Diversity in Space

Topic(s): diversity

Topic: Diversity
Publication: Human Resource Management
Article:  Making Space For Everyone at NASA/ Goddard Space Flight Center using dialogue to break through barriers. 
Blogger: Rob Stilson

The Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has been striving to become a more diverse workplace for several years. This article outlines some of the specific initiatives taken by the GSFC.

The three areas highlighted in the article are The Diversity Dialogue Project (DDP), diversity education and training, and Goddard Opportunities Bulletin Board System (GOBBS). The DDP is a program where employees are broken into small groups and discuss topics like religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, family status, immigration, work, and communication styles. These sessions are supposed to be open and candid, however it seems to me that being too candid on any one of these subjects could easily be career ending. It would be interesting to learn more about exactly how the confidentiality is handled.

The GOBBS is a system that makes people who would not normally be tagged for a project more visible. Employees can put their information (such as a specialty) into the system and when managers and supervisors need to put together a team for a project, everyone whose profile contains the keywords for the project will come up on the system. This seems like a great way to assemble the right teams, instead of going with who you know.

Overall, it seems like GSFC is doing a great job promoting diversity in the company. They currently have a 3 year timeline (2007-2010) for their diversity program implementation. There are several initiatives that are backed by the highest level, and they have laid out specific goals and timelines for when they would like to achieve certain milestones.  I hope that Sharon Wong will update us again in 2010 to let us know how the 3 year program has progressed.

Wong, S. (2008). Diversity – Making space for everyone at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center using dialogue to break
through barriers.
Human Resource Management, 47(2), 389-399.