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Six areas where sound management of diverse workforces can improve an organization’s effectiveness and competitive advantages

• Cost argument. As organizations become more diverse, firms effective in managing
diversity will have a cost advantage over those that are not.
• Resource acquisition argument. Firms with excellent reputations as prospective
employers for women and ethnic minorities will have an advantage in the
competition for top talent. As labor pools shrink and change in composition, such
advantages will become even more important.
• Marketing argument. For multinational firms, the insight and cultural sensitivity that
members with roots in other countries bring to marketing efforts will be very useful.
A similar rationale applies to subpopulations within domestic operations.
• Creativity argument. Less emphasis on conformity to norms of the past and a
diversity of perspectives will improve the level of creativity.
• Problem-solving argument. Heterogeneity in decision-making and problem-solving
groups typically produces better decisions because of a wider range of perspectives as
well as more thorough analysis. Jim Schiro, former CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers,
explains, “When you make a genuine commitment to diversity, you bring a greater
diversity of ideas, approaches, and experiences and abilities that can be applied to
client problems. After all, six people with different perspectives have a better shot at
solving complex problems than sixty people who all think alike.”78
• Organizational flexibility argument. With effective programs to enhance workplace
diversity, systems become less determinant, less standardized, and therefore more
fluid. Such fluidity should lead to greater flexibility to react to environmental
changes. Reactions should be faster and less costly

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