Assessing as Global Policy Diversity and Affirmative Action(s): Lessons from Brazilian Enterprises
Since the 1990s, policies endorsing workforce and workplace diversity have significantly extended in the Brazilian private sector along with global policies such as corporate social responsibility, global diversity-management, sustainability standards, and human rights actions. However, in the absence of racial consciousness or a mandating public policy framework to which companies have to respond, it is fair to wonder what other forces motivate enterprises to get involved in diversity and affirmative action policies. Based on field research carried out from July 2003 to July 2005 in a network of enterprises operating in São Paulo, Brazil, as part of a PhD dissertation project, this paper examines how transnational organizations, mostly U.S.-based corporations and NGOs, influence the diversity and affirmative action policies of a wide range of Brazilian enterprises. The presentation will examine three particular cases: (1) Integrare, Center for Business Integration, the first minority-owned enterprise network in Brazil; (2) Geração XXI, the first affirmative action project for black youngsters in the country, launched by BankBoston Foundation in 1999, and, lastly, (3) on demand inclusion, a world diversity strategy fostered by IBM corporation and implemented by IBM Brazil in 2003. The study concludes that the voluntary nature and fragmented character of the actions and the low motivation and limited authority that the managers implementing the policies have, very much limit the possibility that diversity and affirmative action policies will result in significant socio-economic openings for black people in Brazil.
Keywords: Global Policy, Diversity Management, Affirmative Action, Racial Discrimination, Social Responsibility, Organizations, Brazil
Rocio Alonso Lorenzo
PhD, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University