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If American business has been talking the language of diversity for over 20 years, why do we still hear shocking complaints of ethnic mistreatment and cultural misunderstanding? Business author Susan Klopfer asked this question after gathering diversity-related stories for her newest ebook, Cash In On Diversity; How Getting Along With Others Pays Off.
Klopfer, a civil rights author, journalist and professional book editor, is a storyteller and her ebook’s characters reveal unfortunate accounts of “what still goes on in far too many business environments, even when we’re told through corporate messages via countless blogs, seminars, speeches, books and videos that major diversity issues have long been settled.”
One of Klopfer’s stories focuses on a young man who wears tasseled shoes to work and is fired by a major pharmaceutical company because he doesn’t “fit in”; another, of an Island woman who is expected to cook a special meal every year so her cohorts can experience “true” diversity; and, still another story tells about a new employee who is asked to “set up” a “real quick diversity program” (“maybe write a blog or put up a Facebook page”) so the company will look good to its African American customers. “Try win a diversity prize!” his boss commands.
Cash In On Diversity blends practical experience with academic findings and provides do-able solutions, along with a diversity and psychology FAQ contributed by a social and clinical psychologist. Adding value to this easy-to-read 12-chapter ebook is a discussion of five common diversity mistakes companies frequently make, like seeking “one size fits all” training and solutions.
Readers also benefit from a specific tips for communicating with non-native speakers, as well as a unique diversity questionnaire, and an 11-Point Organizational Diversity Analysis. Also featured is the script from Klopfer’s popular diversity webinar, followed by a complete glossary of critical diversity terms (from Abrahamic religions to xenophobia). “When we have a better grasp of diversity terms, we can really understand current problems and then have a better chance of solving them,” Klopfer, a communication specialist, asserts.
In doing her informal research, the diversity author noticed that big businesses often do no better than small organizations when it comes to really understanding diversity, and making use of its benefits. “Too often, culturally naive business managers, even in large, sophisticated organizations, lead their companies into losing millions of dollars in lost opportunities due to problems stemming from simple cultural misunderstandings, which can lead to the mismanagement of employees. Just look at the lawsuits.”
Miscommunication and a lack of cross-cultural understanding are two main barriers organizations face when it comes to working globally, Klopfer states. “In an increasingly aggressive global business environment, there’s no time for the misinterpretation and blunders that result from failing to recognize and understand each other’s values.”
Klopfer holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University and an undergraduate degree in Communication from Hanover College. A former journalist and technical writer, she is the author of an alternate book selection for the Book of-the-Month Club (Abort! Retry! Fail!) and worked as a computer book development and acquisitions editor for Prentice Hall. Klopfer recently lived in the Mississippi Delta where she wrote two civil rights history books, including the story of Emmett Till. From this experience, she became interested in diversity management and chose to blend her journalism, business and civil rights experiences and knowledge. Klopfer resides in Gallup, New Mexico where she recently opened a vintage and southwestern gallery.

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