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Encouraging pluralism in management education programs.

The Society for Advancement of Management (SAM), founded in 1912 by colleagues and students Frederic W. Taylor, has for 80 years been working to build bridges among three key groups who strongly affect business and commerce around the world. These three groups are students (S) enrolled in programs of business administration and management education, academicians (A) who teach these students and who create many of the theories and concepts intended to improve business practices, and managers (M) who employ the students when they graduate, test the academicians' theories in practice, and make the critical decisions that shape worldwide business and commerce.

The 1992 SAM International Conference, "Managing the Diverse Workforce," deals with a theme of crucial importance to students, academicians, and managers. The United States is becoming more diverse demographically, and efforts must be made to forge an economic system which recognizes this diversity and allows for the full participation of all citizens. The magnitude of this issue is set forth in dramatic terms by the American Council on Education and the Education Commission of the States in their report, One Third of a Nation:

America is moving backward - not forward - in its efforts to achieve the full participation of minority citizens in the life and prosperity of the nation.

In education, employment, income, health, longevity, and other basic measures of individual and social well-being, gaps persist - and in some cases are widening - between members of minority groups and the majority population.

If we allow these disparities to continue, the United States inevitably will suffer a compromised quality of life and a lower standard of living. Social conflict will intensify. Our ability to compete in world markets will decline, our domestic economy will falter, our national security will be endangered. In brief, we will find ourselves unable to fulfill the promise of the American dream.

As a nation, we must attack this problem now, with new energy and in new ways. The progress of the past cannot be cause for complacency about the future.[1]

The SAM Conference focuses on one component of this broad challenge: recognizing and enabling the full participation of minorities and women in the American workforce. This paper centers on one aspect of that theme - encouraging pluralism (the full participation of a diverse population) in business administration and management education programs offered by American institutions of higher education.

Well-informed commentators on current management education practices such as Lyman Porter and Lawrence McKibbin,[2] have called for changes in the curriculum to address such broad issues as rapid technological change, the growing diversity of the workforce, and the globalization of business practices. Fortunately, leading management education programs across the country have been quick to respond with innovative action.[3]

The purpose of this to provide suggestions to presidents, deans, department heads and faculty who want to change the existing practices of their own business education programs in order to encourage pluralism. The paper addresses three questions: What is pluralism? Why should pluralism be encouraged? How can business educators encourage pluralism? The paper concludes with a personal comment and a "bottom line" challenge issued by the leader of one of America's great institutions of higher education. It is my hope that all who read this paper will respond to the challenge with rapid and effective action.

What is Pluralism?

In simplest terms, pluralism refers to the full participation of a diverse population in a particular system, such as management education. Patrick Hill characterizes a pluralistic university as one where "a spirit of civility and mutual respect abounds, when all groups feel equally well-placed and secure within the community because all participate in that spirit."[4] Donna Shavlik, Judith Touchton, and Carol Pearson suggest that pluralism means recognizing "that there is more than one right way to do things, tha is more than one way to think, feel, believe, and act - that there is more than one world view," an attitude they believe could "bring new vigor to our institutions" since it "holds the potential for discovery, innovation, enlightenment, and solutions to the complex problem of how to share this planet."[5]

Drawing from the American motto, E Pluribus Unum, Carlos Cortes sees a pluralistic learning environment as one which balances "the Pluribus value of free speech" with "the Unum value of creating a campus climate of civility, in which people of diverse backgrounds can flourish."[6]

Perhaps the fullest way to describe what I mean by pluralism is in terms of Frank Wong's vision of an ideal learning environment:

We need to create an academic community where people with different backgrounds view each other as having similar needs, similar aspirations, and similar problems but with different ways of manifesting them. In this kind of community, different clothes, different accents, different music, different habits, different skin color, and different self-presentation are viewed with interest and curiosity rather than hostility and suspicion. In such a community, cultural differences are regarded not as a dehumanizing stereotype but as an intriguing variation that we seek to understand. In so doing, we enlarge both our understanding and our humanity.[7]

In a pluralistic management education program, then, full participation as a student, faculty member, or administrator would not be affected by one's race, color, creed, gender, age, national origin, cultural heritage, disability, or other demographic status. Furthermore, the academic marketplace of ideas would not be restricted to those coming from only one gender or race, or from any predominant culture. All ideas could be freely entered into the academic marketplace to be tested through competition and perhaps ultimately adopted due to their utility.

Why Should Pluralism Be Encouraged?

Having defined pluralism as it relates to management education, let us turn to the second question: Why should it be encouraged? Many reasons could be presented, but I will summarize here what I believe to be five of the more important.

Compliance with the Law

State and federal civil rights legislation including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, effectively prohibits discriminating against persons due to race, color, creed, gender, age, national origin, and disability status when making decisions regarding access to and progress through programs of higher education, including management education programs. Furthermore, it is illegal to discriminate on these factors when making employment decisions, such as hiring, promoting, and granting tenure to faculty.

Clearly, then, compliance with the law is a strong rationale for encouraging pluralism. However, note that this may prompt compliance without any real commitment to the process of encouraging pluralism. Since my objective in this paper is to foster both compliance and commitment, let me present some other reasons which might lead management educators to internalize the value of pluralism, and thus to encourage it willingly rather than grudgingly.

Demographic Realities

Earlier I noted that the United States is becoming more diverse in demographic terms. Let us examine some of the figures and projections:

* Population projections suggest an increasingly multi-ethnic future. In 1989, the U.S. Census Bureau predicted that between 1990 and 2030 the white American population will grow by only 25%, while African-Americans will increase by 68%, Asian-Americans, Pacific Island-Americans, and American Indians, by 79%, and U.S. Latinos by 187%..[8]

* It is projected that by the year 2000, Black, Hispanic, Asian-American, and American Indian workers will compose one-third of the net additions to the U.S. labor force.[9]

* The Population Reference Bureau has projected that, by the year 2080, the United States may well be 24% Latino, 15% African-American, and 12% Asian-American - more than half of the nation's population.[10]

* By the mid-1980s more women than men were attending colleges and universities as undergraduates, and half of all students obtaining master's degrees are women. Women presently constitute 52% of all persons enrolled in college - a majority.[11]

* Higher education's pool of students is increasingly made up of minority youth. In 25 of our largest cities and metropolitan areas, half of the public school students come from minority groups. In 1985, 20% of the school-age population was minority; in 2020, that figure will rise to 39%.[12]

These excerpts from the literature clearly indicate the increasing participation of minorities and women in higher education and the American workforce and suggest that any management education programs that are failing to educate minorities and women - or failing to educate white males in how to work effectively alongside them - are not preparing their graduates for the realities of the workplace of the 21st century. Encouraging pluralism in management education is essential to prepare the next generation of business leaders.

Productivity and Competitiveness

In 1915, President Charles Van Hise of the University of Wisconsin opened a conference with the comment that "Talent is not the heritage of the rich, but is equally the heritage of the poor. If we could develop to the highest extent all of our talent so that it would give us the greatest efficiency, not simply along material lines, but along all lines, our progress would be amazing." He then challenged his listeners "to carry light and opportunity to every human being in all parts of the nation."[13]

Speaking at a conference in 1990, President Tomas Arciniega of California State University at Bakersfield echoed Dr. Van Hise's sentiments, but in a much more down to earth way. Mindful of the demographic realities enumerated above, Dr. Arciniega commented:

Fifteen years ago, for every person on retirement, we had 15 active, producing, taxpaying members of the American workforce. Today that ratio is down to 1:3 .... Shortly after the year 2000, that ratio will be 1:2, and one of those two workers will have come from the ranks of the hard-core urban or rural poor, will be minority, and in California will probably be of Hispanic or Asian descent....

Improving the situation of these people is critical to the future viability and stability of the nation, and it is the reason why you and I need to involve ourselves in pushing for the changes that are so desperately needed to make these improvements.[14]

The U.S. is competing in a tough global market. In order to stay productive and competitive, we must educate all of our citizens and employ their talents wisely. "Men and women, in all their diversity, need to be working together and learning from one another, providing new approaches to assist us in moving into a new age."[15] Furthermore, Jane Jarrow notes, "As we prepare for a new century, with its anticipated labor shortages, persons with disabilities will represent a newly empowered population from which educated workers with technological savvy can be drawn."[16]

Protecting Democracy

Our nation was founded upon the concept of democracy, and democracy lies at the very heart of the urge for pluralism in management education. We must educate all of our citizenry to participate wisely in our political and economic processes if democracy is to be preserved in the U.S. Perhaps the following excerpt from the National University Continuing Education Association's Statement of Vision best states this argument in support of pluralistic education:

At the heart of the ... education enterprise is an enduring commitment to education of all. We are guided by the belief that education of all is fundamental in a free and democratic society. We believe that there is an essential ethical obligation to educate each to the fullest potential so that everyone may contribute his or her best to society and so that everyone may enjoy the rewards ... of such contributions ... These beliefs take on new meaning as we look at our multicultural nation in the context of the global community.[17]

The Marketplace of Ideas

The final rationale I wish to present for encouraging pluralism in management education programs is that it makes sense from the standpoint of sound educational philosophy.

Most managers and business educators are strong advocates of the free enterprise system. We prefer free and open competition in the market-place to a controlled or "planned" economy. Free competition, we believe, enhances creativity and productivity. New goods and services enter the market, where they are tested and - if found to possess utility to a group of consumers - are adopted. In order to retain market share, these goods and services must be able to withstand competition from new entrants to the market.

Institutions of higher education are this nation's marketplace for ideas. Educational philosophers defend them from external control for the very same reasons business persons defend the free market of goods and services. Educators believe that the marketplace for ideas should not be restricted to those of only one source. Ideas should be freely expressed from many vantages, and should be tested in the marketplace against competing ideas. Those which have utility will ultimately survive and prosper, but will be kept sharp and up-to-date by the constant threat of new competitors.

One criticism of management education is that it has restricted the marketplace of ideas, not admitting enough fresh perspectives. A pluralistic approach to management education will contract this problem. Bernice Sandler and Roberta Hall comment:

Women and minorities, precisely because they are outsiders, often bring a fresh point of view to die institution, seeing it with different eyes and coming up with new ideas. If we do not have a supportive environment for them we waste talent, and ultimately the academy is the loser.[18] Likewise, Donna Shavlik, Judith Touchton, and Carol Pearson note:

Higher education has a special responsibility to be a progressive, enlightening social force.... We should be a model for others to emulate.

Our global society is facing problems of potentially catastrophic proportions. We need the best and brightest minds to attend to these problems.[19]

Thus to comply the law, to respond to demographic realities, foster productivity and competitiveness, protect democracy, and strengthen the marketplace of ideas, American management education programs must encourage pluralism.

How Can Business Educators Encourage


Once business educators are convinced of the value of encouraging pluralism in their programs, the natural next question centers on how to do it. Fortunately, works by Donna Shavlik, Judith Touchton, and Carol Pearson.[20]; Bernice Sandler and Roberta Hall[21]; and Roberto Haro[22] provide excellent action agendas. Perhaps the most comprehensive action-oriented guide is the American Council on Education's excellent publication, Minorities on Campus: A Handbook for Enhancing Diversity,[23] which contains informative chapters focused on institutional audits, undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, faculty, administrators, campus climate, and the curriculum.

Rather than restating in this paper all of the many suggestions provided in these sources, I have chosen to focus on ten key actions I believe could form the basis for a comprehensive effort toward encouraging pluralism in management education programs. I applaud the many programs which have made progress in implementing these ten suggestions, and encourage all others to begin now to get these actions underway.

1. Demonstrate a strong commitment to pluralism.

As with any successful organizational change, efforts to encourage pluralism in management education must begin with a clear statement of commitment from die top, followed by actions which demonstrate this commitment. Donna Shavlik, Judith Touchton, and Carol Pearson note, "Having the understanding, support, and encouragement of the institutional leadership, particularly the president, is extremely important. The president, along with the governing board, sets the tone for the institution and establishes the institutional agenda."[24]

The American Council on Education suggests that commitment from the top "be demonstrated in word and deed,"[25] a theme developed further by Roberto Haro, who comments:

Crafting a plan for diversity ... is not enough. The president must make the implementation of a diversity plan a key priority and back it up with needed resources and continuing commitment. Moreover, strategies must be devised to track and evaluate progress toward campus diversity regularly... Unless the president is completely committed to carrying out the plan for diversity, needed change will be more promise than practice.[26]

The American Council on Education reminds us that "while the commitment of the board and president are important, they cannot accomplish real change without support and leadership throughout the institution," including deans, department heads, faculty members, staff, and students. "In short, institutional change is the sum of many individual actions."[27]

Thus, one key to encouraging pluralism in management education is to foster widespread internalized commitment throughout the institution through educational efforts, then to move quickly to translate a groundswell of commitment into concrete action steps.

2. Eliminate inequities in policies and practices. The next step in the process of encouraging pluralism in management education programs is to conduct a broad audit of all of the institution's administrative policies and practices. Those which are found to conflict with the goal of encouraging pluralism - such as faculty and staff hiring, promotion, and pay practices which appear to discriminate against women and minorities, or student life programs which systematically neglect persons from other than the predominant campus culture - should be revised to be more fair and inclusive. The American Council on Education has provided an excellent checklist of institutional policies as a guide for conducting this campus audit.[28]

Compared with conducting the audit, correcting policies and practices which discourage pluralism is a much more difficult process. It often requires faulty senate, student government, administrative and governing board cooperation to change long-standing university policies. Furthermore, the correction of pay inequities among faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees can be very costly. This step is the true test of the level of commitment generated in step one. Institutions willing to take the difficult actions necessary to correct existing inequities are the only ones which are truly committed to encouraging pluralism.

3. Implement proactive recruitment and retention procedures.

While eliminating institutional policies and practices which discourage pluralism is a key step in the plan, this step alone may not be sufficient to attract enough women and minorities to campus to attain pluralism. Many institutions thus take the next step of implementing proactive recruitment and retention procedures to encourage minorities and women to participate fully in the university's student body, staff, faculty, and administration. The astute reader will certainly grasp that I am referring here to the concept of "affirmative action."

Affirmative action is an extremely controversial topic in higher education because of its association in many minds with quotas and reverse discrimination. At the time of this writing, a controversy is raging within higher education with respect to the inclusion of "diversity policies" within certain accreditation standards for universities.[29] To make clear what I am calling for in this third step, let me quote from a policy statement issued by the American Association of University Professors in 1973:

[A]ffirmative action in the improvement of professional opportunities for women and minorities must be (and readily can be) devised wholly consistent with the highest aspirations of universities and colleges for excellence and outstanding quality, and ... affirmative action should in no way use the very instrument of racial or sexual discrimination which it deplores....

What is asked for in die development of an affirmative action plan is not a "quota" of women or blacks [or other minorities], but simply a forecast of what a department or college would expect to occur given the nondiscriminatory use of proper appointment. standards and recruiting practices - with the expectation that where the forecast turns out to be wide of the mark as to what actually happens, the institution will at once make proper inquiry as to why that was so.[30]

Those institutions which choose to pursue step three can find much guidance in how to go about implementing proactive recruitment and retention procedures. The American Association of University Professors has provided a model affirmative action plan for recruiting and retaining minority and female faculty.[31] Furthermore, many outstanding suggestions and sample programs for recruiting and retaining minority and female students, faculty, and administrators can be found in the pages of Minorities, Campus: A Handbook for Enhancing Diversity.[32]

4. Carefully consider and broaden the meaning of "qualified."

In step three I have advocated establishing proactive recruitment and retention efforts to assure that qualified minorities and women are appropriately represented within the ranks of the student bodies, faculties, staffs, and administrations of American management education programs. In this fourth step I am encouraging management educators to consider carefully what they mean by the word "qualified."

Attend carefully to the following statements issued by the American Association of University Professors:

When the use of certain unexamined standards tends to operate the overwhelming disadvantage of persons of a particular sex or race who have already been placed at a great disadvantage by other social forces (not exclusive of past practices within higher education itself), it is even more reasonable to expect that an institution of higher learning would especially consider its standards in light of that fact as well: to determine whether it is inadvertently depriving itself of a larger field of potential scholars and teachers than simple economy requires, even while compounding the effects of prior discrimination generally.[33]

We would go further to say that special efforts to attract persons whose appointment would serve to improve the overall diversity of a faculty, and to broaden it specifically from its unisex or unirace sameness, seem to us to state a variety of affirmative action which deserves encouragement.[34]

Step four of my proposed plan, which is in concurrence with the AAUP's policy statements, thus has to do with determining the "best qualified candidate" from among a pool of applicants for a faculty position. I suggest including within the criteria for "best qualified" such considerations as broadening the focus of departmental research, building bridges to traditionally underserved members of the community, fostering a culturally pluralistic departmental curriculum, and serving as a role model for a diverse group of students. A management education program whose leaders are truly committed to encouraging pluralism should find this broadened concept of "qualified" helpful when seeking to select highly qualified departmental faculty who will help move the department toward its goal of pluralism. Similar concepts of "best qualified" staff, students, and administrators could likewise be adopted.

5. Provide accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by any entity receiving federal financial assistance, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 extends this prohibition to private businesses, nongovernment-funded accommodations and services, and state and local governments. These regulations require that institutions of higher education "assure that the programs and services they provide are accessible to all |otherwise qualified handicapped individuals.'"[35]

In reviewing the early history of the implementation of Section 504 on American college campuses, Jane Jarrow comments:

In those days, college and university leaders focused on performing the mandatory Section 504 self-evaluation by making the physical and programmatic changes necessary to provide accessibility. Because architectural barriers were more visible, institutional leaders were distracted for some time from the issue of attitudinal barriers - an issue that is, perhaps, more important than physical accessibility to true integration of students with disabilities.[36]

She notes, "In fact, the majority of individuals now recognized and protected under the law have invisible disabilities [such as hearing, visual, learning, speech, and health disabilities], and physical (architectural) access is not an issue for them."[37]

Leaders seeking to encourage pluralism in management education programs should by all means continue to assure that there are not architectural barriers to full participation in them by persons with disabilities. However, this is not enough: attitudinal, learning style, and evaluation barriers must also be addressed. Those looking for assistance in this area would do well to consult publications released by the HEATH Resource Center in Washington, DC. Recent publications provide assistance in enabling accessibility to financial aid programs,[38] establishing career planning and employment programs,[39] and measuring classroom progress of students with disabilities.[40]

6. Maintain pluralism in curriculum and teaching.

The current academic debate over "political correctness" in the curriculum[41] has tended to obscure one fact, "A curriculum that truly broadens students' horizons and enables them to appreciate different cultures, different modes of thinking and inquiry, and different values and esthetics will benefit all students."[42]

In my opinion, management educators have often been "out in front" with respect to pluralism in the curriculum. We have been quick to study and implement management practices from other nations (e.g., Sweden, Japan); we focus on marketing strategies appropriate for minority target groups; we are interested in women in management and the particular skills women bring to leadership positions; we include minority-owned businesses in our case studies and policy classes; and we conduct and apply multicultural research regarding motivation, management styles, and human relations in the workplace. Debra Blum had documented numerous examples of efforts to revise business curricula to respond to such "real world" phenomena as racial and demographic diversity in the workplace.[43] Management educators seeking to foster pluralism should maintain - and even quicken - this progressive pace.

We should also attend carefully to our teaching practices. It is essential that we demonstrate an ethic of pluralism in our classroom behaviors,[44] and that we experiment with multicultural team teaching as a way to foster pluralistic learning.[45] The American Council on Education reminds us of numerous subtle behaviors which can "make or break" efforts to encourage pluralism, such as how we express our expectations of students, how we provide feedback, how we deal with silent students with whom we maintain eye contact, how students are seated and called upon in class, and how we solicit input from students.[46] The American Council on Education also notes that students have diverse learning styles, and that our teaching methods should include a variety of techniques so that each style is served.

We know that variety in the classroorm - in the styles of presentation, of types of assignments that students receive, will help different students shine in different circumstances. For some, mastery of facts will be a strong suit; for others, it will be interpreting the material and spinning out new ideas. Learning activities that involve the factual and the imaginative, the effective and the cognitive, independent and collaborative work, will enable students to exercise their strengths as will as shore up their nonpreferred styles.[47]

Management educators who are interested in revising their curricula to incorporae more active learning opportunities and to tap into a wider variety of student learning styles may find the suggestions provided by Ronald Sims and William Sauser[48] to be of considerable benefit.

7. Emphasize pluralism in student support and campus life programming. Roberto Haro advises those of us who desire to encourage pluralism in our management education programs:

The campus climate and infrastructure must be examined carefully to determine how the dominant culture is manifested. Two critical areas for review are the academic structure and programs, and the out-of-class and social experiences encountered by students... Academic programs and staff services must be reviewed thoroughly to identify any attitudes and practices that are biased or culturally discriminatory. Staff in support services, like admissions and financial aid, must begin to understand how students from different cultural backgrounds perceive them... Social machinery such as fraternities and sororities or social clubs must begin to incorporate different cultural attitudes and expectations and eliminate biases that rank one type of student over others.[49] Expanding upon this theme, Ray Lou comments: Students must feel they are a welcome part of university life. That means an environment free of racist, anti-[minority] sentiment, activities and social life with a multicultural bent, and a campus culture reflecting diversity in everything from its theaters to employment office - even in the food service.[50]

8. Plan a response to bigotry.

A disturbing downside to the increasing presence of minorities and women on American university campuses has been the increased reporting of incidents of bigotry on those campuses. Kenneth Stern reports:

Incidents of bigotry are becoming commonplace on college campuses. According to the National Institute Against Prejudice and Violence..., more than 250 of the nation's 3,300 colleges and universities have reported acts of ethno-violence since mid-1986. Many more incidents on many campuses have gone unreported.[51] Carlos Cortes comments:

Racist, sexist, anti-religious, and homophobic incidents have hypertrophied in recent years - not only on college campuses, but also in society at large. How should colleges respond to these reprehensible acts, which poison campus climate and threaten campus community?[52]

In an extremely valuable publication of The American Jewish Committee, Bigotry on Campus: A Planned Response,[53] Kenneth Stern recommends that campus leaders take immediate, planned actions in response to incidents of bigotry and ethnic violence through carefully worded public statements, fact-finding investigations, opening of communications channels, possible rallies and assemblies, and swift punishment if laws have been broken. Sections of the publication address graffiti, physical violence, disciplinary codes, controversial speakers, overzealous campus police, and intergroup relations. All management educators committed to encouraging pluralism should study this publication and put together a plan to respond to incidents of bigotry on campus.

Interestingly, it should be noted that some students and faculty members who hurl racial epithets, participate in incidents of bigotry, and incite hatred and violence attempt to justify their actions as manifestations of the First Amendment right to free speech, or even "Academic Freedom." Free speech and academic freedom are cherished principles in academia, but each has its limits. Carlos Cortes reminds us that "the First Amendment has long been limited by libel, slander, and defamation laws."[54] Furthermore, the "1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure," the landmark document which established the right of academic freedom on American college campuses, clearly balances this right with certain obligations:

Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject ...

College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.[55]

Robert O'Neil, former president of the University of Virginia, cites this section of the 1940 Principles in an essay in which he calls for campus leaders to be much more aggressive in dealing with incidents of campus intolerance. Citing other AAUP policies, he reminds campus leaders that faculty members "can be faulted for 'exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students.' It is also unacceptable to |discriminate against or harass colleagues,' for example by ridiculing them to students or attempting to turn students away from their courses."[56]

This eighth step is clearly a very challenging but essential one to take for management educators who wish to encourage pluralism on their campuses. It calls for dedicated campus leaders, through a combination of educational programs, planned responses to incidents of bigotry, and enforcement of the obligations which accompany the right to academic freedom, to - in the words of Carlos Cortes - balance "the Pluribus value of free speech and the Unum value of creating a campus climate of civility."[57]

9. Warm up the "chilly climate."

Incidents of bigotry and violence are evident and can certainly have a destructive impact on efforts to encourage pluralism. Yet, as the American Council on Education reminds us, other less visible incidents can also damage efforts to encourage pluralism:

More frequently, the problems are subtle. Minority students often feel marginal, conspicuous, and isolated from the mainstream of the institution. The scarcity of minority students, faculty and administrators is perceived as institutional indifference to minority issues. The absence of minority focus in the curriculum is interpreted as a devaluation of diversity. These environmental problems may compound any academic difficulties experienced by minority students. Thus, minority students often find it doubly difficult to feel comfortable in the campus majority culture.

At the same time, majority students are often unaware of die experiences of minorities on campus.... White students, faculty, and administrators often do not see the environment in the same way as minority individuals.[58]

Donna Shavlik, Judith Touchton, and Carol Pearson refer to these subtle problems as "micro-inequities" (a term coined by Mary Rowe[59]), "ways in which individuals are either singled out, overlooked, ignored, or otherwise discounted on the basis of unchangeable characteristics such as sex, race, handicap, or age. Such behaviors are often so small that they go unnoticed when they occur, but they have a cumulative impact."[60]

Bernice Sandler and Roberta Hall discuss many such "micro-inequities" involving such subtle behaviors as attentiveness, interruptions, response to comments and questions, focus on appearance, scrutiny of credentials, discounting of accomplishments, lack of collegiality, assignment of office space, subverting authority, stretching rules, assigning courses, and many others, all of which they claim create a "chilly climate" for women (and presumably minority as well) faculty, administrators, and graduate students on American college campuses.[61]

What can be done to warm up a "chilly climate" in a management education program seeking to encourage pluralism? Fortunately, numerous resources are available. A good first step is to read Bernice Sandler and Roberta Hall's report, follow the many recommendations they provide, and set up consciousness-raising workshops similar to those they outline.[62] The American Council on Education, in Minorities on Campus: A Handbook for Enhancing Diversity, also provides a number of strategies for presidents, administrators and faculty, student affairs administrators, and students.[63] Once leaders of management education programs have committed themselves to warming up a chilly climate for minorities and women, actions they can take are manifold.

10. Invoke the ethic of pluralism when cultures


Another consequence of the increasing multicultural character of American colleges is that the values and customs of one culture frequently clash with those of another culture. Bernice Sandler and Roberta Hall provide this example:

Many students, especially those in engineering, math, economics, and science, report difficulties with foreign male students and faculty who come from cultures where women's role is very circumscribed. They often engage in numerous overt discriminatory behaviors such as sexual harassment, not calling on women students at all, not answering their questions, and openly ridiculing or disparaging women. Students complaining about such treatment often receive no support but are told instead to be "understanding" because that person comes from another culture.[64]

Carlos Cortes relates another concern which is frequently encountered by leaders of management education programs who are working to encourage pluralism:

American universities are currently experiencing a sharp rise in student dissatisfaction with some foreign-born professors and teaching assistants - particularly in such areas as mathematics and the sciences - because of their accents and limited ability in oral English.[65]

These issues are tricky ones for educational leaders who are concerned both with pluralism and with the provision of quality classroom teaching. When faced with problems like these, educational leaders must be mindful of the true meaning of pluralism as stated earlier in this paper, "a spirit of civility and mutual respect."[66] In my opinion, the first instance cited does not represent mutual respect, and I question whether the second does either. Just as it is improper to elevate the values and customs of the majority culture over those of minorities, I believe it is improper to accord minority values and customs a special status above those of the majority.

In order to foster true pluralism on campus, educational leaders must see that the rights of all are protected. Foreign-born and other minority faculty and student teaching assistants certainly have the right to be in the classroom, but they must also respect the rights of others. Those (both minority and majority) who would insult or ignore any of their students, or who cannot communicate adequately with their students, should be removed from the classroom and be given adequate opportunity to improve their language or teaching skills. Compromising teaching effectiveness in order to meet "diversity" goals is not, in my opinion, the proper way to encourage pluralism. On the other hand, it is equally improper to encourage majority students to avoid or reject the teachings of faculty from minority cultures when those teachings do not conform to the majority viewpoint.

This tenth step is probably the most difficult of all, but it is the true test of whether or not pluralism has actually been accomplished within the management education program. When persons whose cultural values are in conflict can adopt a stance of mutual respect and work out solutions acceptable to all parties, then pluralism exists in reality, not simply as a goal toward which to strive.

A Personal Comment

The ten steps recommended here are admittedly difficult to follow, but can pay tremendous dividends for management educators, for they can lead to the development of what I believe is the ultimate educational experience: pluralistic learning.

I have been privileged during the 1991-92 academic year to be one of 34 American Council on Education Fellows. These 34 persons are extremely diverse in terms of age, race, gender, religious beliefs, academic training, national origin, cultural heritage, region of the country we represent, type of institution in which we are employed, and many other variables, yet we all share a common interest: higher education administration. As we have worked, learned, and relaxed together, we have been able to forge a climate of mutual respect in which we can explore one another's ideas, attitudes, values, and beliefs. The synergy of this experience is remarkable: our marketplace of ideas boils over and spills into new ways of seeing the world and responding to it - and even shaping it!

Having had this taste of pluralistic learning, I hunger for more, and truly desire for all students and educators to experience it fully. As leaders in the reformation of management education, the members of the Society for Advancement of Management - and all who will work alongside us - can create truly pluralistic management education programs. I hope we will.

The Bottom Line

On the occasion of the celebration of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 63rd birthday, Dr. Dale Lick, president of the Florida State University, issued a statement which I see as a fitting conclusion to this paper. I challenge management educators across the nation to work to turn Dr. Lick's (and Dr. King's) dreams into reality:

Like Dr. King, I too have a dream.... A dream that we will achieve equity in the workplace and in the educational opportunities for all people. A dream that people of all races will come together to work towards solutions to racial conflict, poverty, homelessness, illiteracy, drugs, crime and all the other problems that have engulfed our communities. I hope that as our society becomes more culturally diverse, that we become more accepting of that diversity.... We, the people ... must work together, as a team, to enhance our communities and to proclaim the good news that all people have value and worth, that it is legitimate to be different, and that we can learn from those differences. What a wonderful day that will be when we empower our people by freeing them from their biases and prejudices, and when we support each other out of brotherly love and because it is the right thing to do. When we accomplish this, we will become a cohesive society, supportive of each other and able to address issues jointly with the sole purpose of doing what is best for humanity.[67]


(1) One-Third of a Nation: A Report of the Commission on Minority Participation in Education and American Life (1988). Washington, DC: American Council on Education and Education Commission of the States. Page 1. (2) Lyman W. Porter and Lawrence E. McKibben (1988), Management Education and Development: Drift or Thrust into the 21st Century? New York: McGraw-Hill. (3) Debra E. Blum (1991), "Business Schools Rush to Revise Curricula in Response to Critics and Competition." The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 4, pp. A23, A28-A29. (4) Patrick J. Hill (1991), "Multi-Culturalism: The Crucial Philosophical and Organizational Issues." Change, July/August, pp. 38-47. Here (p. 46) Hill is quoting "a team that visited Brown last year' (p. 45). (5) Donna L. Shavlik, Judith G. Touchton, and Carol S. Pearson (1989), "The New Agenda of Women for Higher Education" (pp. 441-458). In Carol S. Pearson, Donna L. Shavlik, and Judith G. Touchton, Editors, Educating the Majority: Women Challenge Tradition in Higher Education. New York: ACE/Macmillan. The quotes are from pages 453 and 454. (6) Carlos E. Cortes (1991), "Pluribus & Unum: The Quest for Community Amid Diversity." Change, September/October, pp. 8-13. The quote is from page 12. See also Carlos E. Cortes (1990), "Pluribus, Unum and the American Future." Today, 15 (3), Spring, pp. 8-10. (7) Frank F.Wong (1991), "Diversity & Community: Right Objectives and Wrong Arguments." Change, July/August, pp. 48-54. The quote is from page 53. (8) Cortes (1990), p. 8. (9) Deborah J. Carter (1990), "Racial and Ethnic Trends in College Participation: 1976 to 1988." Research Briefs, 1 (3), Division of Policy Analysis and Research, American Council on Education, Washington, DC. Page 1. (10) Cortes (1991), p. 8. (11) Carol S. Pearson, Judith G. Touchton, and Donna Shavlik, Editors (1989), Educating the Majority: Women Challenge Tradition in Higher Education. New York: ACE/Macmillan. Page 17. (12) Madeleine F. Green, Editor (1989), Minorities on Campus: A Handbook for Enhancing Diversity. Washington, DC: American Council on Education. (13) Charles Van Hise (1915), "The University Extension Function in the Modern University." Opening address at the First National University Extension Conference, Madison, WI, March 10, 1915. The quotes are from p. 35 of a printing of this speech by Rae Wahl Rohfeld, Editor (1990), Expanding Access to Knowledge: Continuing Higher Education, NUCEA 1915-1990. Washington, DC: National University Continuing Education Association. (14) Tomas A. Arciniega (1990), "The Nature and Importance of Minority Leaders in the Decade Ahead." AAHE Bulletin, June, pp. 10-14. The quote is from page 12. (15) Shavlik, Touchton, and Pearson (1989), p. 446. (16) Jane Jarrow (1991), "Disability Issues on Campus and the Road to ADA." Educational Record, Winter, pp. 26-31. The quote is from page 3 1. (17) NUCEA Task Force on Visions and Values (1990), "Statement of Visions and Values." Continuing Higher Education Review, 54 (3), Fall, pp. 143-147. The quote is from page 143. (18) Bernice R. Sandler and Roberta M. Hall (1986), The Campus Climate Revisited: Chilly for Women Faculty, Administrators, and Graduate Students. Washington, DC: Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American Colleges. (19) Shavlik, Touchton, and Pearson (1989), p. 444. (20) Ibid., 444 457. (21) Sandler and Hall (1986), pp. 17-24. (22) Roberto P. Haro (1991), "Developing a Campus Climate for Diversity in the 21st Century" (pp. 49-61). In Ronald R. Sims and Serbrenia J. Sims, Editors, Managing Institutions of Higher Education into the 2]st Century. New York: Greenwood Press. (23) Green (1989). (24) Shavlik, Touchton, and Pearson (1989), p. 446. Green (1989), p. 9 (26) Haro (1991), p. 52. (27) Green (1989), p. 9 (28) Green (1989), pp. 18-21. Other helpful checklists are found throughout this sourcebook. (29) Scott Jaschick and Robert R. Schmidt, Jr. (1991), "College accreditors spur use of quotas, federal officials say." The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 4, pp. A37, A43. (30) Affirmative Action in Higher Education: A Report by the Council Committee on Discrimination." This report, which was originally presented in April 1973, is reprinted in AAUP Policy Documents & Reports, 1990 Edition ("The Redbook"). Washington, DC: American Association of University Professors, pp. 96-104. The quotes are from page 96. (31) "Affirmative Action Plans: Recommended Procedures for Increasing the Number of Minority Persons and Women on College and University Faculties." This report, which was adopted in June 1983, is reprinted in AAUP Policies & Reports, 1990 Edition ("The Redbook"). Washington, DC: American Association of University Professors, pp. 105-112. Green (1989). (33) "Affirmative Action in Higher Education," p. 97. (See note 30). (34) Ibid., p. 100. (35) Jarrow (1991), pp. 26-27. (36) Ibid., p. 28. (37) Ibid. (38) Rhona C. Hartman and Jay Brill (1989), Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities. Washington, DC: HEATH Resource Center. (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036-1193. (39) Robin Deykes and Katherine Anthony (1991), Career Planning and Employment Strategies for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities. Washington, DC: HEATH Resource Center. (40) Rhona C. Hartman and Martha Ross Redden (1985), Measuring Student Progress in the Classroom: A Guide to Testing and Evaluating Progress of Students with Disabilities. Washington, DC: HEATH Resource Center. (41) Courtney Leatherman (1991), "AAUP Statement on the |Political Correctness' Debate Causes Furor." The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 4, pp. A23-A24. (42) Green (1989), p. 132. (43) Blum (1991). (44) William I. Sauser, Jr. (1990), The Ethics of Teaching Business: Toward a Code for Business Professors." SAM Advanced Management Journal, 55 (4), pp. 33-37. (45) Haro (1991), p. 54. (46) Green (1989), pp. 136-140. (47) Ibid., p. 143. (48) Ronald R. Sims and William I. Sauser, Jr. (1985), "Guiding Principles for the Development of Competency-Based Business Curricula." Journal of Management Development, 4 (5), pp. 51-65. (49) Haro (1991), pp. 52-53. (50) Ray Lou (1989), "Model Minority? Getting Behind the Veil." Change, November/December, pp. 16-17. The quote is from page 17. (51) Kenneth S. Stem (1990), Bigotry on Campus: A Planned Response. New York: The American Jewish Committee. Institute of Human Relations, 165 East 56 Street, New York, NY 10022-2746.) The quote is from page 1. (52) Cortes (1991), pp. 12-13. (54) Cortes (1991), p. 13. 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure." This document, endorsed by the Association of American College and the American Association of University Professors in 1941 (and many other educational associations in the following years), is reprinted in AAUP Policies & Reports, 1990 Edition ("The Redbook"). Washington, DC: American Association of University Professors, pp. 3-10. The quotes are from pages 3 and 4. (56) Robert M. O'Neil (1991), "Dealing with Intolerance for Intolerant Views." The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 18, p. A44. (57) Cortes (1991), p. 12. (58) Green (1989), p. 114. (59) Mary P. Rowe (1977), "The Saturn's Rings Phenomenon: Micro-Inequities and Unequal Opportunity in the American Economy." In Patricia Bourne and Velma Parness, Editors, Proceedings of the National Science Foundation's Conference on Women's Leadership and Authority. Santa Cruz: University of California. (60) Shavlik, Touchton, and Pearson (1989), p. 448. (61) Sandler and Hall (1986). (62) Ibid. (63) Green (1989),pp. 114-121. (64) Sandler and Hall (1986), p. 17. (65) Cortes (1991), p. 12. (66) Hill (1991), p. 45. (See note 4.) (67) Dale W. Lick (1992), "Message from the President of the Florida State University." Program for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Convocation, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, January 17.

Dr. Sauser is associate vice president and professor, office of the vice president for Extension at Auburn University. He is President of SAM and has published numerous articles.
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Author:Sauser, William I., Jr.
Publication:SAM Advanced Management Journal
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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