1. What steps would you take to evaluate the company’s current diversity and inclusion strategy?
2. What interventions do you think might be useful in this case?
3. What plans would you make for evaluating your proposed interventions?
CMC is a global retailing organization headquartered in California that buys and sells women’s and men’s fashion in retail outlets throughout the world. The company CEO, Caitlin Stephens, is one of the few female CEOs in the industry and is renowned for taking a pro-diversity stance and particularly for encouraging women to move to managerial positions in the company. Given her pro-female stance, she regularly features in the business pages and features sections of newspapers across the world where CMC has retail outlets. Recently, the company has had a major reputational hit in that a group of female employees in Australia have accused the company of sex discrimination arguing that women with children have been discriminated against and are being paid less than men. Needless to say, the high profile case in an Australian court has also meant that Caitlin’s life has been investigated in depth by journalists seeking to find more ‘dirt’ on CMC and its seemingly exemplary, feminist CEO. Caitlin wonders how her company could possibly have got into the situation where they could have been involved in such discriminatory processes. The company values of diversity and inclusion are taken very seriously and all employees have to go through some form of diversity training as part of their induction to ensure that these values are engendered into everyday practices. She is aware that in different cultural locations diversity needs to be addressed in different ways. For example, in a recent expansion of the company into the Chinese market she has been keen to ensure that the values and commitment to diversity are promoted as being located within traditional Chinese notions of inclusion. She is aware that some policies do not easily translate. However, to be found guilty of discrimination in Australia presents her with a puzzle. Her Australian Director of Operations has suggested that the issue has arisen due to local management practices that will be dealt with, but given the significance of the incident for both the company and her own personal reputation, Caitlin decides to visit the Australian head office to meet with key staff and discover more about why the incident has occurred. At a meeting with the Australian Director, Matt Sparkes, Caitlin asks more about how such discriminatory practices can occur. Matt expands on his view that the crucial issue is local management. At all of the retail outlets, staff have the right to access work–life balance programmes that include flexible working. However, during the recent run up to Christmas which is the busiest time of the year, Matt has been aware that different managers may be implementing these policies somewhat differently. Caitlin is committed to a no-blame culture so is keen to discuss the issues and problems with the policies openly with the managers concerned. Hence, a random selection of local managers are collected together to meet with Caitlin for an open exchange of views about their experience of the policy…………….………..will ensure that the company delivers on effective diversity management internationally.