Affirmative action refers to enlisting policies that take care of factors like color, race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality and or gender of people in provision of services. It is widely used in certain areas like employment, education, and business among others. This paper discusses affirmative action in employment in general and in a case study of Boeing Company in particular.
History and Relevancy of Affirmative Action in Employment
Affirmative action in employment was introduced by President John F. Kennedy across the United States in 1961 through Executive Order number 10925 (Golland, 2011). The executive order gave directions to federal contractors to ensure that affirmative action is applied during employment. Applicants are treated equally without discrimination in terms of their color, race, gender, nationality, etc (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2012). To improve an affirmative action, President Lyndon B. Johnson endorsed another executive order number 11246 requiring employers to take affirmative action when contracting people without any form of discrimination (Golland, 2011). Gender was also indicated in the anti-discrimination list in the year 1967. Since then, several states and companies have taken into consideration the need to use affirmative action in employment.
The introduction and use of affirmative action in employment is very relevant in the current society. It is essential for good race or ethnic relations in the work place that have suffered due to discriminations. Such undertaking shows a liberal vision of an inclusive society with opportunities for everyone regardless of any factor.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Affirmative Action in Employment
Pierce (2012) explains that affirmative action in employment is expected to have several strengths as it promotes equality in the available opportunities for specific groups in the society. It ensures that the marginal groups within the society are incorporated in all plans. The ruling classes of the society thus have an opportunity to pay back for the precedent prejudice, maltreatment or exploitation they were exposed to. Indeed affirmative action in employment gives equal opportunities for all, hence promotes mutual working. Affirmative action also ensures that organizations or companies get diverse pool of applicants for every open position (Pierce, 2012). It results in a variety of skills incorporated in the work place, hence high effectiveness and productivity levels.
Besides the overwhelming strengths, affirmative action in employment has some notable weaknesses. Discrimination in the process of hiring employees is very difficult to classify and regulate. Affirmative action in employment thus has some notable weaknesses. It uses race, sex, or ethnicity to lend a hand to certain people that were disadvantaged in the past (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2012). For example, when two people are qualified for a specific job in a company, preference can be done based on various parameters. This indeed can give a push to discrimination against other people. In such way, a group of people get help while others are hurt (Lipson, 2005).
Pierce (2012) cites that affirmative action in work related settings can provoke hostility among the group of employees who did not benefit directly. This can be detrimental to an affirmative action employee and lower his/her performance. The non-beneficiary group may look down upon the beneficiaries and thus little or no interaction at all may exist between them. This can result in less team work, hence, the quality of output can be affected negatively.
Current Trends of Affirmative Action in Employment
The public has generally supported affirmative action in employment in recent years, but opposed the need to favor the minorities. However, in the past they have fully supported both. For example, between the years 1995 and 2007, more whites in America supported affirmative action programs. In particular, 65% of whites up from 53% in the earlier years supported such programs in 2007. Less support is currently recorded for the programs supporting minority groups. From then, organizations and companies have been keen to implement affirmative action in employment. They have developed strategies to execute such programs to ensure equality and fairness to all applicants and employees.
Outcomes of Boeing’s Employment Affirmative Actions
The company has a policy on equal employment opportunity that forbids discrimination based on factors like race, gender, sex and nationality among many others. The policy is universal and applies to recruitment of employees, as well as their transfers, promotions and general work ethics. The company is obligated to apply affirmative action to encourage the employment of the diverse groups of the society. Such actions are laid out every year to ensure that equal employment to all is adhered to in line with the policies of the company.
Boeing’s affirmative action policy has brought some notable outcomes. First, the company has been able to employ diversified professionals and specialists from diverse backgrounds and origins. This has lead to integration of knowledge and skills, hence production of high quality goods. In fact, thanks to the cultural diversity and equal employment for all, the team work became much more effective.
To continue, thanks to the affirmative action employed, working environment has been upgraded to an extent that it values and accepts multiple experiences coupled with capabilities into all practices and processes. This, in turn, has allowed the company to produce high quality products. Such an environment of equal employment opportunities ensures that employees give their full potential to the benefit of Boeing Company.
In conclusion, affirmative action in employment though takes its roots in the US history, becomes very important in the employment sector in our days. Indeed it has brought equality and fairness in employment to all the people, as well as many benefits to the companies that have such policy.