Local Government Diversity Initiatives in Oregon

DOI10.1177/0160323X12439475
AuthorMasami Nishishiba
Published date01 April 2012
Date01 April 2012
Subject MatterResearch Notes
Research Notes
Local Government Diversity
Initiatives in Oregon: An
Exploratory Study
Masami Nishishiba
1
Abstract
Recognition of cultural changes in the US workforce has prompted many public sector organizations
to take action to increase diversity and cultural awareness. Specific characteristics of diversity
initiatives in local government organizations are not well documented. In this study, interviews were
conducted with representatives from eleven local governments in the Willamette Valley region in
Oregon. Through thematic analysis of the interview transcripts and other documents, this study
catalogues types of diversity activities conducted by local governments and identifies key factors in
the development and successful implementation of diversity initiatives.
Keywords
diversity development, diversity management, interview, local government
Introduction
Recognition of demographic and cultural
changes in communities and the workforce
have prompted governmental organizations
across the United States to adopt more inclu-
sive approaches to diversity (Riccucci 2002).
Local governments are on the frontlines of this
trend. There are nearly 90,000 local govern-
ments in the United States, employing more
people and providing more direct services than
other levels of government, and they are ‘‘the
most likely point of contact between govern-
ment and citizen’’ (Newell 2004, 1). Many
local governments have launched initiatives
and programs to promote and manage diversity
(e.g., Herna´ndez, Brown, and Tien 2007;
Dobbs 1996; Reichenberg 2001; Chambers and
Riccucci 1997).
This study explores diversity development
and management initiatives in local govern-
ment by interviewing government officials
involved in diversity efforts at eleven local
governments in the Portland metropolitan area
and Willamette Valley in the state of Oregon.
The following questions guided the research:
(1) What types of activities are conducted by
local governments in their diversity develop-
ment and management initiatives? (2) What
factors affect the progress of local government
diversity development and management
initiatives? (3) What recommen dations can be
drawn for future diversity development and
management initiatives? Interview results
address these questions and provide a basis to
1
Divisionof Public Administration, PortlandState University,
Portland, OR,USA
Corresponding Author:
Masami Nishishiba, Division of Public Administration,
Portland State University, 506 SW Mill Street, Portland, OR
97201, USA
Email: nishism@pdx.edu
State and Local GovernmentReview
44(1) 55-66
ªThe Author(s) 2012
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DOI: 10.1177/0160323X12439475
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