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Shifting Diversity Perspectives and New Avenues for Representative Bureaucracy

Author: NICOLE M. RISHEL ELIAS
Published in PAQ, Vol. 37 No. 3

This work explores the meaning of diversity for bureaucratic representation. In light of the United States becoming an increasingly racially and ethnically diverse society, attitudes and approaches toward diversity are likewise shifting. It is important to consider the way we think and talk about diverse representation, which in turn, contributes to different actions and policies within federal agencies. To evaluate this process of meaning-making, federal policy seeking to increase representation in the following Executive Orders: 13078, 13163, 13171, 13518, 13548, and 13585 is analyzed. Prime emphasis is devoted to the most recent and comprehensive efforts, Executive Order 13583: Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce issued on August 18, 2011 and the Government-wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. This research demonstrates significant implications for management and governance, particularly in the text, discursive practice, and social practice surrounding the meaning of “diversity” purported for the federal bureaucracy.

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