Auditing a Website For Cultural Diversity
From Understanding and Managing Diversity by Harvey and Allard.
An important part of our course is researching information on diversity and multiculturalism and its social, cultural, and ethical impact upon individual citizens, groups of people, and society at large. In the twenty-first century, Web sites are an important channel of communication between organizations and their external stakeholders. If an organization is serious about its commitment to diversity, one would expect that this would be reflected in the design, content, and graphics of the Web site. Potential employees, customers, suppliers, etc., often turn first to a Web site before initiating interaction with an organization. If diversity is really integral to the mission and values of an organization, information on diversity should be easily accessible, informative, and well integrated into the Web site.
Select a specific company in an industry such as healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing government, education, sports, etc. Then, prepare a report on the following:
Evaluate how accessible diversity-related material is on this Web site. Is there a direct link from the home page? What type of results does entering the term “diversity” in a search box yield? Or, do you have to explore on your own? Sometimes searching under “careers” or “press releases” may produce some diversity-related results. On some Web sites, you will have to explore deeply into Web pages to find material related to diversity. What does this say about the organization’s commitment to diversity?
Evaluate the usefulness of the diversity information to potential employees, customers, and suppliers. Is the diversity material related to the organization’s business case for diversity, core values, mission, etc. the way that the organization does business? How current is the diversity-related material?
Evaluate the appropriateness of the photographs and graphic material that relates to diversity. Some Web sites will feature photographs of diverse employees and customers, yet not link this material to the verbal content. Some reuse the same pictures on different pages, etc.
Assume that you are a) a potential employee, b) a potential customer and c) a potential supplier or subcontractor. What perceptions might you have about this organization’s commitment to diversity based solely on the Web site? Looking at this Web site, do you think that it encourages or discourages diverse employees to apply for jobs in this organization? Why or why not?
What internal management issues can affect the prominence that diversity gets or doesn’t get on an organization’s Web site?
Are there any diversity awards listed on the Web site? If so, review the criteria and selection process as presented in the Allard article on awards (from the textbook) or if the award is not mentioned in that article. Evaluate the value of the award through the sponsoring organization’s Web site.
If you were a (female, over 55, racial minority, person with a physical challenge, gay or lesbian, etc.) job applicant and you have read an ad for job opening for which you are fully qualified. Based on your audit of the company web site what perceptions might you have of this company before you even walk in the door? Would you still apply for the job? Why or why not?
Your 4 relevant scholarly/peer reviewed sources may include your textbook and books and articles obtained through the library. Credible articles from news, government (.gov), or academic (.edu) websites can also be used; acceptable examples include NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Business Week.