Diversity Issues In The Athlet Essay Research

Diversity Issues In The Athlet Essay, Research Paper

Diversity Issues In The Athletic Department

In this world, people interact with one another. People develop and exchange a

diverse set of identities. Their identities are informed by gender, race ethnicity, culture,

sexual orientation, religion, their varying physical and mental abilities, class, age,

education, profession, and regional identity. Each person carries social values and brings

multiple identities to the organizations and communities of which they are a part of.

Throughout history, people have always used each identity to hurt another group of

people whom they may have felt were a threat to them, or to simply hurt a minority group

to feel superior.

In the article, Opportunity for Change , Melissa Y. Rock states that

the concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each

individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the

dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical

abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies (Rock, p.2).

Positive diversity is about the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and

nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple

tolerance to embracing the diversity contained within each individual. Sadly, in many

universities, diversity issues run rampant in some form. I want to show that diversity can

be a postive form in a athletic department.

As an athletic director of a university, I want to create some guidelines and

inform my staff about these issues because I believe in promoting a fair opportunity for

all players, coaches, spectators, all levels of participation to sports, and staff. Also I want

to create a good image for the university. Having problems with diversity promotes a

negative atmosphere, hurts people, and hurts the university s image.

Another reason to make diversity issues a priority is because we need to prepare

for the future. In the next 10 years and beyond, there will be an increase in minority

students. Teachers, faculty, coaches, and staff need to know that times are changing and

they must act appropriately. In the article by McCauley, Wright, and Harris (2000), it

states that in 1995, 67 percent of U.S. children aged 5-17 were white, 15 percent were

black, 13 percent were Hispanic, and 5 percent were Asian/Pacific Islanders, American

Indians, and Alaskan native. Between 2000 and 2020, it is projected that there will be 61

percent more Hispanic children aged 14-17 and 47 percent more Hispanic children aged

5-13. The numbers of Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Alaskan Native

children aged 14-17 is projected to increase by 73 percent, while the number of those

children aged 5-13 is projected to grow by 67 percent. The number of white children

aged 5-13 is projected to decrease by 11 percent, and the number of white children aged

14-17 is projected to decrease by 10 percent. Yet these numbers only cover the racial

diversity issue. The numbers of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered peoples in the

United States are also increasing. And, of course, women comprise more than half of the

population (Rock, p.3). The statistics indicate that times are changing and we are

becoming a very diverse society in a short span of time. As an example, if a professional

NBA team currently only allowed white players on the team, then they would most likely

be runned over by teams that have diversed and have the best players in all identities.

Just like how companies are trying to scramble to get their products on the internet

because they know that if they don t start changing now, they will be too far behind from

their competitors in a short span of time.

Diversity training can be used to bolster employee morale, retain productive

workers and promote harmony and understanding within the organization. I want

players, staff, and anyone else dealing with the athletic department to feel that they are

being treated properly. In the article, Changes In Attitude After Diversity Training , he

says that an effective diversity training program seeks to debunk the myths of diversity,

explores the realities of diversity and identifies means by which employees can meet the

challenges of multiculturalism in the workplace (Tan, Morris, Romero, 1996, p.54).

Changing demographics of the United States are having a significant impact on

communities, organizations, society, and the nation. In the athletic department, morale,

productivity, and success will depend on the ways organizations manage the changing

demographics of their current and future workers.

I also have other purposes for doing a diversity training workshop. I obtained

some of my reasons for diversity training in the article, Why Diversity Matters . If the

department gets sued for racial or sexual discrimination, at least I ll be able to point to

the diversity training workshop I offered. In a sense, I believe this has to do with risk

management. A company s return on investment can be negatively affected by low

employee morale and satisfaction, by conflicts and misunderstandings, and by costly

legal battles (Gardenswartz, Rowe, p.S1). I also want the people in my department to get

along, to understand and appreciate one another. I want inclusion. The underrepresented

staff and coaches should achieve success in this department. I also want the majority

employees to work successfully with diverse colleagues. Another purpose for this

workshop is justice. In the department, I want everybody to be able to acknowledge if

there are any inequalities. My last purpose is that I want transformation. I want to make

certain that all of us in the workshop have thought long and hard about the benefits of

new and diverse staff, coaches, players, and spectators mean to the department. This

may even change our standards and values of the department.

As an athletic director, I would have to face the issues of diversity within the

athletic department. I would need to research and put together a workshop to plan a

course of action to deal with diversity issues. This workshop would be directed to the

coaches and the staff within the athletic department. I will also set up a taskforce that

will include myself, a coach, and a staff member. The staff member and coach are to be

elected to the diversity taskforce and it s job is to oversee that everyone complies with

proper attitudes. In this paper, I will discuss what this workshop will cover. I

acknowledge that I need to do some research by contacting the many diversity training

consultants and that I must read the most current information and even watch some

videos on diversity issues.

I believe that many people do not realize that they are hurting others. This is why

I must provide comprehensive training and development activities for my department.

One of these activities will be to do a workshop where I will address diversity issues and

make my guidelines clear.

I will put together a 2-hour diversity training workshop on a Wednesday morning

when it would be mandatory to attend. I will do the workshop in the morning because I

want the workshop to be the first thing on my employees minds during the day and I

believe that Wednesday will be a good day because my employees can use the

information during the workshop and start implementing it with upcoming games. I will

facilitate the workshop and it will be a lecture format.

I want the people who come out of the workshop to understand the knowledge of

diversity issues, knowledge of barriers to change, knowledge of the effect of stereotypes

and prejudices in the workplace, readiness to value diversity, knowledge on identifying

and preventing stereotypes and prejudices in the workplace (Tan, Morris, Romero, 1996,

p.3). I believe that if the coaches and the staff can grasp the understanding of the

knowledge above then there can be a significant difference in the participants attitudes,

perceptions, and knowledge. I admit that the hardest concept for people is to change

their habits. I will need to be patient and help my employees break out of their old habits

if they have them. As a facilitator, I need to encourage participants to speak for

themselves, to refrain from personal attacks on others, to be open to new or different

ideas, and to express themselves freely in all discussions and activities (Barry, Bateman,

1996, p.757). I must also assure that their expressed opinions will be held confidential

and not recorded or repeated.

My objectives throughout the workshop are to explore the primary dimensions of

diversity, analyze the effect of assimilation on the ability of others to succeed, explore

participants personal values, stereotypes, and prejudices, examine the effect of

destructive isms , assess employees readiness to value diversity, identify current

barriers that could impede cultural change, and analyze ways to prevent sexual

harassment in the workplace (Tan, Morris, Romero, 1996, p.55). I will be talking to the

coaches and staff so I may have to give examples that relate to each area. For example, I

may explain to the coach that they must make sure that they are aware of how they treat

their players and other assistants. Hopefully, after the workshop, he/she may implement

some changes or at least they will be able to notice if they are doing any isms and if,

they must let their players and assistants know that they must change. I must point out to

my staff to be aware of how they treat each other, students, parents, etc.

I will have to do a great deal of research and confer with some diversity issues

experts. I will also invite one of them to come and talk for about 15 minutes, so the

people present at the workshop can get a different approach and may also be more

attentive. I want to create an atmosphere where everyone in the workshop can contribute

and also express their thoughts and experiences. This way, we can have a more

informative and productive workshop. I know that some personalization is needed, but

not at the expense of making my coaches and staff uncomfortable expressing their

viewpoints for fear of guilt or rejection.

I need to understand that the participants in the workshop may not know what to

expect. To be effective, I must be able to point out experiences that touch the

participants and support them as they learn about and reflect on others and themselves.

In addition to thinking a new about others, effective diversity programming presses

people to examine themselves (Rossett, Bickham,1994, p.43). I can do a diversity quiz

that asks factual, multiple-choice questions about different diversity issues in the

workplace. The article, Diversity Training: Hope, Faith, and Cynicism , argues that a

good self-assessment method is to ask the group for a list of stereotypes for an ethnic or

cultural group and then discuss these stereotypes. This article also states some other

good methods of self-assessment such as using role playing and group activities that give

people a chance to witness and experience several different perspectives. I could act out

a scene with a coach where I pretend to be a coach and he/she pretends to be a player. I

can treat the coach negatively with using different racial, religious, etc. and see how the

coach would act in the situation. In this way, the coach can experience a glimpse of how

he/she may be treating the player. I can also ask participants to come up with personal

action plans that move them toward some goal, either their own or to the department s.

My goal of the workshop is to inform my staff and coaches about the issues of

diversity and then to see if they can carry out what they have learned. I believe that

practicing change is very important. In Rossett and Bickham s article, they say that

successful attitude change often involves practicing and reflecting on one s own

real-world performance in light of the standards to which one is expected to perform .

As a facilitator, I must be able to draw experiences and concerns from participants,

pressing them to consider how others might perceive their actions, and asking them to

compare their performance to organizational standards (Allison, 1999, p.78). I

understand that no diversity program can specify what to do in every situation, but I can

at least hope that the training will empower the people in the department to at least have

proper guidelines. During the workshop, I will be talking to the coaches and staff. In

this case, everything that I talk about will apply to both sides. A player is no different as

a person than the coach and vice versa. Of course there are situations which may be

different, the issue is still the same and calls for similar approaches.

Building awareness first is important because my staff must be aware of their

activities before they can change them. I remember when one of my friends didn t know

that making threats to harm people was a crime, although he didn t mean it. When I

informed him of this, he stopped making these types of remarks. In the article, Raising

Awareness Precedes Changing Attitudes by Kenneth Haseley, it says that before you can

change your attitudes or behavior, you need to deal with awareness. I liked the example

which said, Consider hard liquor and tobacco consumption in this country. In general,

we have seen a reduction in the use of these products. It s no coincidence that this trend

has followed years of aggressive communication campaigns (Haseley, 1994, p36).

Before I have the workshop, I can at least meet with staff and coaches and just briefly

remind them of some of the issues going on and then when they come to the workshop,

they are aware and then I have a chance to change attitudes. I know that people s

attitudes don t change overnight, but if I can at least get them to think about how they are

doing things, then this will lead to change.

I understand that diversity training is a sensitive topic to introduce. The article

Diversity Training: A Competitive Weapon , gives a good criteria of the implications

of diversity training. It states that the difficulty with diversity training involves walking a

fine line between creating a climate of honesty and at the same time, trying to add humor.

For any diversity program to succeed, there must be an appropriate balance between

these two needs. I don t want my staff to feel uncomfortable, create a climate of

mistrust, or have anyone feel that their jobs are threatened. I want them to reflect and

contribute in making our department a better place.

One of my goals for the department is to create a reputation that doesn t

discriminate against a person s identity. By doing this I will increase the quality of

workers and players. Any business that chooses to ignore the advantages that a diverse

work force provides, does so at its own risk. The risk of limiting the pool of talented

people, of losing the dynamic synergy that a diverse workforce provides, and of

alienating customers (Walters, 1995, p.497). I want to hire the best staff and attract the

best players to come to this university. Institutions known for successfully promoting

cultural diversity will attract the best and brightest minority and women candidates in the

future. They will get the pick of the best, much the way that the Ivy League colleges

continually attract the best students, and because they get the best students, they remain

the best colleges (Walters, 1995, p.497). Diversity programs would increase the quality

of the athletic programs at my school and create a positive environment that results in

winning more games and most likely, creates more revenue. In just a business sense, it

makes complete sense to implement a diversity training program.

During the workshop, I will cover the many issues I described above. Yet now, I

will explain the format of my workshop. The article, Making The Right Training

Moves , states that developing a model for training in diversity is a challenge because

every institution has a different mission. Thus, I need to look at the school s mission and

incorporate it within my own workshop. I will start off by doing some skits where people

can role play. Throughout the workshop I will ask for experiences they have had and any

suggestions or comments. I want my workshop to be interactive. I will not use a

powerpoint presentation because I want to keep the event at a personal level. I want

ideas and information to flow. I will tell my staff why they are at the workshop and

briefly explain some history on this topic and where businesses and institutions are going

with it. Then I will begin giving information on the problems and situations of diversity

and describe how we are treating each other and explain how we can improve

productivity. Everything that I explained above will be included during this talk.

I found some key points to help me out with the workshop in the article, Ten

Strategies For Managers In A Multicultural Workforce . First of all, I need to be a

flexible communicator. This goal involves using different channels of communications

to establish maximum understanding of what I am talking about. How I project my

voice, use my body language, and demonstrate my enthusiasm for what I am talking

about can either help promote my topic or do the reverse. I can maximize my efforts

after the workshop by sending memos reminding them politely of the issues, conducting

one-on-one consultations, or holding a group discussion. By doing this, I can increase the

magnitude of the results from the workshop.

Another goal is to express my concerns and confusions. Giving lavish praise to

someone for doing good work or looking directly in the eyes of a person when speaking,

will not be accepted positively by some ethnic groups. I must let the people know in my

workshop that I do not know all of their customs, so I want them to understand that I

don t want to offend anyone. I must assess my audience and know the different identities

involved. I must adjust myself if there are identities that may be offended.

Since I want to incorporate everyone in the workshop to participate, I would

suggest everyone help and create our definition of diversity that our department can use.

The smart organization will integrate differences between people into all its

development programs (Kunkel, 2000, p.4). This way everyone will feel a part of the

process and decision making instead of being told what to do. Our definition can outline

our philosophy, basic guidelines in situations, types of issues, and define what diversity

issues are.

I will also challenge all stereotypes and assumptions about minority groups. I

must learn to distinguish between characteristics based on intuition and

over-generalizations. I must talk to my peers about this and tell them that I cannot

tolerate arbitrary attitudes and stereotypes to linger in the workplace because it will only

generate misunderstandings and declines in productivity. For anyone that is interested in

personal development courses or other workshops, I will make these workshop s dates

and locations known.

Throughout the workshop, I want to set goals and also ask others how they feel

about the workshop. I will also point out that I want to link diversity goals with every

aspect of the department. I shall also confer with my other assistant athletic directors to

explain the purpose of the diversity program from their perspective and express support

to it. I will specify acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Behaviors that do not act in

the interest of promoting a positive non-discriminative environment are unacceptable. I

will have to make sure that the other directors and I set an example in leading the way in

enacting diversity policies. I will also publicize to the rest of the university and the

community for the department s plan for encouraging diversity. I will reflect on our

efforts on a weekly basis. These efforts that I talk about include trying to tone down and

eliminate stereotypes and also seeing that the department becomes a more positive

environment for everyone.

Change comes slowly, particularly when the changes are affected by the personal

values and views of those in the department. According to Making The Right Training

Move , I can create a more positive environment, by implementing strategies that are

comprehensive, systemic, and long-range. At the same time, short-term goals must be

established. In the short run, creating a diverse reputation for the department is

important and then in the long run, the department would attract quality coaches, staff,

and players.

There are a lot of educational programs for diversity issues. There are many

video tapes, conferences, and also companies that consult on this topic. In athletics,

there are many conferences dealing with single issues such as gender, but I have not

come across any conferences that deal on the whole concept of diversity issues. I have

found through my research that there aren t many articles that deal with diversity issues

in the athletic department. I have found plenty of information for corporate business. Of

course, there is plenty of information on specific issues like race and gender, but none on

diversity issues as a whole. Information for sport managers on this topic is based on what

goes on in the corporate world and related to the athletic world. As this industry

continues to grow, I believe there will be more instances to write about diversity issues in

athletic administration. I feel this way because this industry is growing bigger every year

and affects people at all ages.

I am from Hawaii, a very unique state. Through my experiences in Hawaii, I have

realized that a person s identity is less important than the person s character and abilities.

For example, Hawaii is a melting pot for many ethnic races and because of this, people in

Hawaii are less threatened about other peoples ethnicities. I believe that if I can expose

my staff and coaches to different minorities, they can feel more familiar with these

groups and hopefully, see beyond the differences within us all. With this workshop, I

believe that at least, I can get my staff exposed to differences and develop an awareness

in everybody. Only then in my opinion can we start to see beyond our differences. The

workshop will help in turning the athletic department into a more positive enviornment,

free from diversity issues, and affect the university in a positive way.

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