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Business Case Study: Diversity at Hewlett-Packard

Business Case Study: Diversity at Hewlett-Packard
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  • 0:03 About Hewlett-Packard
  • 1:17 HP's Diversity Program
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Loy

Dr. Loy has a Ph.D. in Resource Economics; master's degrees in economics, human resources, and safety; and has taught masters and doctorate level courses in statistics, research methods, economics, and management.

Hewlett-Packard's workplace diversity program is considered a model for other employers to follow. In this lesson, we look at how this pivotal part of HP's organization was developed and integrated into the company's corporate culture.

About Hewlett-Packard

After Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard graduated from Stanford University, both attended graduate school and eventually formed a famous partnership in Palo Alto, CA. In 1939, Hewlett-Packard (HP) began out of a garage with the creation of an audio oscillator. This is now considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley. Hewlett and Packard even created a new management style called management by walking around, where managers make an effort to stop by and talk with employees throughout the day to see how they are doing.

Over time, HP has created a multitude of products, including hardware and software products for businesses of all sizes. After various business ventures, including mergers and acquisitions, the company split into HP, Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in 2014. HP has used its global platform to tout environmental, ethical, and social ventures.

With more than $1 billion in revenue and 320,000 employees, HP has several employee-based programs. The company uses these to recruit top talent. One of its most well-known initiatives is its program for diversity, which grew out of the company's unique management style.

HP's Diversity Program

HP makes the business case for diversity. A company is diverse when it has employees of all ages, races, genders, religions, incomes, and disabilities. A huge part of being a global company like HP is recruiting employees with various strengths. HP's leaders believe that the more diverse the company, the more creative, efficient, and productive it will become.

As early as the 1960s, HP implemented equal-opportunity programs in an effort to create an environment free of workplace discrimination. By the 70s, the company was focused on proactive initiatives such as affirmative action, the practice of favoring groups who have experienced discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, and physically disabilities. In the 80s, HP wanted an inclusive workforce, and by the 90s, HP wanted to be seen for who it was, a globally diverse company. HP made it well known that its employees are valuable. After all, one of the company's seven corporate objectives is management.

HP's management by walking around created an open and trusting relationship between management and employees. The company even formalized this culture by calling it the HP Way. Five organizational values are at the heart of this culture.

They are:

  1. Trust and respect
  2. High level of achievement and contribution
  3. Uncompromising integrity
  4. Teamwork and flexibility
  5. Innovation

HP weaves diversity into each of its organizational values. The company touts the following as part of its diversity program:

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