Over the years, some have wondered why developing and implementing a diversity program was so challenging. Many have attributed part of the difficulty to the natural resistance to change (e.g. uncertainty, discomfort, loss of control). Notwithstanding those who outright oppose the concept of diversity, the difference between understanding the concept and accepting the implementation of diversity initiatives is a barrier that has to be surmounted.
I am referring to people who agree with the notion of embracing diversity but are less than totally supportive of its integration into the fabric of the organization. This phenomenon exists in varying degrees from the boardroom where diversity policy is developed to the meeting rooms, offices, cubicals and shop floor where the policy is implemented. Simply put, the cognitive understanding of the benefits of diversity will not necessarily lead to its acceptance.
I have witnessed this phenomenon many times during my tenure advocating diversity in dispute resolution organizations. Diversity Resistance is the term I use to describe the interference that precludes the harmonious assimilation of diversity into an organization. The following are some examples of diversity resistance:
Diversity Resistance may seem like a mysterious occurrence in certain organizations because some are able to see it and others cannot.
(to be continued)