number of individuals at the senior executive level. The resultant personnel freezes, lack of growth, and uncertainty of the future tend not only to reduce turnover, with the consequent significant decrease in the opportunity to make changes in the composition of the entire organization, but also to increase the highly competitive struggle for diminishing program funds.
Despite these current circumstances or perhaps because of them—the committee believes that increasing the diversity of ONR's work force is essential. An organization with fewer staff with more far-reaching responsibilities is especially in need of finding and keeping the best talent to ensure that it is operating efficiently and funding the most promising research and development efforts. Finding the best talent implies searching in the complete pool of qualified individuals of whatever gender or ethnicity and not limiting that search to the traditional white male population. The committee expects that both the quality and the diversity of the ONR work force will be increased through greater efforts in this direction.
In addition, creating a healthy work climate will be equally important. Environments perceived as hostile or unsatisfying for particular groups have very real, quantifiable costs in personnel turnover, retraining, absenteeism, and lost productivity (Cox and Blake 1991). Training in making effective use of diversity will, therefore, be essential. Both managers and employees must be able to understand differences, build group cohesiveness, establish shared values, communicate across cultural and gender boundaries, and resolve conflicts. If ONR can inculcate these skills in a work force that truly reflects the increasing diversity of the nation's S&E work force, it will be well positioned to meet future challenges.