A Solution in Search of a Problem? Discrimination, Affirmative Action, and the New Governance*

Sally Coleman Selden, Domonic A. Bearfield, Lael R. Keiser, Sharon H. Mastracci

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The United States has pursued a more diverse workforce-first, through an emphasis on equal opportunity and, later, through affirmative action (AA) policies. Proponents of AA argue that remnants of race, ethnicity, and gender discrimination remain in hiring, promotion, and retention decisions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors of this nation. To opponents, however, AA can constitute reverse discrimination that is not needed, precisely because of the progress made to date in the antidiscrimination area. Interestingly, the perceptions of discriminatory treatment at work varied by group, but this time with Asian and African American workers reporting higher levels of perceived discrimination. Although the majority of empirical research demonstrates the positive impact of AA policies on educational and employment opportunities for minorities and women. The preceding review of prior public opinion, educational, employment, and discrimination research suggests that despite the gains achieved by women and minorities since the early 1960s, the challenges of eradicating discrimination in the workplace remain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDebating Public Administration
Subtitle of host publicationManagement Challenges, Choices, and Opportunities
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781351570077
ISBN (Print)9781466502369
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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