Commentary: Celebrating Diversity Management

Published date01 November 2014
Date01 November 2014
Celebrating Diversity Management 789
Public Administration Review,
Vol. 74, Iss. 6, pp. 789–790. © 2014 by
The American Society for Public Administration.
DOI: 10.1111/puar.12292.
Nancy R. Hernandez serves as Deputy
Comptroller for the Division of Diversity
Programs in the New York State Off‌i ce of
the State Comptroller. She has worked in
New York State government on issues of
diversity and equal employment opportunity
for 10 years. Previously, she served as a
schoolteacher, a councilwoman in her
hometown, and a business owner for more
than 25 years.
Deborah D. Richards is an assistant
comptroller for the Division of Diversity
Programs in the New York State Off‌i ce of
the State Comptroller (OSC). Previously,
she was the Director of the Hearing
Administration and Matrimonial for the
New York State and Local Retirement
System. She has worked in New York State
government for more than 30 years. She
was a partner in a private law f‌i rm before
working for OSC.
Nonetheless, the article presents practical applica-
tions for us. It is encouraging to know that cross-
sectional analyses of diversity management strategies
can be useful, as longitudinal analyses are dif‌f‌i cult
to obtain and assess when managers and policies
change frequently. For example, a discrimination
complaint procedure may be changed when a new
manager takes over.  e change may be for the bet-
ter, but the dif‌f erences make it dif‌f‌i cult to compare
the ef‌f ects of previous experiences and f‌i ndings.  e
study uses data from a large group of federal agencies.
e f‌i ndings show that employees felt an increase in
cooperation, more satisfaction, and better-quality
work as a result of a commitment from managers to
a diverse workplace. Employee perception may be
subjective, but it is also essential, and these f‌i ndings
are heartening.
Oberf‌i eld’s article also refers to studies showing that
our work in the f‌i eld of diversity management can
produce valuable and useful changes in the workplace.
Diversity helps expand the variety of ideas, experi-
ences, and backgrounds that inform the workforce.
Diversity adds to the ability of an organization to
respond to challenges. More studies in the public sec-
tor, such as this one, will help us embrace and expand
diversity to better adapt to change and improve per-
formance in the workplace. When the understanding
of diversity’s impact becomes more generally known,
diversity managers will be sought out for guidance in
workplace decisions.
Zachary W. Oberf‌i eld’s article “Accounting for
Time: Comparing Temporal and Atemporal
Analyses of the Business Case for Diversity
Management” introduces some new considerations for
work in the f‌i eld of diversity management.
Upon initial reading, the study appeared to have little
relevance to our actual work in the diversity f‌i eld.  e
article uses diversity management as a business case
to examine whether the passage of time changes the
understanding of management strategies.  e results
of the study are not intended to provide guidance
to diversity management professionals but rather
to assess whether incorporating temporal analysis
into the study of public management generally will
improve our understanding of the ef‌f ects of manage-
ment actions.
e case study f‌i ndings are limited to the cultural
side of diversity management—certainly an impor-
tant focus of New York State Comptroller  omas
DiNapoli’s Division of Diversity Programs. We create
and promote programs and initiatives to encourage
inclusiveness as well as to foster communication.
However, our mission, “to establish and maintain a
work environment that provides equal opportunity
and access, embraces diversity, and values the con-
tributions and talents of all . . . employees,” is also
heavily focused on recruitment and promotional
opportunities and policies, which are not part of
this study.
Celebrating Diversity Management
Nancy R. Hernandez
Deborah D. Richards
Off‌i ce of the New York State Comptroller

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