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Supporting Women’s Career Advancement

Challenges and Opportunities

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

This book documents the progress that managerial and professional women have made in advancing their careers, and the challenges and opportunities that remain. In the context of increasing numbers of women entering the workplace and indeed pursuing professional and managerial careers, it examines why so few women occupy the top positions in corporations.
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Chapter 13: Marketing diversity in the corporate workplace

Leslie Levin


Leslie Levin INTRODUCTION When people think about marketing, they often imagine commercials that tout the benefits of toothpaste, detergent, cars or other consumer products. But marketing encompasses much more than advertising and products do not have to be tangible objects. Products can be anything offered to the market for use or consumption that might satisfy a need. Politicians, tourist destinations, religious institutions, and even organizations (Kotler and Armstrong, 1997) that promote controversial ideas, such as the National Rifle Association, or Planned Parenthood, engage in marketing activities. Diversity is an idea that corporations have been trying to market to internal and external consumers for the last two decades due to changing demographics, the need for talented employees, and the apparent advantages of a diverse workforce. One of the key challenges that companies face is how to attract and retain internal and external consumers, their employees and customers, respectively, in an increasingly diverse marketplace. To their customers, companies aggressively market their products to build brand loyalty and revenues. To their current and prospective employees, companies market their benefits and development programs to become an ‘employer of choice’ (The Conference Board, 2001). The focus of this chapter is on internal consumers, and on how managers can effectively market diversity programs to their own employees. The case for diversity has been made by numerous scholars across many disciplines. Those promoting the economic case for a diverse workforce emphasize a company’s increased productivity; reduced operating costs due to lower absenteeism and turnover;...

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