The purpose of this exercise is three-tiered: to compare your own cultural background (African American mother, Canadian father with Christian values) with that of others; to raise awareness of the importance of self-identity based on affiliations with groups; and to consider the influence of self-identity on individuals’ experiences in organizational settings.
Personal characteristics (some changeable, others not), which may influence an individual’s basic self-image and sense of identity, may also influence experiences in the workplace. Primary dimensions of diversity are essentially unchangeable personal characteristics (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and physical and mental abilities).
Secondary dimensions of diversity, however, are changeable personal characteristics that are acquired and may be modified or abandoned throughout life (e.g., education, income, marital and parental status, religion, political affiliation, and work experience). Of course, secondary characteristics are not completely self-determined; educational background, work experience, income, and marital status are affected by others’ decisions. However, people generally have more control over secondary dimensions of diversity than over primary dimensions.
Create a pie chart identifying group affiliations that have some importance in your self-concept. These affiliations may be based on any of the primary and secondary dimensions of diversity mentioned or on some other personal characteristic that is particularly important to you. Indicate the approximate importance of each group by the size of the slice of pie that you assign it.
** Write a summary of your answers to the following questions concerning your pie chart:
1. What did you learn about yourself?
2. What surprised you the most?
3. How does your self-identity influence your experiences in organizational settings?
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