Prejudice and Discrimination

prejudice against certain groups in my future occupation are unjustified.

Most organizations today emphasize that their most valuable resource is their human resource component and this is for a very good reason. Because organizations are by definition comprised of people and virtually everything worthwhile in the world is accomplished through an organization of one sort or another, it is clearly the people that make up the organization that are making things happen. In this author's future occupational capacity as a human resource director, it would be both foolhardy and most likely criminal to engage in any type of prejudicial behaviors that automatically classifies a group of people according to preconceived stereotypes, no matter whether these are good or bad. According to Black's Law Dictionary (1991), prejudice is "A forejudgment, bias; partiality; preconceived opinion. A leaning towards one side of a cause for some reason other than a conviction of its justice" (1179).

Clearly, there is no room in a well managed human resource service for prejudicial behaviors because there are laws against such activities, but even more importantly, perhaps, prejudicial behaviors might adversely affect the ability of the human resource director to recruit the most qualified candidate for a position based on spurious considerations such as race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or an even more vague quality that has nothing to do with the candidate's qualifications or ability to perform. Indeed, institutionalized racism has characterized American society for two centuries in ways that have prevented African-Americans from achieving equitable opportunities across the board, and it has only been relatively recently that such prejudicial views have been set aside in favor or more egalitarian principles based on more relevant factors such as an individual's character, qualifications and demonstrated abilities. Prejudice has no room in the workplace because it is also detrimental to organizational productivity and profitability. For example, according to De Meuse, Claire and O'Neill (2007), "Racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice can foster discrimination within a workplace. Unless well managed, social identity differences can create emotional conflict among employees" (38).

Diversity in an organization can provide a number of benefits when they are well managed, though, and everyone has something they can contribute to accomplishing an organization's goals if given half a chance. In this regard De Meuse and his associates emphasize, "Truly diverse organizations can leverage this conflict by using it as a way to arrive at a clarification of values and foster honest communication" (39). This type of enlightened approach does not just fall out of the sky in most organizations, though, but requires careful attention to what problems are involved and what steps are best suited to resolving them. For instance, Matthews (1998) notes that, "Some organizational leaders are concerned that implementing diversity initiatives is too expensive, upsets productivity, and causes disruption in the workplace. Prejudice and hostile work environments also pose internal stumbling blocks to effectively managing diversity. These trends and internal stumbling blocks challenge effective cultural diversity management" (175).

One approach that can help overcome these stumbling blocks that is recommended by De Meuse et al. includes providing diversity training and educational programs that can help overcome existing prejudices throughout the organization. According to these authors, "Antidiversity sentiments and employee group biases can be addressed through a variety of training programs and educational activities. Such training can develop more favorable attitudes toward diversity. Moreover, top management support for diversity as a learning opportunity rather than a liability is critical to engendering an organizational culture that recruits, retains, and promotes diversity" (De Meuse et al. 39).

Position 2: Some forms of prejudice against certain groups in my future occupation are justified.

Because resources are by definition scarce, it is important for any human resource director to use whatever resources are available for accomplishing organizational goals to their best effect. It would be wasteful, for example, to recruit candidates for positions using expensive advertising media by stipulating erroneous or misleading job qualifications only to have to interview hundreds of people and then turn them away because they were not qualified for the position in the first place. Likewise, it would not be a professional or efficient approach to invite candidates who…