Ethics and Workplace Diversity: The Philosophy of Loyalty

According to Alicia Kenyon, “Diversity in the workplace strives to make people of all socio-economic backgrounds feel comfortable working within the organization” it also helps the organization “promote equal opportunities among all employees” by suggested that individuals are rewarded based on merit and not based on “race, gender or creed.”

In that case, Josiah Royce‘s philosophy of loyalty would support a company’s desire to establish workplace diversity standards, not only to meet equal opportunity employment guidelines, but encourage employee morale and performance quality. Royce’s philosophy of loyalty defines loyalty as “the willing and practical and thoroughgoing devotion of a person to a cause.”

workplace diversity

If one were to support this philosophy in the workplace, one could argue that standards for promotion that reward individuals who have proven their loyalty to the organization by producing successful outputs are beneficial to the continued success of the organization.  That being said, offering promotions based on standards that are not ruled by loyalty (such as race, gender, or creed) would not benefit the financial “bottom line” since this would have a negative effect on loyalty among employees (since morale would lower) and have a direct effect on the quality of outputs.

Eric Peterson, the diversity manager at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), suggests that there has been a recent trend among U.S. companies to make a push for diversity. In an article published via National Public Radio, Peterson says, “We discovered that people who took diversity really seriously were succeeding at a rate their competitors weren’t.”

According to Peterson, in the 1980s, companies found that “good employees wanted to work for companies that they were proud of” and management realized that “it’s necessary for their long-term prosperity.”

Having proven the value of diversity in the medium- to large-business environment, it stands to reason that companies would make an effort to improve workplace diversity and increase employee loyalty to the company. Once employees are loyal to the firm, and proud of the place they work, the company will experience long-term benefits both internally and externally since today’s consumer is more likely to support a company which it perceives is “diverse as it relates to the broad definition of ethical behavior.

In this instance, it could be argued that workplace diversity, supported by the philosophy of loyalty, is a response to public pressures placed on companies by external stakeholders. This would not only include government regulators, but potential consumers and stockholders, as well as the competition that is comparing their diversity program to another company in an effort to highlight its ethical standards by trumping the actions of another.

What do you think? Would you want to be a part of a company that didn’t place a great deal of emphasis on workplace diversity and promoting loyal employees who perform above and beyond the level of their co-workers?  I think we can all agree that one would be hard pressed to find someone who would argue against workplace diversity, but I would be very interested in hearing from someone who has experienced the benefits of diversity in the workplace firsthand.

Suggested Reading

  • Forbes | Are Your Employees Engaged?
  • Sahakian, W. S. (1966). “Ideas of the great philosophers. Part two: Ethics and Philosophies of Life.” Barnes & Nobles, Inc. 31-55.
  • HR.com | Concierge Services Remain Strong: Enhancing Employee Loyalty Drives the Bottom Line

Yasheaka Oakley Owens

Yasheaka Oakley Owens is the owner of YOakleyPR, a woman-owned small business that provides public relations, social media, and online marketing support services to small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware.

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