Diversity in Decision Making & Ethical Issues


Diversity in decision making is a responsibility of top executives. In an organization, executives set the tone for how other managers and employees will make decisions. Executives can build a company culture around different values, such as diversity, and influence how people make decisions. Ethical issues arise when managers deviate from organizational values and make decisions that do not respect or reflect diversity.

Broad Level Decision Making

  • Executives are responsible for broad level decision making. Their decisions affect the livelihoods of their employees and their families as well as other stakeholders, including shareholders and customers. Therefore, executive must consider the far-reaching impacts of their decisions, and how they will be perceived to represent the diversity of the organization and its customers.

Influence of Organizational Culture

  • Remember that executives set the tone for the organizational culture, but every person also contributes to the accepted norms for decision making. Diversity in decision making should be a required value for every person who makes non-routine decisions, from managers to technical experts. These people are influenced by the organizational culture when they make decisions. Allowing people of the dominant culture to make most decisions without considering minority perspectives only hurts the organization's competitive advantage.

Personal Ethics

  • Employees who must make decisions in an organization face a struggle sometimes between the organizational culture's ethics, their peers' ethics and their own moral code. To keep their position, employees might disregard their morals and support the decisions of others in the organization. This is one way that peer pressure works against diversity in decision making.

Decision Making Processes

  • An organization can increase diversity in decision making by revising decision making groups and processes. For example, an organization can mandate that task forces, teams and executive boards make strategic decisions for the whole firm only if they have a diverse composition. Diversity might include people from diverse backgrounds, different job titles or diverse parts of the organization. An example is the diversity that many public agencies require for hiring committees.

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