Managing Diversity in Civil Service: A Conceptual Framework for Public Organizations.

Ospina, S.
IMDESA-IIAS (ed), Managing Diversity in the Civil Service. IOS Press: Amsterdam. 2001, pp. 11-29.

In this paper I explore the managerial challenges posed by diversity in addressing traditional and new requirements for effective performance in public organizations. I survey the core dimensions, concepts and approaches to diversity in reference to organizations dependent of civil
service as their core employment system. In doing so, I expect to show that the mandate to manage diversity in the civil service cannot be based on a one-size-fits-all strategy (Mor Barak, 2000). Designing and implementing this agenda requires a deliberate and methodical managerial strategy that starts with a diagnosis of how diversity affects organizational performance. It
continues with an analysis of the extent to which civil service rules and regulations, its practices and the underlying managerial philosophies about people promote or inhibit public agencies to advance through what scholars call ‘the diversity continuum' (Minors, 1996; Ospina, 1996), from exclusionary to multicultural workplaces (Cox, 1993). Only considering the degree of diversity and the historical, political, cultural and economic contexts of public employment in a given jurisdiction, can a tailored diversity agenda work.
The paper is structured as follows. First, focusing on the conceptual foundations of the diversity agenda, I use organization and management theory to explore what is diversity and why it is an imperative for all organizations. In a transitional section, I then discuss the implications of ‘what' and ‘why', for the agenda of managing diversity. Third, moving into the world of practice, I provide an overview of diversity approaches and strategies, highlighting the benefits of systemic,
proactive strategies to diversity management in contemporary public organizations. I return in the conclusion to the implications of the approaches presented for managing diversity in civil service.

Wagner Faculty