StudyBoss » Diversity in the workplace

Diversity in the workplace

Diversity in the workplace is a subject that has gained increased attention in the workplace over the past few years. After all, the impact of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity programs on the nation’s work force is undeniable. Women and minorities were the first to dramatically alter the face of the economic mainstream, while gays, persons with disabilities and senior citizens followed not far behind. The result is a diverse American labor force representing a microcosm of our society – yet one that continues to struggle with its identity.

Diversity as a social condition is not new to America. We were founded as a nation of Diversity. America has always been a merger of cultures and, as such, has undergone periods of discomfort as the world’s melting pot (HistoryChannel. com). Ostensibly, the modern American workplace is a simmering pool of diversity. Focused in its early years on racial equality, the movement widened its scope to include equality based on gender, age, sexual orientation and disabilities. And as members of these various groups struggled for recognition, they developed a new sense of pride in what made them distinctive.

This sense of pride in diversity has led the nation to where it is today. It is important to identify various dimensions of workplace diversity. The first dimension involves primary levels of diversity. That is, people with disabilities, gender, race, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, creed, religion, and age are primary dimensions of diversity. These basic groups require the greatest degree of management dexterity and attention because they play an important part in workforce interrelationships and communication.

These areas are also more prone to conflicts and negative reactions among employees. Managers must recognize that there is a need to train, inform, and sensitize their employees to deal with issues relating to this type of diversity. Consequently, managers must recognize the effects of diversity in their firms and plan to deal with potential conflicts. They must also recognize the different strengths of individuals and groups so that they cay utilize their skills more effectively. The second dimension of diversity deals with individuals from different social strata.

For example, education levels differ among various employees. This may result in conflicts between less skilled or educated workers and more affluent and more educated staff members. There is a need to develop training programs to deal with these issues and to create an environment where there is opportunity for learning and skill acquisition. Mentoring and on-the-job training of less skilled workers through courses, assistant programs, and continuing education programs may even the gap between different employees.

However, it is important to recognize potential and use the skills already at hand to create a more efficient team environment where each members contribution carries some value and contributes to the organizations goals. Economic status is as important an issue as is education. Various employees come from different economic background. Their views and manners may differ, along with their expectations and motivations in daily routine and overall purpose. Nevertheless, they have to work together. There are potential problems and differences of conduct, motivation, and initiative.

Managers have to get to know their people and develop ways of using their differences for the benefit of the organization. The focus should be on the positive aspects of individuals, and on merging the best qualities people have to form effective teams. Managing conflict is also very important. One thing managers should recognize is that there will always be a potential for conflict and their job is to intervene and resolve diversity issues early and quickly. Statistics show the extent of diversity in the workplace.

Eighty-five percent of those currently entering the American workforce are minorities and women. By year 2006, only 38% of the total workforce will be white males (Workforce 2000). Previously, we just thought of diversity as the total number of minorities and women in the company – like affirmative action. Now we truly understand that we need diversity at every level of the company where decisions are made. From an external perspective, a diverse workforce can also provide a distinct competitive advantage for a firm and enhance its success in today’s increasingly global marketplace.

If you don’t understand the nuances of different cultures, you may be inadvertently slighting potential customers and missing out on new markets. Your lack of understanding can also affect existing relationships. Diversity is both a customer service and a business development issue. Firms that have already recognized the value of a diverse work force and made a sincere effort to maximize its contributions have learned that changing hiring policies will not in and of itself ensure success. A strong commitment from company leaders is also critical.

The correct question today is not ‘How are we doing on race relations? ‘ or ‘Are we promoting enough minority people and women? ‘ Rather, it is ‘Given the diverse work force weve got, are we getting the productivity, does it work as smoothly, and is morale as high, as if every person in the company was the same sex, race and nationality? What managers must do is create an environment where no one is advantaged or disadvantaged, an environment where ‘we’ is everyone and in which people feel their contributions are valued.

Another lesson to learn is the importance of communication and a willingness to listen to what employees have to say. Communication is an essential part of managing diversity. People often don’t realize how their actions or words will be taken. It usually takes a specific incident to bring this home. Creating an open atmosphere in which people feel free to raise issues without fear of reprisal is an important first step, and it doesn’t cost anything. If you empower staff members to be part of the solution, they will feel valued that they have a tangible stake in the company.

Managers must recognize that their interpretation of a behavior isn’t universal and for another person it may mean something else entirely. Workplace demands are still important. Managers just keep an open dialogue and an open mind. No single initiative is comprehensive enough to solve all diversity issues to successfully manage diversity in organizations; however, diversity training is one of the primary and most widely used initiatives to address diversity issues.

Diversity issues will continue because the population will become even more diverse and more companies will become global. As diversity is becoming more and more complex, diversity training will continue to be an essential element of the overall diversity strategy. Managers and supervisors need to understand the challenges of managing diversity in the workplace and recognizing the benefits of multiple perspectives in support of diversity. They need to focus on evaluating behavior and understanding what it takes to retain, motivate, and promote culturally and socially diverse employees.

Furthermore, they need to skip the personal stereotypes that might result in potential discrimination, by applying interpersonal skills to accommodate the needs of others who are culturally different. The main goal of diversity is to capitalize on people’s differing talents by bringing different people together from all backgrounds. By gaining a better understanding of these emerging issues and having appropriate strategies, proactive managers increase their chances of managing diversity in a more effective manner.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
StudyBoss » Diversity in the workplace

Diversity in the workplace

Managing diversity and demographical changes in the workplace presents many dilemmas. Confronted with constant change, management, business educators, and organizational consultants continue to meet the challenges of a new and diverse workforce in a number of ways. Diversity can be defined in numerous ways. Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all inclusive and recognizes every individual and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued.

A broad definition includes not only race, gender, ethnicity, age, national origin, religion and disability, but may include sexual orientation, values, personality, education, language, physical appearance, marital status, socioeconomic status, religion and so forth. All these characteristics can impact an individual’s attitude and behavior toward people that evolves around him and toward the general public on a daily basis. In this paper, we will examine how ethnicity, differences in skills/abilities, occupation and personality traits impact the behavior of people in society and/or how it can impact my own behavior as well.

Many people have a very shallow view of racial and ethnic diversity. They see it as simply the belief that one race is superior to another. It is much more than that. It is a fundamental (and fundamentally wrong) view of human nature. Racism is the notion that one’s race determines one’s identity. It is the belief that one’s convictions, values, ideology, and character are determined not by the judgment of one’s mind but by one’s anatomy or “blood. ” This view causes people to be condemned or praised based on their racial membership. In turn, it leads them to condemn or praise others on the same basis.

In fact, one can gain an authentic sense of pride only from one’s own achievements, not from inherited genetic characteristics. The spread of racism requires the destruction of an individual’s confidence in his own mind. Such an individual then enthusiastically seeks a sense of identity by clinging to some group, abandoning his authentic sense of his own ethnicity. I, on the other hand, have much respect for the multi-ethnic groups among our society. I was born and raised as a Jewish Orthodox and am now more of a mix between a Conservative and a Modern Orthodox Jew.

While growing up, I was instilled to respect and not condemn a culture of another kind even though I was constantly ridiculed throughout grade school by my fellow classmates of my ethnic background. That unceasing mockery made me feel insecure about who I was and where I came from. As I got older, my insecurity changed to a positive nature because of the sense of belonging in an environment where everyone came from the very same ethnic background at the private yeshiva for girls where I was enrolled for the duration of my high school years.

I was constantly exposed to the multifarious cultures in our society due to leading a life of living in two worlds, my religious environment with my family in one and my socialization with my deaf friends who came from a variety of ethnic background in another. For what I was exposed with growing up has brought my sense of understanding and respect for ethnicity into perspective. I love learning about others and sharing about mine as well as long as the feelings are mutual. The way I behave affects others’ behaviors towards me.

This allows for an amicable and friendly relationship with my fellow peers personally and professionally. With respect to the differences in maintaining skills and abilities, an individual’s behavior can be impacted by its own capabilities or lack thereof. Awareness of one’s physical ability and skill can enhance how one behaves. Maintaining skills is a learned power of doing something competently such as speaking fluently using proper form of language or the memory of mixing drinks. Maintaining abilities is the natural aptitude or acquired proficiency such as a positive attitude or “common sense”.

Being deaf may prevent me from being able to hear or utilize my listening skills; however, it definitely does not hinder me from using my visual skills and the ability to observe. The loss of hearing has gained me that “extra” visual skill which means I am more observant of my surroundings. How does that affect my behavior? Being more observant can allow me to see things that most people miss. I am also more observant of other people’s body language rather than the tone of their voice and behave accordingly. I can even read lips from a distance when and if people whisper!

Let us now examine how the demographic characteristic of occupation affects my individual behavior as well as for many others. Having a very high level of work ethic gives the cause for my motivation in getting out of bed to go to work on a daily basis. What can possibly reverse this high motivational behavior to stoop to the lowest level is the lack of compensation, cooperation by my fellow co-workers and lack of team spirit. Since I am people-oriented and become easily enthusiastic in working with others, the lack of these issues can hinder my spirit; therefore, affects my attitude about going to work.

Without a doubt, this surely affects many other people in similar situations. Another aspect of effect that can impact behavior is the personality traits of an individual. A personality trait represents a continuous dimension and can be defined as a broad, stable and enduring characteristic which is used to explain behavior. Defining personality is the enduring characteristics of an individual that describe patterns of thinking, feelings and behavior. Some of my personality traits consist of procrastination, thriving under heavy pressure, companionable and talkative.

Knowing how I master in thriving while under stress, I tend to procrastinate to the end knowing that I will produce the best results which leads me to continue this bad habit of prolonging. My love for socialization leads me to behave in the friendliest way in order for others to enjoy my companionship. If my behavior was the other way around, people would definitely avoid me. I need to be considerate of my choices for harmonious words in order to keep people around.

With all that said, we can see how various diversity and demographic characteristics has an effect on how we behave on a daily basis, unequivocally or unfavorably. Since diversity encompasses of the various characteristics of an individual to differ from others in its own uniqueness, different behaviors are formed accordingly to make an individual a person of his own diversity. By seeing how various diversity characteristics of mine affected the way I behave, managing them effectively is vital in order to lead a successful and happy life both in the professional and personal aspects to avoid any possible dilemmas.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Leave a Comment