Ensuring Diversity is not Just Another Buzz Word
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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This paper addresses the need to embrace the diversity of the men and women of the Armed Forces. Over the last two decades the military has evolved from an organization of predominately single white males many of which not having a high school diploma to an ethnically and multiculturally diverse organization of men and women. Because of this transformation, the leaders of the Armed Forces must learn to manage that diversity and take advantage of its benefits. Embracing diversity as an asset provides a myriad of advantages. Among them are 1 full utilization of human capital 2 reduced interpersonal conflict 3 greater innovation and flexibility 4 improved productivity 5 reduced employee turnover and 6 improved recruiting opportunities. There are, however, difficulties involved in managing diversity. The United States Armed Forces have not yet created a culture that is able to take full advantage of diversity. There is no tried and true method of changing organizational culture suffice it to say that it is a difficult and time-consuming process that may take years to accomplish. Many people in this society look at workforce diversity as another Affirmative Action program. It is important that sailors, soldiers and airmen understand that workforce diversity is not a quota system but rather a way of achieving synergy within an organization. The only way to achieve the synergistic effects of diversity is through commitment and education. Top-down commitment to reinforcing the value of diversity through education in boot camp and continued at least once per year throughout a career will provide the military with innovative men and women eager to help solve the complex problems facing the forces in the next millenium.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations