This volume offers 14 essays focusing on Hispanics and equal opportunity issues in the U.S. work force. Written primarily by scholars in psychology and marketing, the essays draw on field studies and national census and survey data from the 1970s and 1980s. The collection addresses five major themes: diversity among Hispanic subgroups, labor market inequalities, available support systems, the role of Hispanic women, and Hispanic work experience in various organizational settings.
Aggregate measures and interpretation of data for the Hispanic population often conceal significant differentials among the various Hispanic subgroups. Arthur Cresce’s essay on Hispanic work force characteristics and Cordelia Reimers’ analysis of earnings and employment explore diversity among Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and Hispanics from Central and South America. Their findings of heterogeneity among the various subgroups highlight the importance of distinction by place of origin.
The interrelationship of ethnicity and labor market inequalities is investigated in chapters on acculturation, bias, employment discrimination, and stress. In a study of litigated cases of employment discrimination, Helen LaVan found that individuals of Hispanic origin differ from other national-origin cases on four issues. Hispanic-origin discrimination cases were more likely to involve issues of discipline and language and less likely to involve issues of discharge and promotion. LaVan concludes that in order to reduce litigated language and discipline cases, employers need to recognize the cultural diversity of their work force and offer employee and management training. In two chapters on support systems, Stephen Knouse, Jack Davis, and Eduardo Rodela investigate such programs, developed by a few companies to train supervisors to deal with special Hispanic problems and create innovative Hispanic mentoring programs.
Two important essays explore the role of Hispanic women and their unique work-related and psychological experiences. Denise Segura’s study of the work experience of Chicana clerical, cannery, and factory workers points to the “multi-dimensional ways gender, race-ethnicity, and class influence their life and work options” (p. 188). Alba Rivera-Ramos’ research on the psychological experience of Puerto Rican women at work documents the levels of stress generated by unequal treatment and the psychosomatic manifestations of this treatment. The book concludes with three studies of Hispanic work experiences in government and private organizations. The clearly written analyses and conclusions are exploratory. As the editors note, the goal of this collection is to lay the groundwork for future studies to examine these issues in more detail. The major contribution of this book is to serve as a “catalyst for inspiring new research on the increasingly important topic of Hispanics and work” (p. 4).