How Structural Racism Affects Corporate Culture

Photo by Sean Pollock on Unsplash

Work is underway to lobby states and the federal government for reparations and an apology for historical oppression, slavery, and discrimination. These reparations are desirable and welcome, but there is still an undercurrent of structural racism within a culture in general and corporate culture in particular. Identifying and acting on corporate racism has many desirable outcomes.   

Reduction in Creativity 

Whether it is the effect of structural racism inside an it service, poor gender balance, or diversity inclusion issues, a lack of diversity can reduce creativity and, therefore, productivity. Since the goal of any business is to increase its wealth and status, structural racism is a core problem. 

That said, productivity is not the only reason we need to root out prejudice and discrimination; doing so creates an inclusive and happier working environment that ultimately leads to better outcomes. According to psychologists, companies need to move away from unilateral thinking.  

Toxic Work Cultures 

Whether it is prejudice in the form of comments and micro-aggressions or discrimination in the form of reduced job opportunities, structural racism creates a toxic work culture that leads to productivity issues in the workforce and branding issues that reduces the public’s engagement. 

Whether it is in the hiring process or higher up the pay scale, more than half of black employees say they have experienced some form of structural racism that has affected their well-being and performance. This means there is more than just ethics at stake when it comes to inclusion.    

Staff Health Issues 

Structural racism could be described as a kind of disease by itself, something that needs to be diagnosed and treated if it exists within a corporate culture. However, this “disease” also has symptoms in the form of mental, physical, and emotional hardship that leads to more sick leave. 

Discrimination in the workplace affects the mental health and well-being of black employees; the result is a workforce that is more shut down and less creative. Employees who experience stress and mental health issues start to affect the morale of the company and the bottom line.     

PR and Litigation 

Employees are not only necessary for business productivity but they are also needed to advocate for the company. In turn, this creates a positive brand image that encourages people and clients to engage with the organization. Conversely, unhappy employees spread the word. 

When a business has an issue with structural racism, it’s not long before local media outlets start to publish stories. In a short time, a company with any form of structural racism can be outed in the community resulting in major PR issues and potential litigation when the pushback begins.   

Brand Building 

While structural racism can be viewed as a cumulative disease leading to the untimely demise of an organization, the opposite can also be true. When a company has a non-discrimination policy or an anti-racist policy, these stories are also picked up. Word spreads about the attention and efforts happening within a corporate culture which helps to grow status and brand image. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.