When I went to Harvard Law School 25 years ago, I studied discrimination and affirmative action with a black law professor whose research showed that legislated quotas often become a ceiling as well as a floor beneath a certain number of “diverse” workers.
Also, legislated quotas can cast a cloud of suspected incompetency over every member of the groups that are the subject of affirmative action. A professor remarked to me when I got into Harvard, “I hear they were looking for women’, to which I responded, “No, I topped the law class.”
Fresh thinking often comes from people who are different. I also think being underestimated often provides the motivation to be the best. And all employers know that the winning combination for employees is talent, hard work and motivation to win.
I think the breakthrough for women and minorities will come when people study the research and find that diversity pays dividends. Indirect discrimination and culture is intangible, but money is not.
Very true. There is research showing companies with one or more female directors do better than those with none.Tags: diversity, Mai Chen