Value of Diversity in the Work Place
Diversity is about differences, sex, religion, and ethnicity. Today, companies are employing diversity as business model to gain from those differences rather than ignore them. In the past, persons of different culture were usually not acceptable for fear that it will only create conflict and disharmony. But today, companies are adopting diversities instead of rejecting it to learn from them and reap the benefits of looking at the world through a number of different sets of eyes.
Mor Barak (2006) asserts that in response to a growing diversity in the workforce, Companies are now instituting “specific policies and programs to enhance recruitment, inclusion, promotion, and retention of employees who are different from the privileged echelons of society” (p. 208). Companies employs diversity business model on the premise that there is an inherent value in diversity for organization to survive and thrive. My experience of a work environment with diverse workforce One of the work environments where diversity is very important is the educational institution.
Diversities on both students and faculty helps a lot understand differing cultures and ethnic backgrounds that are important component of the learning process. Thompson (2007) emphasizes that everyone in a school “benefits from diverse perspectives offered by a multiethnic faculty” (p. 53). According to Thompson, New perspectives combat the stereotypical thinking, which is “dangerous to all members of a society, and contribute to greater understanding” (p. 53). It also provides benefits to teachers and students through their exposures to the faculty that values other cultures.
Issue that have been successfully resolve by the presence of a diverse workforce One issue that has been successfully resolved by the presence of diversity of workforce in my school was the discrimination issue. In the past years, the school was riddled with biases and discrimination that affects relationships between students as well as between faculty and management resulting to disharmony, discouragement, and sometimes even to lawsuit, which was a clear picture of what ought not to be seen in a learning institution.
Discrimination is defined as means of treating someone badly because he or she is different from you. There are many types of discrimination in the work place. Age discrimination, gender discrimination and racial discrimination are the most common and we often hear of employers facing lawsuit in violation of antidiscrimination law. Being bias on the other hand, means lack of balance or neutrality in argumentation. However, the discrimination that is referred to, here, is treating someone badly because he or she is different.
These issues of treating someone badly and the lack of neutrality of others always creates unfriendly atmosphere among newly hired faculty which creates in them discomfort and of feeling of being not welcome. This kind of situation has been going for a number of years and the school is past becoming a racist because of the problem. Even children are affected by the frequent turnover of faculty and staff because of these issues. There have been many attempts to address the problem because intolerance and unfriendly environment always breeds misunderstanding and fear of rejection.
The realization of the problem by the management, opened up for the idea to hire diverse workforce in order to streamline the working environment and to eventually eliminate biases and discrimination. The first few months were quite difficult as everyone seemed to be adjusting with each other and the management had to reinforce its initiative of having multi ethnicity by reminding all members of the community to be aware how intolerance can create unfriendly work environment. It was not long when everyone learns to appreciate and valued each other’s ethnic culture.
This resulted to a more meaningful work environment as each one realized the need to respect other people’s culture. This led to a more productive working relationship among all the staff and faculty. The biases and discrimination that have caused so much discomforts and unfriendly atmosphere were significantly decreased and the new work force helped everyone to be more creative in their approaches to teaching. Thiederman (2008) noted that “a diverse workforce is potentially more creative and innovative than one in which all team members share the same background” (p.
xx). Specific detail regarding how diversity has been beneficial in the eliminating discrimination Diversity used to mean a person’s gender or ethnic group but today diversity encompasses differences in age, educational background, sexual preference, physical abilities, economic status, lifestyle, religion, ethnicity, and gender. One particular area wherein diversity has been beneficial in eliminating discrimination and biases in the school is allowing various ethnic and cultural differences, by hiring teachers of various cultural orientations.
Having various cultural ethnic orientations reflects a more accommodating environment that are resistant to manipulations and softens the impact of dominance. In this case, diversity of workforce serves as restraint to any attempt to manipulate and to discriminate. Having a diverse workforce eliminates the concepts and feeling of minority or the majority which are often the causes of discrimination. According to Hemphill and Hainess (1997), “under written rules of behavior are established by the dominant group” (p. 7), this usually becomes the process by which they discriminate.
With the elimination of the concept of dominance and superiority, discrimination is also eliminated. Diversity of workforce eliminates the concepts of dominance and superiority in school. The management’s awareness and yearning to stop the discrimination going on in the work place is very important. Without such management support, diversity of workforce will not gain anything for the school. In the case of the school, the management had enforced strong measures of preventing discrimination by encouraging employees to respect the individual cultural orientations.
Although there are some studies stating that diversity training programs have failed to significantly trim down discriminations and harassment in the work place, yet with proper management support and employee re-orientation, discrimination in the school was significantly trim down One factor that had helped stopped the discrimination in the school was the management’s level of awareness what kind of discrimination was plaguing the school.
In every problem solving situation, it is always important to identify the problem first before providing a solution. The kind of discrimination that plagued the school previously were what Hemphill and Hainess calls, the isolated discrimination which is a harmful actions undertaken by a dominant group members, and the Small group discrimination or intentionally harmful actions undertaken be a few dominant group members acting in concert against members of subordinate groups without the sanctions of the larger organization (Hemphill & Hainess, p.
2). By hiring culturally diverse employees and by streamlining the operational policy towards a more culture oriented management, the discrimination issues had significantly decreased. Diversity then can be a very beneficial management tool if only the management is fully aware of what problem is confronting the company workforce. Knowing the true problem can greatly help to find the right solution.Diversity of workforce can successfully resolve challenges that are rightly identified.
Hemphill, H. and Hainess, R. (1997) Discrimination, Harassment, and failure of Diversity Training USA: Greenwood Publishing Group Mor barak, M. (2005) Managing Diversity USA: Sage Publications Thiederman, S. (2008) Making Diversity Work USA: Kaplan Publishing Thompson, J. G. (2007) The First-year Teacher’s Survival Guide USA: John Wiley and Sons