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Diversity: An Engineering Process

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering/Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.477.1 - 9.477.14



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Paper Authors

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Andre Sayles

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3470

Diversity: An Engineering Process Andre H. Sayles United States Military Academy West Point, NY 10996


Engineers often prefer to work with processes, particularly those that allow for assumptions, inputs, and outputs. Unfortunately, engineers seldom pursue diversity management as perhaps a secondary career field. In this paper, organizational diversity is represented by an engineering- like process having three primary phases and a supporting phase. The Leading Diversity Process Model (LDPM) is described by a modified pyramid with four parts defined as accepting differences, understanding differences, valuing differences, and role models. These same terms are often used in diversity conversations and literature; however, the current success story is derived from the manner in which the four components are defined and linked together to form a process. Like most engineering processes, the diversity model is receptive to creativity and innovation, along with standard problem-solving methodologies. Since July 2002, the LDPM has been presented to diverse audiences, including students, faculty, military leaders, and equal opportunity professionals. This paper offers an abbreviated discussion of the evolving description of each part of the model, followed by a brief summary of audience reaction to date.


Today, organizations and institutions continue to seek out creative ways to meet diversity goals and, in some cases, compete for small populations within particular ethnic and gender groups. However, innovative approaches to meeting diversity challenges have not included the notion that organizational diversity can be viewed as an engineering-like process. Instead, experts tend to focus only on particular aspects of diversity. Sociologists offer insights into the impact of equality and opportunity on various cultural groups in society. Linguists and psychologists have explained communication differences across ethnic and gender groups and the impact of those differences on work, school, and social environments. Historians describe how different groups have been treated over the years and how their contributions have shaped our nation. Diversity consultants offer analyses of different cultures and suggest the types of work environments that may or may not be appealing based on gender or ethnicity. Various segments of our population sponsor observances and other productions that promote both recognition and understanding of particular cultures. What is missing among all of these efforts is a process that offers a methodology for selecting, implementing, and assessing various diversity actions, activities, and programs.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Sayles, A. (2004, June), Diversity: An Engineering Process Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13440

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