Cover image for Building a house for diversity : how a fable about a giraffe & elephant offers new strategies for today's workforce
Building a house for diversity : how a fable about a giraffe & elephant offers new strategies for today's workforce
Thomas, R. Roosevelt.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : AMACOM, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxii, 266 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
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HF5549.5.M5 T462 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"What could an elephant and a giraffe teach people about working together? Some very important lessons, it seems, about the complex--and critically important--issues of dealing with diversity in the workforce.

Building a House for Diversity begins with a short fable about how a friendship between the two animals is threatened when the house built for a tall, skinny giraffe cannot accommodate his invited guest, a broad, bulky elephant. Using this story as a vivid metaphor for the difficult issues inherent in diversity, the book goes on to demonstrate how managing diversity can be seen as a set of skills that anyone can learn and use.

In a way that makes diversity management ""up close and personal,"" Building a House for Diversity offers compelling, real-life stories of individual experiences at work. It includes:

* The perspective of both ""insiders"" (usually white males) and ""outsiders"" (usually minorities or women)

* Insightful commentary illuminating what these experiences tell us about the challenges and opportunities of diversity

* A particularly interesting segment on Phil Jackson, legendary Chicago Bulls coach, and how he dealt with diversity issues in his relationships to Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippin, and others

* Hands-on guidance to help readers become ""diversity mature"" and take personal responsibility for their attitudes and actions.

Throughout, the book reflects the seminal thinking of R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr., a pioneer in articulating the concepts of managing diversity. In this book, he has produced his most creative and practical approach to this continuing challenge."

Author Notes

"R. ROOSEVELT THOMAS, Jr., Ph.D. (Atlanta, GA) one of America's most respected authorities on diversity issues, is CEO of R. Thomas Consulting & Training, Inc. and founder of the American Institute for Managing Diversity. He is the author of Beyond Race and Gender (AMACOM 0-8144-7807-7) and Redefining Diversity (AMACOM 0-8144-0228-3).

MARJORIE I. WOODRUFF is Director of Curriculum Development at R. Thomas Consulting & Training, Inc."

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Thomas, CEO of a consulting firm specializing in diversity management, offers his approach to this corporate challenge in what essentially is an infomercial. The authors use a fable about animals to teach people how to work together effectively in an increasingly diverse workplace and present case studies and self-assessment questions to help develop what they call a diversity-mature company. Their premise is that individuals at all organizational levels are responsible for helping create an environment that works for everyone and accesses the talents of all participants. The purpose of the book is to help individuals learn how to respond effectively to diversity through a mastery of core diversity management skills, which will lead them to interact effectively with others who may be significantly different from themselves in any number of ways. The authors conclude that successful diversity management brings competitive advantage and enhances a company's operating results. --Mary Whaley