Provide five detailed reasons why it is important to study current and emerging workforce diversity issues today.

Diversity in a Global Environment

MGT 357

Final Exam

Fall, 2018

THIS IS A TAKE HOME FINAL EXAM WORTH 100 POINTS. YOU MUST ANSWER ALL OF THE CASE AND ESSAY QUESTIONS TO COMPLETE THE EXAM. EXAMS WILL BE GRADED ON THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA.

· Quality of Ideas: originality, creativity, and completeness.

· Use of Course Concepts: appropriate use of key concepts and frameworks to support your analysis/discussion.

· Specificity, Concreteness, and Credibility: Avoidance of generalizations and jargon; use of specific examples to support points; conclusions/recommendation are reasonable, realistic and well-supported.

· Organization and writing: Overall clarity and logical organization of your thoughts. Free of errors.

Exams are due by your scheduled exam time, Wednesday, December 19, 2018 by 12:30 pm.. Exams received after that date and time will be subject to a late penalty. You may turn in your exam early, but you should avoid turning in the exam late.

CASE: DIVERSITY CHALLENGES AT MIDWESTERN UNIVERSITY

Analyze the case below. This case is worth a total of fifty (50) points. It should consist of answers to all of the questions at the end of the case worth ten (10) points each. The answers should be complete, thorough, and based on Diversity theory and concepts. While there is no required length, you should provide enough analysis to justify earning ten points for each question.

Ram’s Request of Dr. Lewis

Dr. Audrey Lewis, an African American professor at Midwestern University, had just finished a conversation with Ram Thackeray, an international student from India. Ram was the President of the Student Senate and was currently taking Professor Lewis’s course on Diversity in the Workplace. He often dropped by her office to share his thoughts and perceptions since he knew her well and had taken three of her classes in the past. Therefore, when he told her that he felt that Midwestern University was not serious about its diversity efforts and only paid lip service to the issue, Dr. Lewis was not surprised. Ram asked for Dr. Lewis’ help in changing the culture of MU and she wondered if she should become involved in his change efforts since she had to work there.

Ram, a graduating senior, had felt for a long time that the University lumped the minority student population in one category even though these groups had differing needs. As the President of the Student Leadership Organization, he was very influential and had talked with various administrators including the President of the University about diversity issues on campus. Ram had lobbied for the university to pay more attention to the housing needs of international students by keeping the dorms open during short breaks, offering meal choices that would appeal to the tastes and dietary needs of international students, providing supports for more English as a second language classes, and giving minority students more voice in the planning of social activities on campus. Ram even formed a new organization, the Student Cultural Council, comprised of students, faculty and staff, to make recommendations about diversity issues to the administration. Despite these repeated conversations and efforts, Ram felt that nothing ever changed on the diversity front.

Ram felt that MU’s widely publicized strategic goal of achieving a twenty five percent international and fifteen percent domestic minority student body for a total of forty percent minority student population within five years was admirable. The University President often spoke of these goals in campus community meetings and wrote about them in communications to the entire campus community, but Ram felt the supports for more diverse students were not in place to accomplish this goal. The latest incident he shared with Dr. Lewis supported his perceptions. Ram told Dr. Lewis that although he was graduating, he was going to work hard to improve the diversity climate at MU. When Professor Lewis inquired as to what happened, Ram shared the following story.

The Last Straw

Earlier, Ram held a meeting with Midwestern students in his capacity as President of the Student Leadership Organization. At the end of the meeting he was walking down a corridor in the student center, preparing to exit the building and saw the Student Affairs Vice President, Dr. Lou Chambers, showing some of the members of the University Board of Trustees the Student Center building and the proposed renovations that would take place during the summer. As Ram approached them from behind to introduce himself as the President of the Student Leadership Organization, he heard Dr. Chambers say to the three Trustees, “This is the minority corner.” Dr. Chambers chuckled and pointed to where the new Gay Pride Center, Women’s Center, and Multicultural Center would be located. “We like to keep them all together,” said Dr. Chambers as he laughed and continued the tour. Ram stopped in his tracks. The statement that appeared part of a normal innocent conversation to Dr. Chambers was shocking to Ram. Ram was now convinced that the highest levels of Midwestern University Administration simply did not get the fact that their thinking about minorities was inherently biased. Tired of working through existing channels, Ram felt something had to be done, and had to be done now!

Ram Thackeray’s Culture Change Plan

With only two weeks until graduation, Ram told Dr. Lewis that he needed a bold plan to change the culture of Midwestern to make it more inclusive and in a “eureka” moment he had devised one. He decided that he would begin to change the culture of Midwestern by writing a letter to members of the University’s Board of Trustees, bypassing MU’s president and other administrators, detailing his concerns about the culture of Midwestern University. He stated that the letter would end with a challenge to the Trustees, requesting their immediate attention to this matter. Further, he told Dr. Lewis that he was not concerned about the chain of command or proper protocol since none of his previous actions had been successful.

Midwestern University Background

A private, Midwestern university in Ohio, MU had a student population of approximately 7000 students. Until 2000, it was known as Midwest Ohio College, a small business school, granting undergraduate and Master’s degrees in the business disciplines only. Because of its business only focus, Midwest Ohio College always had a problem with diversity. Throughout the 1990’s Midwest Ohio was a predominately white, conservative, mostly male campus located in a rural area. International and domestic minority students comprised less than five percent of the total student population. Female students were also in the minority at Midwest Ohio College.

When the new President, Jim Hedley, was hired in 1996, Midwest Ohio College began to change its strategic direction and undertook several initiatives that would enhance and improve its diversity. President Hedley hired Dr. Lou Chambers, the Vice President for Student Affairs to take the University to a new level in supporting the students. Because of his prior academic experience, as Vice President for Student Affairs at a large state university in Michigan, Dr. Chambers understood the importance of diversity in higher education. President Hedley and Vice President Chambers immediately implemented several programs designed to support the diversity efforts at Midwestern.

One of the most notable changes in the coming years was MU’s transition from a college to a university. Two separate colleges, including The College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences, were established within Midwestern. This led to increased enrollments and a more diverse student body. As a result, more student athletes were recruited in both male and female sports at Midwestern. Due to the infusion of a significant number of minority athletes on the sports teams, the University student body increased significantly in diversity. In addition, the University started to invest heavily in recruiting students from abroad with a big push to get more students from India, China, and South America. Hence the number of international students increased as well.

Eventually, President Hedley and his wife also inaugurated several new buildings and expanded the construction of new buildings to include a new chapel to emphasize inclusion and acceptance of all faiths represented in the diverse student and faculty body at MU. Integrating diversity as part of the University’s strategy moving into the future was clearly part of President Hedley’s general orientation.

Diversity at Midwestern University

These changes helped change the demographic mix of MU’s student population to its current levels of 10% domestic minority and 16% international representing 40 countries. The conservative culture of MU did not readily embrace the newly diverse student body. GLBT students were often targets of harassment and threats. Minority students were sometimes called derogatory names outside of the classroom and international students complained of isolation and stereotyping. Thus, Midwestern experienced severe growing pains in its diversity efforts. Further, the university did little to improve the conditions diverse students experienced beyond creating a Women’s Center, a Multicultural Center and a Gay Pride Center. Thus, students had a place to meet, but there was no real change to the University’s structure where minority students were concerned.

The major diversity efforts at Midwestern consisted of a slogan contest held each spring, the establishment of a Faculty/Staff Diversity discussion group which met to discuss diversity concerns. A one week summer orientation program was held each year to help international students and domestic minority students adjust to the new campus environment, and a policy for reporting hate incidents which was included in the University’s student handbook. Ram felt that while these efforts were a good beginning, they were far from complete and much more needed to be done. Ram constantly met with the President of the University and the Vice President for Student Affairs about his concerns. Ram’s demands, lack of patience around diversity issues, and outspoken nature became so intense that he was seen as a hot head and loose cannon by faculty and administrators alike.

Ram’s Action

The day before commencement, Dr. Lewis ran into Ram in a separate, chance encounter. Ram stopped her in the hall and told her that he sent the letter to the members of the University’s Board of Trustees. Ram handed Dr. Lewis a sealed envelope which contained a copy of his letter and asked if she would meet with him on Monday, following graduation, and continue to assist him in his culture change efforts. As Dr. Lewis took the letter, she wondered what Ram had written and if he had thoroughly developed the “next steps” in his organization change plan. While Dr. Lewis admired Ram’s passion and commitment for this cause, she had to live in this system. As a result, she asked herself if she should even get involved.

Questions: Worth 10 points each.

1. Midwestern University is undergoing a change in the diversity composition of its current and future student body. What should Midwestern do to assure that it has a culture which supports an increasingly diverse student population?

2. Explain why Ram saw Dr. Chambers’ comment as offensive, while Dr. Chambers saw his comment as funny.

3. Suppose that you are Ram Thackery, an international student at Midwestern University. You feel that the culture of the university does not support a more diverse student population. Compose a letter to the University’s Board of Trustees which will bring this matter to their attention and create a need for action on their part.

4. Explain how you will react to a negative reaction from the President of Midwestern University for stepping outside of the chain of command and approaching the Board of Trustees directly. Will you continue with your culture change plan since you will be an alumnus and no longer an active student? Will a negative reaction from the President even matter at this point in time?

5. Should Dr. Lewis get involved? If yes, what will her involvement contribute to the change process?

ESSAY QUESTIONS

Discuss and answer each of the questions below. You must answer all questions completely, including multiple part questions. Each question is worth 10 points.

1. Provide five detailed reasons why it is important to study current and emerging workforce diversity issues today.

2. As demographics continue to shift in the United States and globally, what impact will this growing trend have in the workplace and in the future? Provide four examples.

3. Discuss how an organization’s culture can convey a message of exclusion or inclusion. Explain leadership and management’s role in ensuring whether a culture is inclusive or exclusive.

4. Comment on the following statement: “Legislation alone is not adequate for ensuring that workplaces are fair and equitable.” Included in your discussion relevant diversity concepts, facts, and research to support your answer.

5. Explain institutional racism and ways it can exist in the workplace.

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Provide five detailed reasons why it is important to study current and emerging workforce diversity issues today. was first posted on July 9, 2019 at 3:50 pm.

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