The Problem of Minority Performance in Organisations

Relatively little research has focused on how organizational culture and existing methods of evaluating the job performance of minority ethnic groups have contributed to exclusion from, and discrimination in, the workplace or on how organizations can address these issues. The evidence suggests the existence of a widespread tendency in organizations to evaluate the performance of minority ethnic employers much lower than that of white staff. These differences may be due to the following factors: bias in the systems used to measure and improve performance; biased perceptions of white managers; and actual differences in performance. The lack of studies examining the issue of race in organizations is particularly evident in the United Kingdom. Two theories--cognitive processing theory and the theory of in-groups and out-groups--provide a useful explanation for individual (managerial) behavior. Corporate organizations wishing to improve the fairness of their evaluation of minority workers' job performance should take the following actions: (1) undertake a thorough work force review to identify areas of concern, including access and treatment; (2) examine systems, processes, attitudes, and behaviors as possible contributory factors; and (3) assess what needs to be changed and what can be changed within the cultural context. (Contains 43 references.) (MN)