How Diversity Works, Introduction

I offer this collection of my recent writing (1990-1995) to anyone who wants a glimpse into life in the United States of America at the end of the Twentieth Century.

My subject is what happens in the organizations, institutions, and bureaucracies that we occupy and inhabit individually and together, adults at work, against the backdrop of our ever-experimental democracy, our truly amazing society.

I have had a varied worklife which intersects my social concerns. Along comes the diversity movement which highlights that connection. It's natural that I would write about it.

You will find my "Diversity Questions & Answers" columns from Managing Diversity, a national monthly publication that started in October 1991.

Thanks to Leo Patterson, the editor, I have had a little plot of land to cultivate, a space for sharing what I think about the remarkable parade in which we are all participating.

You will also find essays, commentaries, a manifesto or two. Some of these pieces were published by national organizations in their journals. Two were published in Cultural Diversity at Work, two in the Boston Business Journal, one in the Boulder, Colorado, Sunday Camera, one in Business and Society Review, another in The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, and one in at least six different periodicals.

Some are handouts I have used with groups, some were meant as Op-Ed pieces. In most cases I have kept original references from the time they were written. There might be a few inconsistencies as I revised some numbers; remember, we are moving through the 1990s, when, as Vaclav Havel said, "history is accelerating." I hope that any repetition is minimal and you will see both the big picture and the issues in close-ups.

You may read this as a trailguide to your own experiences, as an updating of Hesiod's Works and Days, transposed to the current landscape. I will be pleased if you find it useful as you look at past, present, and future.


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