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The Diversity Machine: the Drive to Change the "White Male Workplace"

by Lynch, Frederick R.

  • ISBN: 9780684822839
  • ISBN10: 0684822830

The Diversity Machine: the Drive to Change the "White Male Workplace"

by Lynch, Frederick R.

  • List Price: $27.50
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publish date: 01/01/2002
  • ISBN: 9780684822839
  • ISBN10: 0684822830
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Description: The latest fad in American businesses and universities is "diversity training". Most are familiar with the format: employees or students sit in a circle with their co-workers or classmates and engage in a variety of strange exercises. They role play, talk about their feelings, confront their prejudices. It all seems rather harmless, if a bit silly.

Whose idea was all of this, anyway? Where did diversity training come from, and where is it going? Frederick Lynch spent five years researching the diversity business from the inside-- interviewing its principals, attending numerous sensitivity seminars, and studying institutions, such as the University of Michigan and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which have transformed themselves into virtual showcases of diversity.

However innocuous this movement appears from the outside, Lynch finds that it is much more than it seems. Corporations, government offices, and colleges spend tens of millions of dollars annually to hire outside diversity consultants, who promise to turn these institutions into utopian meccas; in the institution that has learned to "value diversity", all tension between men and women, blacks and whites, gays and straights will be purged. But when these grandiose promises inevitably fall flat, the diversity merchants are expert in finding scapegoats. Either management didn't spend enough money on programs, or the organization was not aggressive enough in pursuing "non-white male" applicants, or there was a "white male backlash" against the inclusion of minorities and women in the institution.

Indeed, the diversity industry cites no studies or other evidence to back up its dubious marketing claims. Some diversity consultants allege that pursuing diversity enhances a company's bottom line. Others take an even more cynical approach, declaring a bogus moral authority by portraying their business as the heir to the civil rights movement. Lynch persuasively shows how both of these postures work in concert to hoodwink thousands of American managers and CEOs into spending scarce resources on diversity patent medicines. This exhaustively researched, readable book effectively exposes the self-righteous, greedy, and ultimately ineffectual underside of the diversity business.

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