Workplace Diversity: Fact or Fiction? Are today's corporate diversity programs truly effective? The concept of diversity goes well beyond the historical employment equity legislation enacted in both federal and local jurisdictions. Diversity calls for the recognition of the contributions that individuals can make as individuals, not just as members of legislatively designated groups. Diversity calls for management of organizations to be very inclusive, not just tolerating those who are different but also celebrating those differences. It calls for the opening of non-traditional occupations to men and women of all creeds, colors, religions, races and social groupings and for making reasonable accommodations the workplace and work life for this to happen. Diversity calls for diversity beyond just gender, race, or physical and intellectual abilities to include diversity in opinions, sexual preferences, social customs and mores, and other aspects of the variations in lives and lifestyles. (Conference Board of Canada. 1995, p. 1) .
There is a compelling generic business case for achieving and managing diversity in the workplace. Diversity can help organizations: identify and capitalize on opportunities to improve products and services; attract, retain, motivate and utilize human resources effectively; improve the quality of decision-making at all organizational levels; and reap the many benefits from being perceived as a socially conscious and progressive organization. These benefits should be manifested in an improved bottom line and maximization of shareholder value. (Gandz and Ivey, 2000) .
Achieving diversity does nothing for an organization unless that diversity is managed effectively. Diversity is not a natural thing for people of different cultural backgrounds, religious or moral upbringings, cognitive styles, or even genders, to communicate effectively, appreciate what shapes each other's viewpoints, debate with each other without giving offense, or otherwise get along together.