The previous chapter examined the relationship between multicultural experience and creativity. In this chapter, we will extend this analysis by exploring several related topics in organizational management, particularly regarding workforce diversity management and creativity.
Workforce diversity management has become a major concern in industrialized societies and global business (Harrison & Klein, 2007; Prasad, Pringle, & Konrad, 2006). As a consequence of the recent large-scale population movements across the world (Appadurai, 1990) and the resulting increase in the heterogeneity of the workforce in many countries, Western countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have introduced legislation that draws attention to issues arising from the increased amount of workforce diversity (e.g., Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; various pieces of antidiscrimination legislation; affirmative action in the United States and Australia; employment equity in Canada and the United Kingdom; Prasad, Mils, Elmes, & Prasad, 1997; Yakura, 1996). In addition, with the rapid change in the demographic and skill compositions of the workforce in the global labor market, business practitioners and management researchers realize that workforce diversity presents both a major management challenge and a new opportunity for organizational growth. As a consequence, effective management of diversity is pushed up the management agenda (Thomas & Ely, 1996). Many companies are interested in how corporate diversity initiatives can be used to improve organizational performance. These organizations see the prospect of leveraging differences for the benefit of the organization – collaboration of different cultures, ideas, and perspectives is now considered an organizational asset that can bring creativity and innovation (Jayne & Dipboye, 2004).