Assessing as Global Policy Diversity and Affirmative Action(s): Lessons from Brazilian Enterprises

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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
Stream: Race and Racism, Organisations
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Rocio Alonso Lorenzo

PhD, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY, USA

Rocío Alonso Lorenzo received a PhD from Cornell University in 2007, after having received a SM in Social Anthropology also from Cornell University in 2002. Since she graduated in 1996 with a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Seville University, Spain, her participation in subsequent ethnographic projects has given her ample experience in developing relationships and using participatory methodologies for social research. She has worked as a local development agent in Spain and as a workshop coordinator in business and social responsibility in Brazil. In 1998, she spent one year as a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at the Free University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. As a Ph.D. student at Cornell University, she has received several grants and fellowships. She carried out her dissertation field research in São Paulo, Brazil, between 2003 and 2005. Her PhD thesis is entitled: Global Policy in Anthropological Perspective: Racial Diversity, Affirmative Action and Social Responsibility in Brazilian Enterprises. Rocio’s research interests include race and gender relations, action research and applied anthropology, organizational theory and policy analysis, qualitative research methodologies, global diversity-management, and business and social responsibility. Currently, she is settled in São Paulo.

Ref: D08P0021