Building a house for diversity: how a fable about a giraffe by R. Roosevelt Thomas

By R. Roosevelt Thomas

This article presents an "up shut and private" method of the topic of coping with variety within the office. It starts with a quick delusion of an elephant and a giraffe, and is going directly to supply real-life tales of people and their stories with variety.

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Marcia L. Worthing, Executive Vice President, Mullin & Associates/Lincolnshire International ''With today's significant demographic and sociologic changes, businesses are struggling with the transformation from employee uniformity (assimilation) to workforce unity. " Mike Warren, Chairman & CEO, Energen Corporation Page ii "Beyond Race and Gender was a conceptual eye-opener. Building a House for Diversity takes the concepts to a different, more personal level. " Charles C. Butt, Chairman, H. E.

The giraffe is thinking, "My family and I could have lived here forever without making such a mess. " Nevertheless, both give evidence that they understand that something worthwhile is at stake. They share a common interest in building a friendship. To reject diversity because it creates tension and complexity is to make a decision not to grow and flourish. Giraffes and Elephants: Whose House Is It? In the chapters that follow, I will be using elephants and giraffes as metaphors for humans, especially humans at work, where all Page 8 the dynamics of diversity spring from the mixture of two types of people: those in the dominant group and those in a subordinate position.

What would you do in this situation? a. Provide suggestions to the staff about how they might open a dialogue with this individual to explain their feelings. b. Not do anything and hope things will settle down. You're concerned about infringing on his freedom of religion. c. Talk with the employee. Explain that although he is Page xviii free to practice any religion of his choosing, his attempts to proselytize are interfering with the ability of others to do their job. Tell him he is free to keep the Bible and pictures where they are but that you expect him to refrain from discussing religion with others while in the work area.

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