Why Deloitte & Touche made Diversity Inc’s Top 50 list.

03/04/2009
Deloitte Office Building in Downtown Chicago
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Deloitte and Touche has a CEO in Barry Salzberg that values and models diversity internally and externally (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm). He chairs and manages an internal diversity council (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm). He is connected with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and other diversity oriented nonprofits (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm). He supports diversity in his executives by tying compensation to the promotion of diversity (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm). He is quoted here:

“Building and sustaining an inclusive culture has been critical to Deloitte’s growth and will play an important role in our continued success. Clients expect it, new recruits want it and our people demand it. Most importantly, our culture of inclusion has a direct impact on the organization’s ability to set the standard of excellence in the marketplace.” (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm)

They hire a diverse worker body, and support diverse employee resource groups, such as LGBT groups and employees with disabilities (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm). “Thirty-two percent of its work force and 41 percent of its new hires were Black, Asian, Latino or Native American” (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm)

This company respects its employees. They promote a work/life balance, have strong metrics to support productivity and goals, and provides support (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm).

They have a mentoring program in which 75% of managers participate (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm).

They also have a Chief Diversity Officer, Allen Thomas, who is quoted here:

Diversity and inclusion is tightly woven into Deloitte’s fabric. We’ve accomplished this by setting a clear and decisive tone at the top and demonstrating leadership’s unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive culture that provides opportunities for all of our professionals to succeed. In addition, our active support of Deloitte’s Business Resource Groups and their members across the country is a daily display of our commitment to the diversity of our people. (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3294.cfm)

DiversityInc devises it’s top 50 most diverse companies “by metrics obtained in a detailed survey of more than 200 questions” (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3273.cfm).

Any company with over 1,000 U.S. employees can request and recieve the free survey (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3273.cfm).

Some more details on the methodology of choosing the top 50:

four areas the survey measures: CEO Commitment, Human Capital, Corporate and Organizational Communications, and Supplier Diversity. Companies are assessed within the context of their industries, geography and employee skill sets. Any company that does not offer domestic-partner health benefits is automatically excluded from the Top 50 and the 11 specialty lists (http://www.diversityinc.com/public/3273.cfm).

I think that Deloitte and Touche is regarded as a top company in terms of diversity because the structure of the leadership (e.g. a Chief Diversity Officer) as well as a CEO who supports and models diversity encourage that behavior. If the leadership provides the path, the carrot, and the stick, intrinsic valence of the idea in employees is probably not far behind, especially if it helps people, helps the company, and helps the world.

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New Search Technologies Mine the Web More Deeply – NYTimes.com

02/23/2009
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In terms of convergence, the whole of shared knowledge, and collective intelligence, Google is cutting themselves off from the “Deep Web” — the trillion databases of information that remain untapped as sources of information, cross information, and potentially, artificial intelligence:

Beyond those trillion pages lies an even vaster Web of hidden data: financial information, shopping catalogs, flight schedules, medical research and all kinds of other material stored in databases that remain largely invisible to search engines.

The challenges that the major search engines face in penetrating this so-called Deep Web go a long way toward explaining why they still can’t provide satisfying answers to questions like “What’s the best fare from New York to London next Thursday?” The answers are readily available — if only the search engines knew how to find them.

via New Search Technologies Mine the Web More Deeply – NYTimes.com.

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Case One Response (COMM 564 Ebo)

02/23/2009
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CASE STUDY NUMBER ONE

Picture this scenario: You’re just returning from your lunch break when your boss walks up to you and tells you to pack your belongings. You’re fired. You stammer for an explanation. Did you mishandle an important project? Were you accused of embezzling company funds?

No. It’s because you’re fat.

Of course, immediately, I need to know some more clarifying information.

How do I know that I am being fired for what I’ll call obesity? What in my job requires that I must be of ‘normal’ weight? What is normal weight? Are we using a formula? Am I a dancer? Am I a model? Am I an athlete who needs to be in top physical shape to stay focused? Am I a trash person, who must be able to hang on to the back of a truck without fear of a quick turn? Is it part of a contract? Has anything actually been said to indicate that obesity was in fact the reason? The company is held, generally speaking, to a standard that prevents discrimination according to weight, which in this case might be coded as a disability.
I don’t think the case would stand very long in court or even be considered unless there is some factor which is not revealed in the case study, such as one of the scenarios I mentioned above, e.g. dancing, modeling, or some other work activity that requires the worker’s body to be of a certain fitness in order to do the work well. In this case, special care would have to be taken in the work agreement to measure what an ideal body was proportionally, in weight, and in tone, so that an objective analysis of the worker’s body could be shown to be outside of the margins of allowance. Otherwise, the scenario is akin to prejudice, in that bodily fitness has no impact of knowledge work, but may indeed be seen as having an impact on kinetic work.

I’d also add that I do not see it as very fair nor reasonable, even given a contract, that there not be an opportunity to make things right in the eyes of the contract. How many pounds out of the allowance are we? 20 pounds? 10? 10 pounds could be reasonably lost with a fitness and caloric regimen in 5 to 10 weeks. Can the work be held for that long? Is there some other task that the obese employee could do in the meantime?

John LeMasney

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Crossing a line with Live streaming?

02/14/2009
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A new father decided to stream the birth of his child on the internet, and some blogs following the story are asking if it ‘crosses a line’? I wonder, since there, again, is no editing going on in the blogosphere, whether it matters if it crosses a line. Perhaps a better question would be, how will this new found empowerment of consumer turned producer sans editor affect the ways in which we consider what is objectionable in the media. That is, when we are the media.

Leaving aside the fact that Branch ignored the advice of the attending nurse, who asked him to turn it off (many hospitals prohibit any video taping in surgery rooms for malpractice reasons), doesn’t this make you cringe just a little bit? There’s no question that everyone has the right to determine how far he or she wants to go in sharing their private lives on the internet, but I imagine a lot of people will deem live streaming a child’s birth inappropriate. Are there no private moments left anymore?
Address : http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/13/another-baby-birth-streamed-live-does-this-cross-a-line/
Date Visited: Fri Feb 13 2009 20:19:30 GMT-0500 (EST)

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Video: “Plane crashed a few blocks from my house. I filmed it.” – Boing Boing

02/13/2009
YouTube, LLC
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In our classroom talks about producer/consumer relationships, top down/bottom up media, and unedited releases, there are lots of issues with that lack of editing. For example, here, on one of my favorite blogs, boingboing, there is was a video posted of the Buffalo plane crash to YouTube. There is something to be said for the timestamp of the upload, which is approximately the same time that the major networks broke the news, which brings into question the power of the networks to report any faster than, well, you. However, the other thing that rises very quickly to the forefront is whether an editor (a traditional editor who is afraid of lawsuits, loss of readership, etc.) would post the same video. There are some critiques of this blog for doing just that in the discussion after the video, which is no longer available, because youtube removed it.

Isn’t boingboing supposed to the directory of wonderful things? What’s so wonderful about posting videos of plane crashes? And I’m not even going into the ethics/motivation of doing this either. After all, there is nothing to be learned/understood by watching or posting this video. Just some shaky footage.

via Video: “Plane crashed a few blocks from my house. I filmed it.” – Boing Boing.

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Obama’s Latest Pick for DOJ is RIAA Lawyer Who Killed Grokster and Sued Jammie Thomas – ReadWriteWeb

02/06/2009
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This is an interesting story considering the copyright issues that are being brought into the spotlight by bottom-up creators and convergence in general. I’m an avid supporter of creative commons licensed media, and so I don’t really see the threat of this affecting me directly as a content producer, but I can certainly see those who want to abuse or abuse copyrighted material being potentially upset by this. In the middle, though, there are the people who want to simply make a copy of a DVD they bought as a backup, which many of these legal representatives might have a big problem with, and that does concern me. Moreover, freeing media is definitely something I’m for as a consumer.

DSLReports notes that Obama’s own ethics rules would prohibit these appointees from directly working on copyright issues, as they previously represented the entertainment industry in these cases, but it is somewhat disconcerting that the Obama administration would pick so many industry insiders for these positions. We would have hoped that the administration had chosen a set of appointees with a more progressive attitude towards copyright.

via Obama’s Latest Pick for DOJ is RIAA Lawyer Who Killed Grokster and Sued Jammie Thomas – ReadWriteWeb.

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Google Latitude

02/04/2009

So this is pretty crazy — Google is releasing Latitude, a way of seeing where other people are via cellphone GPS if they allow you to (and vice versa, of course). Given the conversations we’ve had in classes about the erosion of privacy, the use of cellphone devices as an extension of the senses, and the idea that we are always and forever connected and ‘on’, this is an interesting development from the major player.

Google Latitude

See where your friends are in real time!

Enjoy Google Latitude on your phone, computer, or both.

Start using it on your phone

See your friends’ locations and status messages and share yours with them.

via Google Latitude.