The rise of multinational companies and increased global diversification by even small companies has resulted in people of diverse backgrounds and cultures working together in the same office or for the same
organization. Conflict in such situations is predictable, but understanding the diversity issues can help companies implement programs designed to keep conflict at a minimum and to take full advantage of the many benefits which such diversity brings to an organization. Key to understanding how diversity is managed in multinational organizations is understanding the concept of corporate culture (which defines organizations), diversity programs and their use to minimize conflict among employees, and the unique problems that employees working overseas encounter. One of the biggest companies that have worked a lot on diversity is Ford Motor Organization.
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational corporation and the world’s second largest automaker, selling vehicles in 200 markets and with approximately 345,000 employees on six continents. Ford also is a family with a heritage of strong and clear values. One of the most essential of Ford values is their commitment to diversity and inclusion. For Ford, diversity is a means to an end. It is one of the ways the company is seeking to drive a transformation to a team-based workplace. To have meaningful relationships with customers (and other stakeholders) it is essential to have an understanding of their needs. Having a diverse workforce is one of the ways of building this capacity into the company. From the start, Henry Ford and the family of Ford employees have valued diversity. Henry Ford launched our diversity journey when he offered a $5-a-day wage in 1914. Thousands of immigrants and African-Americans flocked to Ford Company, lured by the prospect of pay that was more than double the prevailing industry standard. This revolutionary event in American business created a new middle class and established Ford as one of the first American companies to truly reflect the growing diversity of the United States.
• By as early as 1916, Ford employees represented 62 nationalities and every major world religion.
• By 1919, there were enough Ford employees of Middle Eastern descent in the Detroit area to support a Muslim mosque — the first to be built in the United States.
• Ford also employed more than 900 people with disabilities. We were one of the first companies to adapt work environments to their needs.
• Ford first African-American salaried employee, Eugene J. Collins, was hired in 1919, despite a segregated America.
• By 1920, Ford employed more African-American hourly workers than any other automotive company.
• Ford first collective bargaining agreement with the United Auto Workers in 1941 was groundbreaking because it explicitly prohibited discrimination based on race, color, national origin or creed.
• By 1946, gender was added to the non-discrimination clause, prompted by the entry of women into the work force during World War II.
• Ford middle years produced a number of firsts, including the first African-American and female executives.
• In 1967, Henry Ford II proclaimed that dealers and suppliers are valued members of the extended Ford family.
• In 1969, the company’s first plant forewoman was promoted.
• In 2005, Ford names Anne Stevens, executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Americas. She is the highest ranking woman in the automotive industry.
Today, Ford is as diverse as the world itself, providing an exciting portfolio of cars and trucks to customers in 200 markets around the world.
Defining Diversity and Its Values
Diversity literally means variety, and embracing workplace, diversity means welcoming the full variety of society: different races, ethnicities, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, religions, ages, abilities, education, beliefs—any characteristic that distinguishes groups of people. Offer equal opportunities to all people, regardless of these factors, is simply the right thing to do, and part of being a responsible corporate citizen. Accordingly, ford motor company has long maintained non-discrimination policies and actively measures its progress in creating and promoting a diverse workplace.
But diversity also supports and strengthens business. Welcoming a wide range of people into the company opens up a bigger pool from which to find the best- qualified candidates. And diverse working teams bring together different ideas and perspectives, challenging one another for the best results. Moreover, in this global economy, having many different groups represented within the company helps make its products and services more appealing to costumers who are members of those same groups.
Diversity embodies all the differences that make us unique individuals. Not limited to physical aspects of race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation, it includes culture, religion, education, experience, opinions, beliefs, language, nationality and more. Diversity enhances confidence and improves the contributions made by people in such environments. Valuing and respecting each individual simply makes good sense. Success and productivity are natural extensions of a corporate culture that truly values all people.
Bill Ford said valuing different employee backgrounds and skills makes the company more responsive to the marketplace.
“In the end ford company is more successful. And ford employees, our customers, our shareholders and our business associates, they all benefit,” Ford said. “In other words, diversity is not a favor to the world. It’s a richness that strengthens us as a company and gives us a competitive advantage.”
Ford Motor Company continues to receive recognition for its diversity programs. Most recently, the company received a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The CEI is a review on how America’s top companies treat their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees, consumers and investors. Ford previously scored 85 percent, but by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, the score took a considerable jump. The number of companies receiving the top grade rose to 56 in 2004, from 28 in 2003, and just 13 in 2002.
Diversity and Globalization
Workforce diversity – from customer service clerks through to the board of directors – is a critical dimension for those companies seeking to establish themselves as global enterprises.
• The Conference Board of Canada released a study last year which concluded that having an ethnically-diverse workforce can make a company more profitable. Gaining the global advantage was the theme of the report, which predicted that if Canadian businesses continue to rely heavily on traditional markets, our export growth and standard of living will “be relegated to the slow lane of international commerce.” The key to entering international markets, it is implied, is gathering an “international” employee base to serve as a natural bridge and help Canadian firms penetrate those emerging markets.
• Ford has manufacturing, assembly and sales facilities in 34 countries and distributes its vehicles through a network of more than 10,500 dealers in more than 200 countries. Alex Trotman, chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company argues “it’s very important for our product people to understand the different consumer tastes around the world. People in China don’t like exactly the same products as people in India. Our performance is global and our workforce has to be global. We have to be very understanding of the issues of the world.”
• Helmut Eppich, founder and Chairman of Ebco Industries, makes the following statement: “The world is forcing us to think more globally, more internationally, and this requires an international focus. You need to understand what makes people tick….This is why I think the focus on multiculturalism that Ebco has taken is critically important.”
Overcoming language barriers, grasping various cultural nuances, attracting the best employees in a changing demographic and establishing good faith with foreign investors are important for a diverse workforce in the cultural microcosms of Canada or the United States, but are survival tactics for firms seeking a global presence. Sandra Wilking, the special advisor to the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada is cited in a recent Conference Board of Canada study saying that many mainstream Canadian business people aren’t pursuing opportunities in the Asia Pacific region because of their concerns about differences in language, culture and business practices. With the sheer number of highly qualified Canadians and landed immigrants from all parts of Asia, this is a tremendous wasted opportunity.
Employee Resource Groups
For more than a decade, ford employee resource groups have provided support, outreach and development to employees who share ethnicity, race, religion, life experiences, disabilities or backgrounds. ERGs hold educational and cultural events and support many diversity-related efforts such as college campus recruiting. Membership is open to all Ford employees.
Ford-Employees African-Ancestry Network (FAAN)
FAAN champions diversity at Ford by making a positive impact on the African-American community. FAAN promotes leadership development through seminars, mentoring, counselling and Dialogues on Diversity with senior management. Members support summer internship programs and recruiting at minority-focused career events. In the Detroit area, they provide Scholastic Aptitude Test coaching, an area Pre-College Engineering Program, Paint the Town events and Black History Month Celebrations. They also support the United Negro College Fund.
Ford Asian Indian Association (FAIA)
FAIA works for the success of Ford Motor Company. Its three-part vision is to promote the Ford family of brands as the “Brand of Choice” for Asian Indian consumers, make Ford the “Employer of Choice” for Asian Indian professionals, and develop business and technical skills of Asian Indian employees to ensure a competitive advantage for Ford. FAIA also works to enhance awareness and understanding of Asian Indian culture among all employees.
Ford Chinese Association (FCA)
One of the oldest resource groups at Ford, FCA represents a highly motivated group of dedicated professionals, eagerly bringing diversity to the workplace. FCA promotes activities for technical and cultural exchange within its membership and with outside associations as well. Members actively support the company’s business initiatives.
Ford Finance Network (FFN)
The FFN is dedicated to helping new Ford Finance hires acclimate to the company. To that end, Detroit-area members sponsor a professional development event, a social event and a brown bag lunch presentation event each quarter. They coordinate a “buddy” system where new hires are paired with experienced Finance employees. They maintain a Web site that includes the FFN membership database and biographies. This Web site also links to key Ford information, events and FAQ’s, and provides reviews of local entertainment spots.
Ford Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Employees (GLOBE)
Ford-GLOBE is active in making Ford a gay-friendly company. It strongly supports the company’s EEO policy. GLOBE has chapters in Great Britain, Germany and the U.S. providing worldwide networking and confidential employee support. Members actively champion diversity education, recruiting and marketing. They hold monthly membership meetings, lunches and socials while supporting many community events.
Ford Hispanic Network Group (F-HNG)
F-HNG, through service and support, strives to be a positive force in the Hispanic community. The group’s vision is to assist the corporate effort to employ, develop and retain Hispanics in the workforce. Programs include hosting professional development events and sponsoring speakers on diversity initiatives.
Professional Women’s Network (PWN)
PWN focuses on professional development for women, promoting an environment that attracts, develops, retains and advances talented women for the Ford team. PWN sponsors motivational speakers, mentoring programs, leadership initiatives and community projects.
Women in Finance (WIF)
WIF is an affiliate of the Professional Women’s Network. Ford key goals include the enhancement of personal and professional development, member networking and the support of the company’s diversity efforts. Initiatives include motivational speakers, panel discussions, recruiting, flexible work arrangements, financial planning and community activities.
Ford Parenting Network (FPN)
FPN works to support employees in balancing work and family life. We also serve as a resource to the company on issues that affect working parents. FPN primary mission is to further Ford’s effort to create a balanced worklife environment—an environment where maximum contribution at work is balanced with the employee’s fulfillment of personal and family responsibilities. We work to promote family-friendly worklife policies and decisions at Ford. We sponsor ongoing parenting classes and outstanding parenting seminars, and we offer networking opportunities for Ford parents.
Ford Interfaith Network (FIN)
Founded in 2000, the Ford Interfaith Network (FIN) aims to assist the company in becoming a worldwide corporate leader in promoting religious tolerance, corporate integrity, and human dignity. They strive to act in accordance with their beliefs and out of love for human beings and all of creation, promoting understanding and respect for the various faiths. They help management to:
o increase and maintain religious diversity
o attract, develop, and retain talented employees of faith
o be more aware of religious consumers’ and investors’ needs
Middle Eastern Community @ Ford Motor Company (MEC@Ford)
Everyone is welcome to join MEC@Ford, a resource group dedicated to making Ford Motor Company the preferred automotive producer among Middle Eastern communities. Goals include building consumer relationships, demonstrating corporate citizenship, promoting diversity and developing cultural awareness. Activities include working with area schools, and mentoring and support for employees of Middle Eastern backgrounds.
Ford Employees Dealing with Disabilities (FEDA)
Founded in 2002, FEDA envisions becoming the first-stop resource for Ford Motor Company employees dealing with disabilities. They seek to provide information and networking tools, eliminate social barriers, and contribute to culture change in the workplace for the benefit of all.
Ford Diversity in the Marketplace
More than half of new-car buyers are women or people of color. Today, multicultural groups represent 37 percent of the United States population. By 2010, more than 40 percent of the population will be ethnically diverse. Ford already has the industry’s strongest family of brands, including Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Jaguar, Mazda, Land Rover and Aston Martin. This vast line-up of products allows ford customers to stay under the Ford Motor Company umbrella as they grow and progress throughout their lives. Each of these brands designs, markets and produces high-quality products that connect with ford customers. Ford products and ford marketing messages have found universal appeal, regardless of people’s interests, cultures and traditions. Over the past four years, the company’s multicultural efforts have grown. They have a solid record of success.
Their largest brand, Ford, has been the top U.S. brand for Hispanics for six consecutive years (R.L. Polk data, 1997-2003). Ford Division also has been among the top sellers to the U.S. African-American and Asian markets. Ford Division has awarded more than 850 college scholarship grants, totaling $1,515,000, to Hispanic high school seniors through the Spirit of Accomplishment scholastic program, from 1997 – present. The Mustang is the number one selling sports car to Hispanics and African-Americans. It essentially owns the segment with 45% of the Hispanic and 46% of the African-American share. The Ford F-150 is the top selling vehicle to Hispanics and the top selling full-size pickup to African-Americans. 2005 was a record a F-series Hispanic sales year selling more than 61,000 retail units. More F-150s are sold to Hispanics than any other truck, car or SUV in the United States.
Left to right: Kiyoshi Ozaki, senior managing executive
officer, China Business, Mazda Motor Corp.; Mark Fields,
executive vice president, Ford Motor Company, and president,
The Americas; Sanae Fusao, interpreter, Mazda
Motor Corp. and Kazuhide Watanabe, chairman of the
board, Mazda Motor Corp.
Ford is aggressively expanding its online presence with highly interactive content in the Hispanic, African-American and Asian markets. They recently launched a new multilanguage Asian-American Web site and have the industry’s most comprehensive and integrated Hispanic Web site. The Fusion’s integrated multicultural marketing campaign has played a key role in making Ford’s newest midsize sedan a sales success. In 2004, Volvo launched its first brochure in Chinese and Korean. Today, Ford is building upon this strong foundation and taking our multicultural marketing to a new level. Since Ford company began, our grass-roots efforts have reinforced Ford’s commitment to diverse populations. They are finding new ways to reach out through local sponsorships and community involvement. Each of their brands has an active multicultural marketing program. Ford is committed to the communities where people do business. This commitment has driven the company to develop many creative programs that give directly back to the community.
The Ford Mi Negocio (My Business) web portal is the first Hispanic entrepreneurial online business community of its kind. It provides sound business advice in Spanish to Hispanic entrepreneurs. Ford is also committed to the Ford Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) Business Classic, a real world business plan competition with $100,000 in scholarships open to 370,000 HBCU students and their prospective schools.
.Ford Dealers & Suppliers
At Ford, they value the dealers and suppliers who make up their extended family. This is why, for several decades, they have been an industry leader in the development of minority dealers and suppliers. Not only does their support of dealers and suppliers make Ford a stronger company, it also encourages entrepreneurship and brings new wealth and job opportunities to communities throughout the country.
Lizabeth Ardisana, chief executive officer,
ASG Renaissance, is a Ford supplier and the
first woman to chair the board of the Michigan
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
• With 373 minority dealers in the United States, Ford has a greater percentage of minority dealers – 7.8% – than any other major automaker. Ford purchased more than $3.7 billion of goods and services from minority suppliers in 2005 – more than the revenue of some Fortune 500 companies.
• This commitment has earned to Ford a spot on the “Billion Dollar Roundtable,” a small group of companies that have spent $1 billion or more with minority suppliers.
• Ford’s Insight program helps dealers better understand and serve African-Americans, Asian-Americans, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender customers, Hispanics, women and young adults. The program includes Web-based cultural training, in-dealership workshops and assistance in developing comprehensive multicultural strategies.
• Minorities who have dedicated themselves to a career in automotive retailing often are eligible for funding from Ford. Through Ford’s Dealer Development Investment Program, the company will fund up to 90% of an eligible candidate’s investment capital – the seed money that’s needed to buy a dealership.
• Their support of the largest minority suppliers also benefits smaller minority-owned businesses. In 2005, more than 500 of their largest suppliers purchased more than $12 billion from minority-owned businesses.
• Ford has made its M-Tier program available to all its suppliers. Those who want to launch their own Tier 2 program to report diverse purchases may do so at no charge.
• They made history in 2004 by awarding a $500-million contract to one of the largest African-American-owned companies in the United States.
• Through their industry-leading Supplier Diversity Development Program, Ford sponsors financial assistance, loans and subsidies for consultants who work closely with suppliers to develop business plans, improve quality and identify problems.
Concluding I would like to say that every company should work on diversity because is very important for everyone and in the end we are all human beings, so we should not have differentiation with each other. And finishing I would like to add the 4 main points for diversity which are:
• “By using the company’s policy to do things in a positive way and celebrate the key people driving the diversity policy, we have found that people remain motivated and more committed to diversity and its benefits to the business.”
• “Diversity works best when its driven from the top, and is part of the way we relate to one another no matter where we are in the company.”
• “Making the link between diversity and work life balance is critical.”
• “Recognising that contributing to our communities complements our diversity vision.”
• http://www.bredin.ab.ca/ImmigrantServices/Employment Preparation/Cultural Diversity in the Workplace.aspx