The 21st century organization operates in a very complex and competitive global environment characterized by increasing diversity. Statistics reveal that the United States is becoming increasingly diverse with the proportion of white population decreasing while the number of foreign-born and other minority groups is increasing significantly (O'Leary & Weathington, 2006). Furthermore, it is predicted that this trend will continue as the number of immigrants explode and U.S. born workers continue to decrease (Sparber, 2009). Therefore, organizations' ability to remain competitive will depend on the ability to plan for and manage a diverse talent pool. Although a large amount of research (Adler, 1983; Adler & Bartholomew, 1992; Brown, 2008; D’Almeida, 2007; De Meuse, Hostager, & O'Neill, 2007; Frase, 2007; Roberson & Stevens, 2006; Thomas, 1991; Thomas, 2004; Williams & O'Reilly, 1998) has been performed in the area of workforce diversity, the literature has not fully addressed diversity as a strategic planning imperative for organizations. This study explored the phenomenon of strategically planning for a diverse workforce. The study involved 12 strategic planners and hiring managers employed at organizations in New York.
Findings from this study indicate that the participating organizations recognize that planning for workforce diversity is a strategic imperative which must be supported at the top level of the organization. Participants agreed that a diverse workforce adds creativity and improved decision making as well as better economic outcomes for organizations. This study will therefore advance the research literature in the field of strategic planning for diversity in the workforce.
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