Specialists (Dessler, 2004) insist that ethnic or racial minorities should be proportionally represented in organizations at all levels on the condition of their professional level meeting the position they hold. The proportional representation of employees with different racial or ethnic background gives them certainty that they can obtain promotion, if they work hard and if they have well-developed professional skills and abilities. In addition, the equal representation of employees with different racial or ethnic background contributes to the development of positive, healthy organizational culture because employees feel being equal in the organization they work in. As a result, employees stay motivated to work better and to work hard to obtain promotion.
At the same time, employers should provide training courses for its employees to improve their professional skills and abilities and to create equal opportunities for them to pass tests. As it has been already mentioned above, some people are more successful in passing tests, while other are not. To close the gap between these people, employers, such as the New Heaven Fire Department should provide its employees with training, which can help them to pass the test. In addition, training will be useful to increase their professional level, develop their professional skills and abilities and extend their knowledge and experience. Training contributes to the closer cooperation between employees and elimination of barriers between employees, including racial or ethnic barriers.
Finally, testing is not enough to take decisions on promotion of employees. The opinion of employees is important because managers appointed by employers should gain the respect and approval of employees. In such a way, it is possible to decrease the risk of racial or ethnic discrimination of minorities. For instance, the New Heaven Fire Department could conduct a sort of election or just to monitor the opinion of employees in regard to possible promotions. In such a way, the Fire Department could identify informal leaders, who have the authority among employees and whom the department could promote and gain the positive feedback from employees. In addition, this policy would eliminate the risk of the emergence of informal leadership in the department. This risk has increased substantially after the discriminatory results of the test because African American and Hispanic firefighters felt being discriminated, excluded from promotional opportunities. In such a situation, they would naturally increase the informal leadership because their informal leaders would become even more popular for they did their best to pass their test but failed. Other employees would feel compassionate to informal leaders and they would oppose to formal leaders, following their informal leaders. Obviously, such a situation within the New Heaven Fire Department would undermine its effective performance. Hence, the decision of the city of New Heaven to reject the results of the test was right.
Obviously, the discrimination of employees based on their race or ethnicity should be eliminated. The case of the New Heaven Fire Department reveals the extent to which promotion practices can be discriminatory, regardless of their seeming fairness. In such a situation, the authorities and public should interfere and do as the city of New Heaven did rejecting results of the test, which left aside of promotion a large number of African American and Hispanic firefighters. The elimination of discriminatory practices and the rejection of the results of the test should be backed up by changes in promotional policies within the fire department. In this regard, the New Heaven Fire Department should take into consideration achievements of firefighters, their experience, and progress to promote them.
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Totenberg, N. (2009). “Supreme Court Hears Firefighter Promotion Case.” NPR.

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