UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Design, intentions, and implementation of diversity programs Acton, Rita


This is a study of some of the challenges and opportunities of workplace diversity programs as they are experienced by consultants working in the lower mainland region of British Columbia. This study reinforces that the context severely limits what may be achieved, and therefore diversity programs are seen as a beginning process. Working towards change does not end when the workshop is over. Change is an ongoing process which, in workplace contexts, needs to be supported by the entire organization inclusive of senior management, front line workers and support staff. Qualitative, in-depth interviews were conducted with a group of consultants to determine program design, intentions, and influences facilitating or hindering implementation of these programs. The programs are delivered in a variety of workplace contexts such as educational institutions, non-profit organizations, municipalities, school boards, hospitals, telecommunications, financial and insurance industries. The data reveals that these programs, whether of two hours, two days or two weeks duration, offer a place for introspection and reflection necessary for gaining greater self-awareness. These programs deal with highly emotional, value-laden issues; therefore, the overall goals of diversity programs cannot be reached unless there are policies implemented which support the goals and objectives of the programs. The study's findings challenge conventional models of designing, facilitating, evaluating, and implementing programs in that the planning process is done not only with the intellect, but also with the heart.

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