Multicultural Organization

Multicultural Organization Development presently includes a fairly broad range of visions, definitions, assumptions, strategies, techniques, terminologies, goals and objectives. They include people working under such titles as Managing Diversity, Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity, racism and sexism awareness training and cross-cultural training.

Definition by Jackson and Hardiman (1981)

A multicultural organization:

  • Reflects the contributions and interests of diverse cultural and social groups in its mission, operations, and product or service;
  • Acts on a commitment to eradicate social oppression in all forms within the organization;
  • Includes the members of diverse cultural and social groups as full participants, especially in decisions that shape the organization; and
  • Follows through on broader external social responsibilities, including support of efforts to eliminate all forms of social oppression and to educate others in multicultural perspectives.

Six Stages of Developing Multicultural Organization

Jackson and Hardiman (1981) have developed a model that describes three levels and six stages in the multicultural development process. The stages are sequential. Experiencing the learnings and limitations of each stage contributes to the ability of the organization to move to the next stage. An organization may demonstrate indicators of one, some, or all of the stages in its separate divisions or departments.

There are six stages of development of a multicultural organization. These stages form a continuum

Level I

Stage One: The Exclusionary Organization

The Exclusionary Organization is devoted to maintaining dominance of one group over other groups based on race, gender, culture, or other social identity characteristics. Familiar manifestations of such organizations are exclusionary membership policies and hiring practices. Even though such organizations are directly violating laws, they unfortunately still exist.

Stage Two: The Club

This organization is characterized by the maintenance of privileges by those who traditionally have held power. These organizations may seem to comply with the law by hiring and promoting women and minorities; however, they manage to maintain the club organization by selecting only those who possess the ‘right’ credentials and perspectives.

For instance, many organizations in the US were the exclusive domain of the white male. Although women and minorities were later allowed to enter these organizations, they had a very limited role to play in organizational activities.

Level II

Stage Three: The Compliance Organization

The Complicate Organization is committed to removing some of the discrimination inherent in the “club” by providing access to women and minorities. However, it seeks to accomplish this objective without disturbing the structure, mission and culture of the organization. The organization is careful not to create “too many waves” or to offend or challenge its employees’ or customers’ racist, sexist, or anti-Semitic attitudes or behaviors.

The Compliance Organization usually attempts to change its organizational racial and gender profile by actively recruiting and hiring more racial minorities and women at the bottom of the organization. On occasion, they will hire or promote “token” racial minorities or women into management positions, usually staff positions. When the exception is made to place a woman, racial minority, or member of any other oppressed social group in a line position, it is important that this person be a “team player” and that s/he be a “qualified” applicant. A “qualified team player” does not openly challenge the organization’s mission and practices, and is usually 150% competent to do the job. However, the strategy is more of meeting the letter of the laws, not the spirit.

Stage Four: The Affirmative Action Organization

The Affirmative Action Organization is also committed to eliminating the discriminatory practices and inherent “riggedness” of The Club by actively recruiting and promoting women, racial minorities, and members of other social groups typically denied access to our organizations. Moreover, the affirmative action organization takes an active role in supporting the growth and development of these new employees and initiating programs that increase their chances of success and mobility. All employees are encouraged to think and behave in a non-oppressive manner, and the organization may conduct racism and sexism awareness programs toward this end.

This organization’s view of diversity also includes the disabled, Latinos, Asians/Asian American-Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, the elderly, and other socially oppressed groups.

Although the affirmative action organization is committed to increasing access for members of diverse groups and increasing the chances that they will succeed by removing those hostile attitudes and behaviors, all members of this organization are still required to conform to the norms and practices derived from the dominant group’s world view.

Level III

Stage Five: The Redefining Organization

The Redefining Organization is a system in transition. This organization is not satisfied with being just “anti-racist” or “anti-sexist.” It is committed to examining all of its activities for their impact on all members’ ability to participate in and contribute to the growth and success of the organization.

The Redefining Organization begins to question the limitations of the cultural perspective as it is manifest in its mission, structure, management, technology, psycho-social dynamics, and product or service. It seeks to explore the significance and potential benefits of a diverse multicultural workforce. This organization actively engages in visioning, planning, and problem-solving activities directed toward the realization of a multicultural organization.

The Redefining Organization is committed to developing and implementing policies and practices that distribute power among all of the diverse groups in the organization. The redefining organization searches for alternative modes of organizing that guarantee the inclusion, participation, and empowerment of all its members.

Stage Six: The Multicultural Organization

The Multicultural Organization reflects the contributions and interests of diverse cultural and social groups in its mission, operations, and product or service; it acts on a commitment to eradicate social oppression in all forms within the organization; the multicultural organization includes the members of diverse cultural and social groups as full participants, especially in decisions that shape the organization; and it follows through on broader external social responsibilities, including support of efforts to eliminate all forms of social oppression and to educate others in multicultural perspectives.

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