Diversity management relevancy for todays organisations

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Before I start explaining the word Diverse management I would like to say the quote from one of the owner of the " When we can serve and mange people from diverse culture we can also treat our own staff equally on all basis". This was really interesting to me when he told me about the teams in his sandwich shop and how helpful was the staff when a person came from a European country and his staff can speak their language and serve them and make them feel at home.

What is diversity management?

Before moving to the definition of Diversity management we have to first know what do we mean my Human recourse management(HRM) as diversity management is the part of HRM According to Armstrong " Human resource management is strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organisation's most valued assets: the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives" (Armstrong, M.,2003:p.3).

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Usually conventional definition of diversity refers to differences between individuals on any attributes that may lead to the observation that another person is different from them self (Jackson, 1992; Triandis, Kurowski, & Gelfand, 1994; van Knippenberg, De Dreu, & Homan, 2004; Williams & O'Reilly,1998). This observation of attributes may refer to gender, race, religion, disability, age and sexual orientation. However, itwas found that by harnessing these differences or attributes will create a productive environment in which everybody feels valued, where their talents are being fully utilised and in which organisational goals are met (Kandola, R., & Fullerton,1998) and proponents of diversity maintain that different opinions provided by culturally diverse groups make far better quality decisions (Orlando C.Richard, 2000). In the similar context, empirical evidence shows that firms that have effectivediversity management stand to benefit through bottom line returns (Jie Shen, 2009). All the benefit does not come without cost and it's relevant for diversity management too. Research has shown that although diversity in human resources may contribute to the quality of ideas, it also creates additional costs stemming from increased coordination and controls (Jehn,1995). Diversity in organizations is still to be explored as its benefits and implications are yet to be understood with theory and data apart from existing empirical evidences. There have been many initiatives to tackle diversity issues from government and organizations in the past, neither affirmative actions nor diversity management has been able to fully achieve its objectives because of number of limitations (Syed, J.., & Krammer,R, 2009).

Managing diversity is a new trend that all (most of) companies are ready to try and succeed. Workforce diversity is the differences between employees in terms of age, gender, appearance, work experience, religious belief and alike. Even though there is no specificdefinition for diversity management, according to Kandola and Fullerton (1994) as cited by Armstrong (2006), managing diversity

"is founded on the premise that harnessing these differences will create a productive environment in which everyone will feel valued, where their talents are fully utilized, and in which organisational goals are met". (p.151)

Ahuja et al (2009) categorize these diversity factors into primary and secondary;

Primary Dimension - human differences that are inborn and/or that exert an important impact on a person's socialization and an impact on them throughout their lives. e.g. Age, Gender, Ethnicity, etc,

Secondary Dimension - Differences that can be changed, differences that are acquired, discard and/ or modify throughout our lives. e.g. Education, Work experience, Religious Belief, etc.

There is a bigger picture used by Gardenswartz and Rowe(Irwin,1995) the "4 Layers of Diversity", based on

PERSONALITY (inner circle)

"Personality", the dimension which constitutes the core of this model, covers all aspects of a person that may be classified as "personal style".

INTERNAL DIMENSIONS (2nd circle)

"Internal dimensions " or "core dimensions" are considered to be dimensions that may not be easily changed by individuals and are thus taken into account by the relevant equal treatment acts.

Gender

Nationality and Ethnicity

Social Class Background

Sexual Orientation

Age

Mental and Physical Capability

Religion / Worldview

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EXTERNAL DIMENSIONS (3rd circle)

"External dimensions" are characterised by their variableness. "Religion" or "worldview" are exceptions, which is why they are highlighted. They could be regarded as "internal dimensions" for two reasons: Firstly, religion and worldview cannot always be chosen freely and secondly, discrimination as a result thereof is legally forbidden.

Geographic Location

Income

Personal Habits

Recreational Habits

Religion/ Worldview

Educational Background

Work Experience

Appearance

Parental Status

Marital Status

ORGANISATIONAL DIMENSIONS (outer circle)

"Organisational dimensions" are defined by corporate or institutional affiliation.

Functional Level / Classification

Work Content / Field

Research Interests / Field of Study

Faculty / Centre / Department / Branch of Study / Services and Facilities

Work Location / Study Location

Type of Employment

Duration of Employment / Duration of Study

Following questin were asked for the survey

What do you think are the hallmarks of your organization that promotes "diversity" in the workplace?

Do you think Diversity is important to your organisation and why?

Do you support the creation of a committee to address diversity-related issues in the work place? Please explain

Do you know if your organization has a "diversity policy" (e.g. regarding hiring, promotion, retention)? If so, do you think your organization adheres to its diversity policy? Please explain.

Do you think your organisation works better with diversity?

What do you see as the most challenging aspect of a diverse working environment? What steps have you taken to meet this challenge?

What kinds of experiences have you had working with others with different backgrounds than your own?

Tell me about a time you had to alter your work style to meet a diversity need or challenge?

How have you handled a situation when a colleague was not accepting of others' diversity?

What does it mean to have a commitment to diversity and how would you develop and apply your commitment at this company?

What was/is the diversity value at your current/former employer? What impact did you make on this value?

What efforts have you made, or been involved with, to foster diversity competence and understanding?

What have you done to further your knowledge about diversity? Have you included diversity in your professional development? How have you demonstrated what you have learned?

What kind of leadership efforts would you make to ensure a commitment to the diversity initiative or value?

What strategies have you used to address diversity challenges? What were the positives and negatives

As I have done my survey in two different sectors(food and public) as you can see they are quite different from each other. There were various challenges for both the food companies regarding working with diversity as Hindu's take cow as sacred animal the people from Hindu religion were not comfortable to touch beef on the other hand Muslim religion take pork as a bad animal so they were not comfortable to touch pork. But all of my interviewee were Muslims so they said as they were working sometimes in the stores other employee also accepted the fact that if they can work so we can also work. But they also added that some people left work after one day trial. But to make things little better Subway has also introduced gloves for the employees when they are handling the concerned meat. On the other hand the interviewing the Canterbury city council's diversity manger told me that they have accepted Hijab (woman's clothing to cover their head and body) to cover their head at work place and so they accepted dagger and covering their head as the part for Sikh religious group which was not allowed before but all the UK city councils have to alter the work style to accept the diverse religion clothing. When I asked all these people about the impact they made on them all of their answer was it was good impact because everyone has their own beliefs and someone's dressing or colour doesn't make any difference to our work culture. To make things better Domino's has a store meeting once every month and same is with Subway but they also have a 6 months regional meeting where people meet the other working colleagues. MR. Ibrahim(from Subway name changed) also added that sometimes they ask the diverse group to make their traditional foods so everyone can share different food altogether that really brings the diversity together in our organisation. On the other hand the council has various ways of bringing people together in the various departments by organising different events and parties which are more official. All the employees of these organisations have to sign a diversity and equality form which is quite common in UK before you join work. There were very less circumstances when other work colleagues did not accept the diversity of the other culture but there were some problems with the communications which was quite common in all three because of different accent and work culture of different people but as there were set of rules for everyone to follow in food industry on line to work so everyone was alright after a while but on the other hand in the public sector there were some big mistakes done by following the rules as the people did not take the confidentiality matters serious which also lost their jobs and there were some cases where people were bias to their diverse culture. The best thing which I came into my learning was sometimes when people needed help with the language the staff of all these organisation was a trump card to deal with such issues as I have also mentioned the example in the beginning of my essay(from subway).

Recent updates in the news and My personal experience.

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1 October 2010 Last updated at 12:54 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11446650)

"Everyone is protected by the new law," says the Equality and Human Rights Commission

New rules aimed at banning discrimination by employers, covering areas such as age, disability and pay, have come into force across Britain. The Equality Act covers many workplace areas and draws nine separate pieces of legislation into a single Act. Equalities Minister Theresa May says it will now be easier for firms to comply with anti-discrimination rules. However, some business groups argued the new legislation will impose a heavy burden on employers.

The University of Kent also recommends and conducts Equality and Diversity courses for its staff members. It even requires some of its key staff members to work through these courses. The University does it for promoting cultural understanding within its staff and cultivating a better and richer work environment.

I myself being an Indian origin it never made things differenmt for me to work in various organisations but as I travel lot the things are only different when I have to walk through immigrations I always have to answer the questions why I was coming to UK and how long is my course in my study days and they always now ask me where do I work when I have work permit on my passport. But what I really feel bad is that an immigration officer has already made a decision on my application and my passport has a valid visa so why do they need to ask such questions to me when their duty at the terminal is to check the validity of the visa and passport. But no one can answer these questions and the discussions can go forever.

Critical view and Conclusion:

As I said previously said that the theoritical knowledge of books are different to the practical life. When it comes to the organisations they only need the employees to work towards the motive of an organisation rather than thinking of the diversity as a role to play at work. The story is bit different when it comes to religion and beliefs but as It came into my survey in the food industry they can be avoided in the public sector but these issues cannot be avoided. But in my view in this globall world diversity dosent matter.