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Generally, diversity in the business context is centered on managing human resources as a vital capital in nurturing business at a global scale. It is also considered as an idea where differences can powerfully drive business endeavors. The concept is beyond meeting regulatory and policy needs, reaching levels of enhancing business performance. With respect to these facts, Xerox embraces diversity as the most important resource to drive business towards higher levels of performance (Xerox, 2009).
To the company, diversity is just not about the conventional elements (race, ethnicity, gender, numbers, sexual orientation, disability and age) (Xerox, 2006, p.3). It is about inclusion. It means the creation of an environment where all workers can develop to their fullest potential.
A culture where there are different opinions and perceptions about the world leads to the creation of innovative solutions. Xerox sees diversity as having the capacity to create cultures of inclusion that enable the creation of more equitable and opportunistic environment for all.
Xerox definition of diversity has evolved from the focus on emerging opportunities and value creation. Over the years, the company has come to believe that diversity breeds creativity. Technological developments such as the World Wide Web and the internet have enabled fast connectivity and communication.
With global operations, Xerox has enjoyed the benefits of diverse workforce by acknowledging the differences and employing them to add value to the needs of diverse clients. Nonetheless, the economic challenges emerging in today’s business environment have contributed to the greater emphasis on the importance of diversity. In order to succeed under these challenges, Xerox has adopted strategic diversity initiatives that facilitate their quest for an inclusive and innovative environment.
Reasons for a diverse workforce
Nature of business: The major strength in Xerox business is the creation of new ideas as depicted in the case facts. Through appropriate management of diversity, the company believes to have the key to attaining crucial business results.
Wider talent pool: The fact that Xerox operates globally positions the company better to employ more talent by hiring employees of all races, cultures, sexual orientation and so on.
More knowledge sharing: Xerox can develop strong systems of market intelligence by the sharing of cultural aspects and market experiences of diverse workers.
Enhance productivity: Xerox can enhance its global productivity by processing different skills, capabilities, knowledge and competencies of varied cultures and races.
Reduced discrimination: The fact that minorities and women have a significant share of the higher positions motivates employees in a manner that they feel to be part of the company.
Meeting regulatory needs: Across the world, many regulatory bodies have required companies to consider diversity. Xerox diversity program is a partial commitment to regulations such the Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines.
Social responsibility: By being socially responsible and diverse, Xerox gives back to the society in a big way because they offer employment to minorities and assist them fulfill their dreams.
Through the inclusion of women and minority groups in the workforce, Xerox shows its value for workplace diversity. At the company, minorities and women make up 52 percent of the total workforce and 42.5 percent of the senior executives are women or colored people or both (Schermerhorn, 2011, p.102). Over the years, the company has established affirmative actions to hire women and minorities.
Leaking Pipeline Phenomenon
Xerox defies the “leaking Pipeline” phenomenon. According to this phenomenon, women participation follows a diminishing rule as we move upward the organizational ladder (Schermerhorn, 2011). That is women ‘leak’ (reduce in number) through ‘holes’ (obstacles) in the ‘pipeline’ (hierarchical ladder).
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In the case of Xerox, we find many women holding executive positions including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Indeed, the former female CEO was replaced by another female CEO indicating the abundance of women in top positions. Xerox has managed to eliminate the many obstacles facing women as they climb upwards such as prejudice, negative perceptions and inflexible working schedules among others.
This phenomenon is supposed to occur when the mentioned obstacles discourage women from pursuing higher positions. However, recent studies have shown how companies including Xerox have created a culture that eliminates the obstacles in order to manage diversity effectively.
Xerox vs. Fortune 500 companies
In terms of diversification of the workforce, Xerox is ranked top among the Fortune 500 companies. As noted earlier, minorities and women make up 52 percent of the total workforce and 42.5 percent of the top managers are colored people or women. Over 30 percent of the employees are African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Asians. The company is one of the top 10 firms in hiring women, minorities, gay, lesbians and disabled according to several magazines including Fortune.
As stated in the case, Xerox has been rated as one of the working mother’s top 100 family friendly firms for women for the last fifteen years (Schermerhorn, 2011, p.102). These statistics can be improved by designing recruitment and training and development methods which attract women and minorities. The entry into employment of such groups can be influenced by the method of recruitment while the promotions can be influenced by effective training and development approaches.
Schermerhorn, J. R. (2011). Organizational Behavior. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.
Xerox Corp. (2006). How Xerox diversity breeds business success.
Xerox Corp. (2009). Xerox diversity: different ideas, diverse people and dramatic results.