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Managing Diversity in the Workforce, Article Review Example

Pages: 15

Words: 4234

Article Review

Abstract

Managing and directing the human force of an organization is a tedious task to take. All the more it becomes harder to consider when the issue of extensive diversity among the people is to be given attention to. With globalization further fueling the differences among the members of different business organization, it is expected that the challenge on the management department rises as the number of the workers’ population increases with so much diversity in them impacts the performance of the whole organization. Relatively, it is the primary goal and role of the managers to make sure that the organization stays intact and solid even beyond the challenges of modern business culture enveloping business entities at present. In the literature review that follows, a comprehensive consideration over the proper procedures by which diversity could be managed and even be used as a source of opportunity for business growth shall be discussed.

Background of Review

Every organization, large or small scale, requires an ample number of workers to operate. In the face of global development, the assessment of workforce progress also changes. Back then, the workers of a particular organization is saturated only to one culture, one gender and at some point even within a single-bracket of age limit. However, in the edge of development, the doors of employment in local areas and abroad begin to develop and create a more expansive division among the qualification of hired employees in different companies worldwide[1]. This is the primary reason why human resource managers are facing the challenge of making those differences meet and create a bridge that would make it easier for specifically diversified groups of individuals to work together as a single team for the sake of the development of a unified organization.

This challenge in management continues to rise as the campaign for globalization and the internationalization of industries are being pursued at present.  In this literature review, a focus on how management administrators try to handle the aspect of diversity among the modern workforce culture shall be given attention to. In connection with the insisting demand of work changes, this review shall make an indicative presentation on how managers ought to handle the challenge of developing a more dependent workforce amidst the diversity that they involved with.

Understanding Diversity

Diversity is simply the state of having several individuals of different status together in one particular group. In business organizations diversity could be considered in different ranges of categories. It could be considered a difference between the genders of the workforce, their ages, their religion, culture and social beliefs as well. Diversity is a basic consideration that makes up the path of defining a society of different individuals.  True, every person has his own personal individuality and this is a realized fact even before the establishment of first business ventures to ever function in the world[2]. This then insists that diversity is nothing new and has been a consistent factor that managers are expected to handle as they compensate for their role as leaders of the organization.

The society however changes, and along with that particular change is the altering face of the meaning of diversity in modern workforces. If before, it was just gender, age and religion that was commonly the source of differences among employees, today, national race is becoming the number one source of diversified conflict in organizations. Given that at the beginning of the 19th century the modern society has been already introduced to the culture of international brotherhood and camaraderie, opening the doors to migration has become a new trend that most nationalities embrace[3]. In relation to this, the scope of diversity in workforces have become rather more complex and harder to cope with as the mixture of individuals from different cultures having different languages, religions and principles become a common matter among business entities around the globe at present.

To know more about this particular fact, an exploration of the deeper understanding of the culture of internationalization and globalization shall be better defined in the section that follows. In line with this discussion comes a clearer definition on what globalization is and how it has began redefining the face of international workforce alongside the challenges that the said change presents the business administrators with. The application of proper management as a resolution to the matter shall be further explored and examined as to the competence that it holds in relation to handling employee differences in an efficient approach.

The Culture of Internationalization and Globalization in the Workplace

The 1960’s heralded a heads up on the development of business industries around the globe as business establishments began to flourish promising to give employment to hopeful individuals who wish to survive the challenge of the emerging industries as they face their desire to fulfil their responsibilities to their families in the face of economic depression[4]. However, not all employees were treated as they were supposed to be. Due to the depression and the suppression of the rights of these individuals, there were some opportunist-employers who took advantage of the situation of their workers and had them work long hours for small amount of payment. Some other employees were treated unjustly because of religion or race and were subjected to constant shameful treatments. Alongside these harsh conditions, the development of industries even paved the way to the development of the culture of consumerism[5]. This means that the age of purchasing forced workers to suffer so much more discriminative actions from their co-workers and even their employers so as to simply be able to get along with the growing trend of consumerism. Relatively, the government began to establish policies that shall protect the rights of individuals to equal job opportunities and the right of employees to be treated fairly regardless of their race, religion, gender, age and/or individuality. These legal sanctions provided a core dependence that made it easier for the employees to function further in relation to the need of becoming more responsive to their duties and less distressed and depressed about their situation at work as to how others entreat them.

The application of legal policies however does not include the scope on how the values and individual demands of these employees are supposed to be given attention to by the management.  Understandably, the management administrators are expected to find ways to handle the difficulties and challenges that come along with the need to manage a diverse population of workers in a single branch operation[6]. This is the reason why several experts in the business industry tried to explore both the aspects of psychology and behavioral science so as to respond to the need of levelling the situation and providing a comprehensive solution to the issue at hand[7].

Issues Connected to Workforce Diversity

Being unique is one thing about humans that cannot be readjusted. It is an accepted fact that no person is the same as the other [even if they were twins]. The fact is no one thinks alike thus no one acts alike. The common ground that enables people to stand at the same ground includes elements such as religion, race and culture. However, when these things become the very reason for individuals being diversified from each other, several issues begin to arise. In the workplace, the legal provisions insist that employers accept applicants who are capable of doing the job positions they offer to the public for filling. This means that no employer should deny someone of a job that he or she deserves simply because of the religion or race that one belongs to[8]. Notably though, compliance to such a legal rule also causes certain dilemmas into the operation of the business as a unified organization. Some of the issues that involve diversification among the workforce of businesses include the following:

  • Discrimination

As mentioned earlier, one of the most common results of a diversified workforce is the emergence of discrimination among the members of the employees. Even though there is already a law against the said matter, it could not be denied that inward attacks of discrimination still exist[9]. One example of which is the fact that some groups of individuals might separate themselves of another whom they might not have so much liking of. As a result, that one individual who is left behind will feel left out and worthless resulting to a sense of inferiority.

  • Superiority versus Inferiority Complex among workers

Those who tend to consider themselves rather of a higher place than others develop a superiority complex that often dictates authority among themselves even without the permission of the organization’s administration[10]. In a way, superior employees might utilize blackmailing as a form of control over their colleagues who on the other hand develop inferiority complex among themselves.

  • Acting indifferently towards others

Because of the intent of being different from others [whether in an inferior or superior definition of one’s status at work] some employees may tend to be aloof towards others hence losing the sense of team work in the organization. This further results to uncomfortable reactions especially of these individuals are placed together to work on a particular task they are required to complete.

  • Development of an uncomfortable work environment

Once the culture of indifference grow among the employees, it would be harder for them to work alongside each other especially during crucial operations[11]. The underlying repelling reaction between each other will make it harder for them to come up with a more refined solution to problems all the more perform well on the tasks they are asked to respond to.

  • Unending conflicts between co-workers

With such tension ongoing within the midst of the employees, conflict is expected to arise[12]. Without a proper system of management applied to handle such situations, conflicts would become harder to contend hence completely jeopardizing the capability of the entire organization to meet deadlines or to even respond to the demands of the clients the company hopes to serve.

These particular issues are only among the most common situations undergone by management administrators as they see how diversity works within their organization. Without the proper control of systematic management upon the matter, employees are sure to lose interest in their jobs and later on desire to seek for new employers only finding out that the next organization to take them would have the same problem in management. In instances such as this one, the managing administrators should be able to see diversity in a well-balanced manner. Understanding that this issue has its good and bad side, managers should be able to manipulate the situation for the best benefit of the organization and their people as well.

 The Pros and Cons of Workforce Diversity

To anything, there is a good and bad side. This is a fact that also applies to the existence of diversity among employees in business entities established and are operating around the globe. It has already been mentioned before some of the down sides of diversity among workforces in an organization. However, this situation need not be all-bad. Seeing the positive impact of such situation for organizations is a key advantage that business operators could use to their benefit. To note, diversity among workforce enriches the source of talent and skills that the company acquires[13]. This depicts the fact that the more diverse the employees are, the more diverse the group of clientele or customers the company could serve. Establishing a condition of diversity among workers and accepting the way it works for the best of the company serves the best results for the organization and for the employees as well. True, the differences of each individual from each other cannot be helped; it is a known fact that must be accepted fully by the administrators.

However, unlike what other organizations do, skillful management teams are able to work around the issue and empower the employees to embrace their diversity and work further for a better individualized system of achievement which later on results to organizational success. While there are some business operators who remain pessimistic about the matter, numerous business enthusiasts at present are beginning to accept the fact that immense diversity among employees is a common factor that characterizes the modern industry of employment. Utilizing their knowledge of human behavior and the different manners by which it changes, these managers try their best to work their way through the thorns of hardship as they pass through the need of defining a more refined aspect of managing a unified workforce due to the existence of unified goal.

Handling the Difficulties of Management

It is already an accepted fact that handling diversity among a certain population of workforces is one of the toughest responsibilities that managers have to face. Nonetheless, it is not an impossible task to work alongside with. Instead, it should be considered as a challenge that should bring out the best skills of a manager especially in dealing with people-related issues. In an organization, establishing a single team is important especially if the business hopes to expand further in the future. A set of employees working towards a certain goal in unison is a great gem that business operators could consider as a form of strength that they can embrace in the face of global change. However, establishing such unison among diversified employees requires managers to take the extra mile and find a comprehensive manner by which they themselves are to adjust to the situation[14]. While it is one thing to accept the issue and the situation that diversity impels on the organization, it is another thing to deal with it. Here are some of the most common yet most effective approaches that managers from different organizations around the world took into consideration as they treaded the path towards making a definitive and constructive group of individuals working in unison as members of their organizations:

  • Set a common ground

True, there are several differences that employees may have against each other, but there is always a common ground among them. To some, this common ground maybe their families, or perhaps their desire for personal achievement. Making it easier for the employees to focus on these commonalities among themselves can help minimize the attention that they put on the differences they have with the others.

  • Start with the orientation

At the beginning of the entrant of the employees of the organization, they should already be oriented in accordance to the goal of the organization as a whole and not as a functioning entity apart from its employees[15]. The new employees should know that they are a part of a bigger community that works towards a more meaningful path that marks their identity alongside their employers and its administrators.

  • Define the primary goal of the organization and make it real to the employees

Presenting the employees with the goal and making it real to them are two separate things. While letting them know about the goal simply gives them knowledge about the matter, making it real to them involves motivating them to act upon the said goal. This could be done through creating a culture that is directed towards fulfilling the goal of the business[16]. Employers should not forget though that in providing such a vision to the employees, the values recognized by the employees themselves should be properly addressed as well. This will make it easier for the employees to submit themselves into the system while hoping and knowing that their values are to be well recognized by their employers at the same time.

  • Establish an organizational culture

While the workers or employees come from different cultures, religion, race and other aspects of individuality, a common organizational culture shall provide them a sense of belongingness that allows them to be recognized as one with the entire organization. This gives them a satisfying feeling that they are not alone in handling the challenge of reaching a goal, instead, they are a part of a larger group that thinks and works alike as they do. The sense of identity and belongingness as desired by most employees is then addressed through this procedure.

  • Reward good deeds based on performance

Considering reward against punishment is an up building form of empowerment that has already been used by business organizers in the past[17]. The effectiveness of this system has already been well tested and is thus considered efficient in handling differences among employees. Having the workforce focus on the goal of gaining recognition for their good works shall help them give attention to the more balancing aspects of their work than that of the differences they may have against their colleagues at work.

  • Provide benefits in an impartial basis

Legally speaking, it is the responsibility of business owners to provide ample benefits to their employees. Nonetheless, it is advised that in embracing such responsibility, employers should make sure that no one is left behind or that no one is treated unjustly especially in consideration with the need to receive the benefits they deserve to enjoy[18]. This sense of impartiality shall give the employees a chance to realize that they are indeed given importance by the administration no matter how different they may seem from the others at work.

  • Improve problem solving approaches to conflicts through imposing balanced views on parties involved

When handling conflicts [as conflicts are of course a regular part of business operations], managers are expected to be as impartial as possible between the parties involved in the case. Remaining focused on the problem and not on the underlying background on the personality of each individual involved shall help managers see things in a different manner hence deal with such cases in a balanced approach that benefits both the employees and the employers in their quest for organization progress.

Implications and Discussions

To the emergence of diversity, there are many reasons. However, no matter how many those reasons are, it could not be denied that diversity among workforce in organizations at present is a common matter that must be accepted properly by administrators and managers of businesses around the globe. Dealing with the problem in a much refined approach especially in considering the different weaknesses and strengths of the employees involved, it is expected that such a challenge among management officers would serve more of an opportunity to get the best out of these individuals and work on them so as to benefit the growth of the organization. Business entities simply aim to incur progress may it be in the form of increased profit or expanded market influence and institutionalized new branches[19]. Nonetheless, such forms of developments could never be realized unless the consideration over the application of proper management applied to mandate the development of a diversified workforce is to be given proper attention to.

Making a convincing turn of situation on the part of the management and their desire to serve the best interest of their employees in the aim of receiving better service and performance for them is a crucial part in defining the worth of diversity in a workplace. Noting this responsibility among managers is expected to create a well refined system of operation that the organizations would best benefit from. It must be realized by every organizational administration that the manner by which the employers respond to their employees’ needs establishes a stronger foundation of growth for the business. Diversity, as mentioned herein, could either be a boon or bane for the organization depending on how the management team would handle the challenges it offers. Handling such situations in a much considerable manner that involves concern over the need of each employee to realize personal growth and development shall provide a stronger course of adjustment that managers could take as they provide what each worker need and expect. Once these needs are satisfied, it is expected that good performance from the people can be garnered hence making great benefits for both parties involved in the situation.

Aside from dealing with the matter with impartiality, assuring the employees a sense of belongingness through defining a condition of imposed organizational culture provides both the employees and their employers a ground source of agreement that creates a more distinctive approach in reassuring how much the upper management gives value to the importance of the workers as members of the business in its quest towards success.

References

Beck, JC, and Wade, M. (2004) Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever.  Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Eisenberg, Eric M.; H.L. Goodall, Jr. & Angela Trethewey (2010). Organizational Communication (6th ed.). St. Martin’s: Bedford. pp. 250–58.

Gomez-Mejia, Luis R.; David B. Balkin and Robert L. Cardy (2008). Management: People, Performance, Change, 3rd edition. New York, New York USA: McGraw-Hill. pp. 19.

Harvey, Carol, and June Allard (2002). Understanding and Managing Diversity, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Harvey, Carol P.; M. June Allard (2012). Understanding and Managing Diversity (5th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.. pp. xii-393.

Hood, Jacqueline, Helen Muller, and Patricia Seitz. (2001).  “Attitudes of Hispanics and Anglos Surrounding  Workforce Diversity Intervention,” Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 23, No. 4, 2001, pp. 444–458.

Howe, N; Strauss, W. and Matson, RJ (2000) Millennials Rising.  New York: Vintage Books,

Hur, Y. ; Strickland, R.A.; Stefanovic, D. (2010). Managing diversity: does it matter to municipal governments? International Journal of Public Sector Management. Vol 23. No. 5.  Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Kotter, John P. & Dan S. Cohen. (2002). The Heart of Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Kochan, homas, Katrina Bezrukova, Robin Ely, Susan Jackson, Aparna Joshi, Karen Jehn, Jonathan Leonard, David Levine, and David homas. (2003). “The Eects of Diversity on Business Performance: Report of the Diversity Research Network,” Human Resource Management, Vol. 42, No. 1. pp. 3–22.

Lopez-Fernandez, M.; Sanchez-Gadey, G. (2010). Managing the effects of diversity on social capital. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion International Journal. Vol 29. No 5. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Milliken, Frances J.; Elizabeth W. Morrison and Patricia F. Hewlin (September 2003). “An Exploratory Study of Employee Silence: Issues that Employees Don’t Communicate Upward and Why”. Journal of Management Studies 40 (6): 1453–76.

Mulcaster, W.R. (2009).“Three Strategic Frameworks,” Business Strategy Series, Vol 10, No1, pp68 – 75.

Riche, Martha Farnsworth, with Amanda Kraus, April K. Hodari, and Jasen P. Depasquale. (2005). Literature Review: Empirical Evidence Supporting the Business-Case Approach to Workforce Diversity. CNA Corporation.

Saane, N.; Sluiter, JK; Verbeek AM and Frings-Dresen, MH (2003) Reliability and Validity of Instruments Measuring Job Satisfaction – A Systematic Review. Occupational Medicine.

Sago, Brad (2000) “Uncommon Threads:Mending the Generation Gap at Work ” Business Credit.  pg 57-59.

Strauss, W., & Howe, N. (2000). Millennials rising: The next great generation. New York: Random House.

St. Lifer, E. (2000) “The Boomer Drain: The Last of a Generation?” Library Journal 125 (2000) 38-43.

Tompkins, Phillip K. (2005). Apollo, Challenger, Columbia: The Decline of the Space Program. Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company.

Zemke, R., Raines, C., & Filipczak, B. (2000) Generations at work.. managing the clash of veterans, boomers, Xers, and nexters in your workplace. New York: AMACOM.

[1] Riche, Martha Farnsworth, with Amanda Kraus, April K. Hodari, and Jasen P. Depasquale. (2005). Literature Review: Empirical Evidence Supporting the Business-Case Approach to Workforce Diversity. CNA Corporation.

[2] Howe, N; Strauss, W. and Matson, RJ (2000) Millennials Rising.  New York: Vintage Books,

[3] Strauss, W., & Howe, N. (2000). Millennials rising: The next great generation. New York: Random House.

[4] Hood, Jacqueline, Helen Muller, and Patricia Seitz. (2001).  “Attitudes of Hispanics and Anglos Surrounding  Workforce Diversity Intervention,” Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 23, No. 4, 2001, pp. 444–458.

[5] Kochan, homas, Katrina Bezrukova, Robin Ely, Susan Jackson, Aparna Joshi, Karen Jehn, Jonathan Leonard, David Levine, and David homas. (2003). “The Effects of Diversity on Business Performance: Report of the Diversity Research Network,” Human Resource Management, Vol. 42, No. 1. pp. 3–22.

[6] Saane, N.; Sluiter, JK; Verbeek AM and Frings-Dresen, MH (2003) Reliability and Validity of Instruments Measuring Job Satisfaction – A Systematic Review. Occupational Medicine.

[7] Zemke, R., Raines, C., & Filipczak, B. (2000) Generations at work.. managing the clash of veterans, boomers, Xers, and nexters in your workplace. New York: AMACOM.

[8] Zemke, R., Raines, C., & Filipczak, B. (2000) Generations at work.. managing the clash of veterans, boomers, Xers, and nexters in your workplace. New York: AMACOM.

[9] Hur, Y. ; Strickland, R.A.; Stefanovic, D. (2010). Managing diversity: does it matter to municipal governments? International Journal of Public Sector Management. Vol 23. No. 5.  Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

[10] Saane, N.; Sluiter, JK; Verbeek AM and Frings-Dresen, MH (2003) Reliability and Validity of Instruments Measuring Job Satisfaction – A Systematic Review. Occupational Medicine.

[11] Gomez-Mejia, Luis R.; David B. Balkin and Robert L. Cardy (2008). Management: People, Performance, Change, 3rd edition. New York, New York USA: McGraw-Hill. pp. 19.

[12] Zemke, R., Raines, C., & Filipczak, B. (2000) Generations at work.. managing the clash of veterans, boomers, Xers, and nexters in your workplace. New York: AMACOM.

[13] Lopez-Fernandez, M.; Sanchez-Gadey, G. (2010). Managing the effects of diversity on social capital. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion International Journal. Vol 29. No 5. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

[14] Tompkins, Phillip K. (2005). Apollo, Challenger, Columbia: The Decline of the Space Program. Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company.

[15] Eisenberg, Eric M.; H.L. Goodall, Jr. & Angela Trethewey (2010). Organizational Communication (6th ed.). St. Martin’s: Bedford. pp. 250–58.

[16] Eisenberg, Eric M.; H.L. Goodall, Jr. & Angela Trethewey (2010). Organizational Communication (6th ed.). St. Martin’s: Bedford. pp. 250–58.

[17] Beck, JC, and Wade, M. (2004) Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever.  Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

[18] Kotter, John P. & Dan S. Cohen. (2002). The Heart of Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.

[19] Hur, Y. ; Strickland, R.A.; Stefanovic, D. (2010). Managing diversity: does it matter to municipal governments? International Journal of Public Sector Management. Vol 23. No. 5.  Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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