My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Diversity doesn't help companies...

Good article - we should only hire on merit...
If you want to “recruit the best talent,” then hiring with an eye toward getting your numbers right is precisely what you should not do. Likewise, there is no reason to use skin color, for instance, as a proxy for how someone thinks; you can have a multicolored workplace where everyone has similar backgrounds and perspectives, and a monochromatic one with great intellectual diversity. And it is ludicrous to suppose that the best way to sell more widgets to Frenchmen is by hiring more African-Americans, just as it is ludicrous to suppose that an African-American who majored in French studies is less qualified to help your marketing in Paris than a Nebraskan with a French surname. Look at individuals, not melanin.

Celebrating preferences, then, makes no sense on logical, empirical, legal, or moral grounds.

Regarding logic, let’s be charitable and take the most plausible scenario: Suppose that a company wants to improve sales to Mexican-Americans, and that therefore it is going to use preferences to increase the number of Latinos in its marketing department. I stress that marketing presents the most — indeed, the only — plausible scenario for diversity-based hiring.

But wait, not all Latinos are Mexican-Americans. A Cuban-American or Puerto Rican might have no particular knowledge of how to market to Mexican-Americans or any particular knowledge of Mexican-American culture. He might speak Spanish, but he might not; and the Mexican-American customer might or might not speak Spanish. If speaking Spanish is important, that can be hired for directly, and there would be no reason not to consider an Anglo or Asian or African-American who spoke Spanish.

Even among Mexican-Americans, the prospective employee might or might not know something about Mexican-American culture. There are plenty of Mexican-Americans whose parents, and they, are fully assimilated. And what is it about Mexican-American culture that is so mysterious that it cannot be fathomed by someone who happens not to have a Spanish surname? Traders have been trading with people different from themselves for thousands of years.

Diversity bureaucrats (public and private) frequently assert that the workforce should reflect the customer base. But why? Did the Phoenicians worry about this? If your customer base is mostly white, should you avoid hiring minorities?

So logic is lacking, as is empirical data. Most on point is a 2003 study, “The Effects of Diversity on Business Performance: Report of the Diversity Research Network,” that found there is no correlation between diversity and improved company performance. Professor Thomas A. Kochan of MIT’s Sloan School of Management published the analysis in the Human Resource Management Journal.

The study was also discussed in the business journal Workforce, where Kochan observed there that “there is virtually no evidence to support the simple assertion that diversity is inevitably good or bad for business.” He concluded, “The diversity industry is built on sand. The business case rhetoric for diversity is simply naïve and overdone. There are no strong positive or negative effects of gender or racial diversity on business performance.”


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