Managing Diversity at Cityside Financial Services

Case Solution

Robin J. Ely, Ingrid Vargas
Harvard Business School ()

Cityside Financial Services, a consumer bank in disguise, serves both a predominantly African-American township and a wealthier, predominantly white clientele. To match the ethnic and gender composition of its employees with that of its customers, Cityside’s sales department implemented an aggressive positive action recruiting program. The program succeeded in increasing the proportion of women to 50% of all employees and of African Americans to 53% of middle managers and 25% of directors. Cityside operated a profitable business with high customer satisfaction rates, widely viewed as a successful business case model for diversity. Therefore, the bank’s leadership was surprised to see growing resentment and demoralization among its African-American employees.

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