Prejudice Against Certain Groups in Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

As the definition by Black's Law Dictionary emphasizes, prejudice simply means, at least in part, a "partiality" for one reason or another. It seems reasonable to posit that most human resource directors as "partial" towards candidates with superior qualifications in preference to those who do not possess such qualification, just as it is reasonable to posit that a job candidate with a proven track record would likely be a superior candidate to one who job history is replete with terminations by reason of embezzlement or corporate malfeasance.

Furthermore, prejudice in this context is conducive to efficiency in the workplace because it just makes good business sense to rely on one's professional experience and expertise in formulating hiring decisions where all other factors may be equal. Indeed, this is a fundamental part of the human condition and is an inescapable element in the manner in which people go about conducting their day-to-day lives. In fact, it is unlikely that people could function at all without some type of prejudices that help them navigate the rigors of their daily lives otherwise. In this regard, Griffin and O'Leary-Kelly (2004) emphasize that, "People hold stereotypes or schemata regarding groups and fall back on these cognitive structures in their perceptions and evaluations of individual members of these groups. The affective component consists of the emotional reactions to members of a group, which can exist in a variety of forms but is usually associated with prejudice" (142). This means that not all prejudices -- or stereotypes for that matter -- are negative but are rather extrapolations of what is known or believed about a given group that is extended to a member of that group. This also means that unlike racial profiling, for example, where people are looking for certain characteristics that define a criminal element, prejudice in this context can be viewed as preferring members of a certain group over another for other and potentially valid reasons. For instance, human resource directors might well be prejudiced in favor of hiring veterans of the military service because their past experience with these individuals that found them highly disciplined, well trained and confident as a group, or they might be prejudiced in favor of a Phi Beta Kappa because of their proven academic achievements, or they might be prejudiced in favor of candidates with master's degree in favor of those without. This does not necessarily make such prejudices wrong or misguided or illegal, it just means they are based on previous experience that everyone relies upon in making their day-to-day decisions.

There are clear guidelines set out in federal and state law concerning what prejudice is in the workplace and what is acceptable and what is not. There is no law in the land, though, that can dictate how a professional human resource director's intuition should behave as long as it does not violate these laws to the contrary. As a result, a danger arises, though, when prejudices in favor on something tend to also result in prejudices against something based on prohibited factors such as gender, age, race or religion. Because human resource directors, like everyone else in a decision-making capacity, must rely on imperfect information in their day-to-day workplace activities (Stein, 2003), some type of prejudice in favor of something may be inevitable when it comes to making some types of decisions and are deemed acceptable and appropriate provided they do not violate the law of the land in the process.

Works Cited

Black's Law Dictionary. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co., 1991.

De Meuse, Kenneth P., Eau Claire and K.S. O'Neill. 2007. "A Longitudinal Evaluation of Senior Managers' Perceptions and Attitudes of a Workplace Diversity Training Program."

Human Resource Planning 30(2): 38-40.

Griffin, Ricky W. And Anne M. O'Leary-Kelly. The Dark Side of Organizational Behavior. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.

Matthews, Audrey. 1998. "Diversity: A Principle of Human Resource Management."…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Black's Law Dictionary. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co., 1991.

De Meuse, Kenneth P., Eau Claire and K.S. O'Neill. 2007. "A Longitudinal Evaluation of Senior Managers' Perceptions and Attitudes of a Workplace Diversity Training Program."

Human Resource Planning 30(2): 38-40.

Griffin, Ricky W. And Anne M. O'Leary-Kelly. The Dark Side of Organizational Behavior. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.

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