inclusive and accommodating of difference. The strategies to achieve this equity in the diverse workplace have focused on diversity management, that is, the imposition of legal control and provision of human capital tools for managers to control diversity at the expense of developing diversity leadership with human factor competency (HFC). This paper claims that these managerial strategies may be necessary but insufficient ways to positively transform the workplace for the benefit of all. The reason being that outcome of the application of the managerial model to workplace diversity is similar to workplace diversity that occurs by default--employment of minorities and women mostly at the lower level, putting a few of them in powerful middle management positions and even fewer at the senior management level in response to equity legislation and the profit motive. Data from Canada’s 2006 Census of Population focusing on Aboriginal – non-Aboriginal participation in the labor force are used to illustrate this pattern. The failure of equity in the diverse workplace calls for alternative models. This paper proposes the HFC model of workplace diversity because of the model’s potential capability to unleash the power of diversity to create and reproduce equitable and sustainable workplace.

Keywords: Workplace Diversity, Human Factor Competency, Diversity Management, and Diversity Leadership

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.161-178. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 996.180KB).

Dr. Francis Adu-Febiri

Sociology Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Camosun College, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Dr. Francis Adu-Febiri is a sociology professor and former Chair of the Social Sciences Department at Camosun College, Victoria, BC. In addition, he is an Associate of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Victoria as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC. Francis is also a Senior Research fellow and the President of the Canadian Chapter of the International Institute for Human Factor Development (IIHFD). His publications have appeared in the Berkeley Journal of Sociology, Tourism Recreation Research, The African Review, International Journal of the Humanities, Review of Human Factor Studies, CDTL Brief of National University of Singapore, and the Journal of Pan African Studies. He has also published one book, First Nations Students Talk Back: Voices of a Learning People, and a number of book chapters on a diversity of sociological topics. Francis is a recipient 2007-2008 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award, College of Education, University of Texas at Austin.

Jacqueline M. Quinless

Lecturer in Sociology, Department of Sociology, Camosun College, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Jacqueline Quinless is a lecturer in Sociology in the Social Sciences Department at Camosun College, Victoria, BC where she specializes in the area of social research methods and social theory. Jacqueline is also the Research Director at Quintessential Research Group Inc., a social research and statistical consulting firm in British Columbia. Jacqueline has over 10 years of applied research experience, having worked with both the federal and provincial levels of government including the Government of Alberta, BC Stats, and Statistics Canada, as well as within the academic community while at the Research Data Center (RDC) at the University of Calgary, and the Population Research Lab (PRL) at the University of Alberta. She has been involved in coordinating the data collection activities for several large scale projects such as the 2001 Census of Population, the 2001 Early Enumeration for the Arctic Region & Inuit Peoples and the Treaty Seven Housing Survey, for on-reserve First Nations Peoples. She has also been involved in numerous smaller scale social and health projects related to housing, employment, education, children and youth, and health & well being for various Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities throughout Western and Northern Canada.


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