Through the year 2005, the Labor Department estimates that half of all labor force entrants will be women. In addition, a third of the labor force will be African American, and the working population is aging along with the country ("Gender"). Our increasingly diverse society is reflected in our growing work force diversity. As this dramatic shift to a highly diverse work force continues, employees must embrace and capitalize on their differences. The cultural backgrounds and experiences of diverse employees can deeply enrich organizations, making them more innovative and globally competitive. Realizing the benefits of diversity means the diversity challenge through self-awareness and commitment. Hidden resentments and misconceptions can impact company productivity, profitability, and most important, employee motivation and satisfaction ("Seminars"). In order to hire and promote the best and brightest, it will be progressively more necessary for qualified workers to have critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking is an important survival skill for companies. Craig Hassel, of the University of Minnesota defines critical thinking as "the process of thinking about one's thinking, a conscious evaluation of one's thought. Critical thinking can be understood as a way of becoming aware of and taking control of one's own thinking processes in order to think more effectively. It is consciously directing one's thinking to make it more rational, clear, accurate, and consistent (Basal). In essence this means moving away from what is familiar and comfortable and what of us have come to trust; moving into relationships with those who are not similar in outward appearance, thinking, styles, and personalities. It means moving beyond the personal barriers of gender, age, race, religion, stereotyping, with ethnocentricity, or whatever hinders one from sound decisions, right choices, and taking the appropriate actions (s).