In an application of Thomas Aquinas to ethics in the context of globalization and diversity, Neves, & Melé (2013) observe that “cultural diversity appears as a consequence of globalization” (p. 769). Cultural diversity and globalization in turn result in a complication of ethics, either in terms of respecting the ethics of others, bearing in mind the fact that different cultures value different ethical aspects, and that the diversity of a workforce will also represent a diversity of ethical systems. The other main concern regarding ethics and diversity is the delicate balance between having a quality, skilled workforce and promoting the value of diversity.
For managers/those in management – that is, those ultimately responsible for the integrity of the organization and the development and guidance of its workforce – ethics in the context of diversity is extremely important. When making human resources decisions, the issue of diversity must be borne in mind. Even when no conflict of diversity ethics truly exists – such as hiring a white male over a Hispanic female because the male truly has better credentials – the appearance of disregard for diversity may remain, which can undermine the reputation (and therefore the public’s perception of the integrity) of the organization.
Consequently, it is crucial that diversity management (DM) be an active and obvious part of the organization’s culture, both in the big picture and everyday operations. Labelle, Gargouri, & Francoeur (2010) assert that DM must go “beyond compliance with affirmative action and political correctness” (349). This means that if DM is truly a part of the organization’s systems, it becomes a real part of the organization’s ethical practice. Managers, who are responsible for the development, implementation, and continued observance and practice of an organization’s systems and practices, must therefore espouse and model behaviors which not only endorse diversity but also take into consideration the ethical implications of diversity and its practice.
- Labelle, R., Makni Gargouri, R., & Francoeur, C. (2010). Ethics, diversity management, and financial reporting quality. Journal Of Business Ethics, 93(2), 335-353. doi:10.1007/s10551-009-0225-7
- Neves, J., & Melé, D. (2013). Managing ethically cultural diversity: Learning from Thomas Aquinas. Journal Of Business Ethics, 116(4), 769-780. doi:10.1007/s10551-013-1820