Case Study: Georgia-Pacific Corporation—Bridging Cultures, Leveraging DifferencesJan 27, 2005
Georgia-Pacific Corporation’s comprehensive diversity initiative, Bridging Cultures, Leveraging Differences, shifted to a more strategic business approach in 2001, following a major acquisition that advanced the business plan to a more consumer- and customer-focused strategy. The acquisition launched a rigorous plan to bridge the cultures and leverage the knowledge and talents of employees in the company’s diverse business units.
These goals are achieved by 1) establishing and frequently communicating a solid business case for diversity; 2) creating the diversity-of-thought concept, which uses diversity as a mechanism to understand and leverage industry, functional, and demographic differences within the organization; 3) a network of individuals and teams that provide vision, role modeling, and tactical solutions for the initiative; and 4) a set of programmatic components and accountability mechanisms that ensure all employees receive the developmental and promotional opportunities they deserve. Georgia-Pacific uses these mechanisms to increase the representation of women in the pipeline and at senior levels.
As a result, representation of women at the most senior level (generally, executive vice president) increased from 9 percent in 2001 to 29 percent in 2004. During this same period, representation of women at the president/vice president level increased from 11 percent to 17 percent, and at the senior director/director/controller level from 22 percent to 30 percent.