Building a multicultural organisation: A conceptual model for organisational change in the 21st century

Jake Beniflah, Executive Director, Center for Multicultural Science and Julie Veloz, Vice President, Diversity Intelligence & Strategy, Interpublic Group of Companies

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Abstract: Over the next 50 years, several factors are expected to change the composition and size of the US labour market, most notably: (1) the growing number of baby boomers retiring from the workforce, (2) the stabilisation of women’s participation in the workforce, and (3) increasing racial and ethnic diversity. With higher population growth, fertility and workforce participation rates, the US multicultural population is projected to account for a much larger proportion of the US workforce in the decades to come. The degree to which corporate America is able to maximise productivity and manage cultural diversity effectively will not only impact workforce participation, but also economic output. This paper proposes a conceptual framework for cultural diversity to help corporations manage their increasingly diverse workforce and help transform their companies into multicultural organisations to better serve their diverse employees — and their consumers. The paper outlines a robust toolkit, arguing that companies must take a comprehensive approach to address the lack of diversity in corporate America rather than launch ‘diversity and inclusion’ initiatives, as many have recently done. Future research and discussions on this topic are warranted.


Keywords: multicultural organisation; multiculturalism; organisational change; competitive advantage; cultural diversity; diversity and inclusion; management


Jake Beniflah is the executive director of the Center for Multicultural Science, the first non-partisan, non-profit US think tank dedicated to bridging the gap between academia and corporations in multicultural marketing. He has spent 25 years working with leading marketing organisations to drive return on investment for Hispanic and mainstream consumers in senior-level positions in the advertising industry. His areas of expertise include consumer insights, cognition and brand strategy. Dr Beniflah is also the founding editor of this journal. He received his doctorate in business administration from Golden Gate University in 2010.


Julie Veloz is the Vice President of Diversity Intelligence and Strategy for the Interpublic Group of Companies, a global leader in marketing solutions, employing more than 50,000 diverse and talented individuals worldwide. Julie is a subject matter expert in learning and development, diversity and inclusion, and organisational change. Her work has appeared in such publications as Forbes, Adweek, AdAge and Shark Tank with Daymond John, among others.


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