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Managing Diversity in Organizations Essay

The world is growing smaller every day and as a result we are living in a globally diverse society. Any company that embraces and keeps embracing diverse employees can meet the needs of its customers both internally and externally and keep the committed employees at the same time. Diversity in the workplace can give each corporation benefits from the wide variety of factors. In today workforce diversity is extremely common and cannot be ignored. Corporations must learn to work effectively while utilizing the diversity of each employee.

With an understanding of why and how employees are different, companies as well as employees can understand one another thus creating an effective team. Discussion Before assessing the importance of diversity in the workplace, the definition of the word diversity should be clear. According to Benhabi, “diversity refers to the way that people in organizations differ” (Benhabib, 2002). This is a vague definition considering that people in organizations differ in several ways. For example: race, ethnicity, gender, age, personality, cognitive style, and organizational function are all ways in which organizations can be diverse.

When a company has made the decision to achieve and manage a diverse workforce, they must decide whether they are going to

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include all the ways the members differ, or just by their race and gender. The broad definition leads to an exclusion of different factors that more extensively factors in diversity The changing demographic structure of America Diversity in the workplace ensures that all members of the workforce are working towards the common goal and mission of the organization. In a diverse workforce race and ethnic origin are an after thought.

According to Naylor, “our society is diverse and is becoming more so by the day. We are at a critical point in our history because the complex social and environmental issues we face can only be effectively dealt with by acknowledging the diversity in class, values, lifestyle, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation that make up our cultural mosaic” (Naylor, 2008) Over the past several years, the U. S. has seen a dramatic increase in its population of Hispanic, Spanish-speaking people, and other foreigners that speak little or no English.

While the diversity of the workforce continues to be impressive, there has been an increase in the number of Spanish-and or non English speaking citizens who are entering the manufacturing work force. (Laroche, 2002) Diversity and Organizational Profits Diversity in organizations was required in order for the organization’s success. Organizations are now forced to commit by creating and maintaining a work environment that fosters respect and growth for all employees, and acknowledging the diverse talents and perspective of individuals.

(Henderson, 2006) Well manage diverse workforce allowed organizations to gain a competitive advantage, through low turnover, more job satisfaction, high motivation and less internal conflict. Evidently, diverse employees bring new ideas to the organization that aid in creative problem solving. (William and Clifton, 2001) In practice, diversity aims to shape the profile of an organization’s workforce to at least resemble the profile of its customers. If for example, the company’s client base is predominantly African Americans then a diverse workforce of Spaniards, Italians and Germans is not appropriate and makes poor business sense.

(Henderson, 2006) If however, an organization’s customer base is literally the entire community then it follows that targeted selection should aim to be representational of the demographics of the general population. While filling out an application, it is fair for applicants to write their skills and experience for the job. It should be also understood that not only that the person is a woman but she may be able to relate with and better serves female customers.

Obviously, diversity therefore is not about giving women a fair go in the workforce and is simply a sensible strategy for making a workforce compatible with its client base and to some extent society at large. Managing a Diverse workforce The basic tenet of diversity management is that an organization will gain a strategic and competitive advantage by helping all of its employees to perform to their full potential. (Miller, 2002) The terms “managing diversity” and “employment equity” are often used interchangeably to describe the process of adapting human resource policies and practices to create a barrier-free work environment.

Although many of the objectives of employment equity and managing diversity are the same, there are two fundamental differences. (Sonnenschein, 2005) If there was no value to diversity in the workplace, there might not be any broadened views or there may certainly be little appreciation for new innovative ideas created within a diverse corporation. If companies are to stay competitive in this fast changing work environment, they are going to have to make it okay for everyone to step up to the plate.

This demands that a culture of acceptance be established along with an environment of opportunity and an atmosphere of trust developed. It is important to believe that most people, although different that others want to do the best they can in the job they have. (Henderson, 2006) There has been considerable interest in why women are so poorly represented in executive ranks in organizations. Arguments have been made in the literature that discrimination, social stereotypes and organizational culture explain gender differences in advancement to executive levels.

Considerable emphasis has been made of the dominance of masculine’s values and traits in conceptions of senior management and executive roles. (William and Clifton, 2001) Women have insisted that there was nothing they could not do and that they should not be treated differently or excluded because of gender. They demanded equality and they wanted to be treated the same and to be given the same opportunities as men. Consciously we are all aware that both men and women that equality is not the real issue; women do have different needs to men and it is equity that should be the focus.

Diversity is about recognizing individuals, as unique and not just members of a gender or racial group. (Benhabib, 2002) According to the study conducted by Laroche, “diverse groups tend to be more creative and perform better on problem-solving tasks than homogeneous groups, but they also appear to ha e lower levels of social integration and higher turnover than homogeneous groups” (Laroche, 2002). Differences amongst diverse workforce are not conflicting in a workplace. In actuality, the desires of each group member are not as opposing as they initially appear to be.

The program may suggest that the language and strategies of negotiation can be used to help teams turn differences into solutions. Sonnenschein believed that another advantage of diversity in organizations is that diverse groups tend to be more creative and tend to perform better on problem-solving tasks. (Sonnenschein, 2005) It only makes sense that with a more diverse range of people, a company will have more creativity and new ideas to work with. Without the diversity many of the ideas would be the same and creativity would be harder to obtain.

Organizations with diversified workforce are charting a new course for the future by responding to diversity as a business issue and developing individualized approaches that integrate it into their broader management objectives. Given the long-term nature of the cultural change required to transform an organization into one that truly values diversity, these firms may well develop a significant competitive edge in the future. Workforce diversity has become a trend in western countries which is due to the prominence of new business strategies that focus on teamwork, competitive labor markets and globalization.

Conclusion Today, many American organizations are focused on simply ensuring their survival in the new global economy. Managing overall change is diverting both management’s attention and the necessary resources away from the need to address the diversity issue, in effect, putting the issue on the back burner. However, a few American organizations have recognized that there is a competitive advantage to be gained from embracing diversity within their business strategy. These pioneers have taken bold steps towards fostering an organizational culture that values differences.

In managing diversity a process of creating and maintaining an environment that naturally encourages all individuals to reach their full potential in pursuit of organizational objectives. Organizations should embrace diversity and utilize it effectively in order to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

References Benhabib, S. (2002). The Claims of Culture: Equality and Diversity in the Global Era. Princeton, N. J. : Princeton University Press. Henderson, G. (2006). Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: Issues and Strategies. Westport, CT. Quorum Books. Laroche, L. (2002).

Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions. Oxford, Philadelphia, PA: Butterworth Heinemann. Miller, M. (2002). Ebony and Ivory: An In-depth Look at Cultural Diversity. Writers Club Press. Naylor, L. (Ed. ) (2008). Cultural Diversity in the United States. Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey. Sonnenschein, W (2005). Diversity Toolkit: How You Can Build and Benefit from a Diverse Workforce. Lincolnwood, Chicago, IL: McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Books. William, M. A. , Clifton, D. 0. (2001). the 10 Lenses: You’re Guide to Living and Working in a Multicultural World. Sterling, VA: Capital Books.

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