The Challenge of Promoting Diversity to a Homogenized Youth

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In recent years, the concept of organizational diversity has developed into a popular topic of discussion. The tendency in this general discussion has been to promote diversity as a desirable goal for the modern organization. Many have taken up the burden of promoting organizational diversity in the college classroom, with the hope that students will be transformed and will take this new mentality into other organizations. However, the make-up of the student body in many college classrooms could best be described as homogenous. And, the students are often emerging for the first time from social environments that have limited their exposure only to people very much like themselves. For the college professor, “selling” the idea of organizational diversity in such an environment can be challenging and fraught with obstacles and pitfalls. This study utilizes in-depth interviews and autoethnographic research to explore these challenges and explore educators’ responses to these challenges. Suggestions are made for alternative approaches and a theory is put forth to explain the resistance to organizational diversity.


Keywords: Organizational Diversity, Communication, Homogenized Groups, College Classroom
Stream: Organisations
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Jeff Youngquist

Assistant Professor, Department of Rhetoric, Communication, and Journalism, Oakland University
Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA

As a teacher of organizational communication at Oakland University, my interest has repeatedly been drawn to the importance of diversity in the modern organization. As a scholar with a critical leaning, I have also been concerned and interested in the resistance to diversity that is sometimes evident. My research could be categorized as interpersonal and micro-organizational, in that it has consistently explored the relationship between language, gender, and contextual factors such as setting, role, and group composition. I have been particularly concerned with the way gender-based power imbalances are sometimes enforced and perpetuated through conventions of language. When considering such subtle factors, it becomes evident that a focus on diversity in the modern organization must go beyond the simple notion of inclusion.

Ref: D08P0107