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In today's modern world equal employement opportunities are something everyone is aware of and days gone when EEO was not very important factore when running an organization. First of all I will like to explain what EEO is all about.
Equal employment opportunity is more moral issue than legal issue but still it is enforceable through law and companies which don't follow EEO are most jurisdiction directly violating the law and punishable under law through fines and penalties or in some case imprisonment.
The purpose of EEP is to make place of work free from any form of discrimination or saying it other way EEO make sure that only thing consider in workplace is the performance of individual in its job regardless of any discrimination, harassment or any other illegal thing considered.
EEO initiatives taken are mean to assist of people to make them realize their true potential at job and grow in their job only on the basis of their performance at work and therefore to motivate people who are more vulnerable to be discriminated because of belongingness to any religious, ethnic or other groups.
It is very important to have rules, policies and practice in the organizations together with behaviour, these must be fair and free free bias and do not undermine any one from exercising their full potential and go on to pursue a career route which is the one they want to. This is way modern organization follow EEO because under this environment, their people feel comfortable, respected and valued, which help them put their full potential in the work. The most notable group which are normally covered in EEO are women or the member of any racial, ethnic-religious minority groups together with people who are disabling.
Factors affecting discrimination at work place:
There are a number of factors which affect or in fact contribute to discrimination in an organization and can be summarize into two different categories.
External factors are those factor which not exist for one organization but research suggest they significantly affect the level of discrimination in the organization.
The most important of them is national culture." national culture influences the extent to which discrimination will occur in organizations, particularly due to cross-cultural variability in the extent to which discrimination against certain groups is codified in cultural norms (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman & Gupta, in press; The World Values Survey, 1994).
The legal environment in which an organization operate contribute to the level of discrimination as the present of legal regulation prevent organization from discriminating against race, religion, colour, etc.
The economic condition of the country where organization operate affect and contribute in the discrimination prevalent in the organization as strong economic condition ensure less discrimination while on the other hand weak condition will make organization more rigid and employees more weak due to recession or un employment level etc.
Internal Factors: There are number of internal factors which somehow contribute to the level of discrimination in the organization such structure of organization, organizational structure, leadership, strategy, HR system and organizational climate.
Formal structure lead to more discrimination than informal structure such as most widely belief that there is kind of glass ceiling which lead to barriers which are though not visible but still prevent vulnerable groups such women or racial minorities from accessing senior management and this can proved from statistics that these groups are under represented in higher management for example women make up to 47% of workforce in United States but have only 34% representation in the higher management position such as managers while racial minorities 15%.
Informal structure: The patterns of informal relation also affect the discrimination in organization. "Racial minorities often lack access to informal social networks in organizations because participation in informal groups is influenced by socio cultural similarity or "homophily" " (Ibarra, 1993). Similarly, "women tend to belong to gender-segregated networks within organizations (Brass, 1985)". "The result of segregated networks is that women and racial minorities tend to be less central to the networks of the dominant coalition and hence receive fewer favourable organizational outcomes such as access to information about jobs, organizational status, and mobility (Ragins & Sundstrom, 1989; Seidel, Polzer, & Stewart, 2000)".
Organization Culture: organization normally focus on removing discrimination to vulnerable groups through hiring of people from these vulnerable groups rather than emphasizing on basic reason which lead to discrimination such as such as in an organization's basic assumptions and values, or culture (Carnevale
& Stone, 1995; Triandis, Kurowski & Gelfand, 1994)
Leadership: "Without the full commitment of upper-level leaders in an organization, diversity initiatives are likely to fail and thus discriminatory practices are unlikely to be eradicated" (Cox & Blake, 1991).
Strategy: "When strategies for advancing diverse employees and creating a culture of inclusiveness are embedded within an organization's strategic business plan, consequent levels of discrimination tend to be lower" (Catalyst, 1993; USDOL, 1995).
Human Resource Systems :
"Human Resource practices play a critical role in shaping the extent of discrimination that occurs within an organization by influencing the access that employees have to opportunities and valued rewards within the organization (access discrimination) as well as their treatment as organizational citizens" (treatment discrimination; Levitin, Quinn & Staines, 1971).
"Climate is most accurately viewed as one manifestation of the culture" (Schneider,2000) that "reflects shared perceptions of the organization's policies, practices and procedures, as well as employees' perceptions of the kinds of behavior that management rewards, expects,and supports" (Reichers & Schneider, 1990)
From the above analysis it can be concluded that discrimination with in an organization is not something simple and straight forward but it's a complex thing which is based on multiple determinations.
Therefore organization are required to determine how their policies, process, structure, culture and practices either individually or combination with one another lead to discrimination.
Impact of discrimination on an organization and its employees:
There are number of impact of discrimination on an organization and its employees. First of all I would like to discuss the impact of discrimination on employee.
Discrmination can cause huge impact on an employees or little impact on an employees depends on number of factors but for oraganization continue to run in future this impact will remain till long time.
There are number of ways an employee can be discriminated and which also to some extend determine impact on him/her and his/her performance.employees may discriminated by not receiving cooperation from its co workers as expected or by receiving a negative feedback from people working under him/her based on his/her belonging to particular group. The impact of discrimination would be psychological disturbance or emotional problems which will lead lack of interest and performance due to mainly low moral,
Thus finally this discrimination would lead to either employee leaving the organization in that case lost of talented person to a competitor or low performance that would ultimately affect the overall performance of organization.
"One of the most widely researched issues regarding discrimination based on gender especially in pay in the workplace is pay"(Blau and Kahn, 2007). While latest work mostly "focused on the gender and labor market discriminations as the main sources of gender pay inequalities, the role of other factors has not been systematically scrutinized in a single research" (Rynes and Bono, 2000)."The fact that female employees consistently perceive less pay as fair in comparison with male employees suggests that victims of the gender pay gap may be at least likely to be aware that the gapexists. Alternatively, women may recognize pay disparities but accept them by considering other aspects of work as more important than do men. Women may 'restore psychological
equity in the face of actual inequalities, which they may view as beyond they power to redress'" (Jackson and Grabski, 1988: 623).
The impact of discrimination for an organization could be in the form of financial loss but most of the time the impact is non financial but moral.
One of recent incident of loss due to discrimination occur in the year 2000 when Coca-Cola Co settled a class-action racial discrimination lawsuit for $192.5 million, which was preceded by Texaco Inc.'s settlement for $176.1 million and Shoney's Inc.'s settlement for $132 million (King & Spruell, 2001).
In reality "the financial costs associated with discrimination settlements extend beyond the costs of the actual settlement to include negative stock price
changes, presumably due to investor perceptions that discriminating firms may have less talented and committed workforces, high operating costs due to turnover, absenteeism, and job dissatisfaction, poor reputations with diverse customers, and/or lower organizational adaptability" (Wright, Ferris, Hiller & Kroll, 1995)
due to discrimination the social and economic disparity increase which weaken social cohesion and unity with in society which ultimately result in huge loss of human resources and talen.
Strategies to overcome discrimination:
The general public around the world is much more aware now due to the globalization and internet age, which has bring a new era where free flow of information connection of people beyond boundaries lead to a kind global society and therefore not only organization working in highly industrialize countries are making anti discrimination policies and codes to show their employee, shareholder and other stakeholder that they are following high standards of ethics and morality and are against any discrimination.
The information age made todays public much more aware and connected though they mile apart and therefore today discrimination is illegal in most jurisdiction mostly those where there is democracy and therefore in order to catch best and brightest people and retain them every organization is in the race to make their environment free from any discrimination and based on equal opportunities.
organizational should create a climate and culture which must be intolerant and against to any form of discrimination, of designing and development of an human resource which truly reflect real values for inclusiveness.
The higher management must understand and suppot policies of zero tolerance to discrimination and penalize behaviours of individual or group who found to be involve in any form discrimination to any vulnerable individual or group
According Cava and Mayer (1993)"multinational organizations often feel pressure to follow local norms in the host country in which they are operating, in order to gain a competitive advantage. Many companies may simply "take the line of least resistance" (Hutchings, 1998), causing multinationals to be reluctant to transfer their own practices regarding discrimination to the host country.
But these organization should look in long term and take a wider perspective of the discrimination and implement its policies of anti discrimination if they cannot then they shouldn't go those countries in order to protect their reputation and to protect their employees.
The only way to overcome discrimantion in workplace and therefore increasing output and creation of environment of equal opportunities to everyone is possible by taking extensive measures which target to many issue (some of them we identified in this studies) and address them through a systematic way and by doing that organization can really and potentially eliminate all of forms of discrimination.
Today's competitive and dynamic business where every organization is putting its best to attract talented people, to promote their reputation in public and to generate more and more revenue by maximising operation efficiency (which only possible with help of employees) companies needed to remain aggressive on anti discrimination policies and first place to start is to make anti discrimination policy if there isn't any before and if there is one then the next step is to enforce it by various method such as penalising anyone who discriminate based on any reason and to promote diversity with in ranks of management by introducing more people from minority group's which are less represented in management ranks.
It is important that everyone understand organization stand on discrimination as there must be no ambiguity and senior management should present themselves as role model by following all the codes of conduct and policies which an organization including anti discrimination.
The role of senior management in preventing discrimination:
The senior management which leads in an organization including the board, CEO (Chief Executive Officer together with Top Management Team (TMT) are "instrumental in determining the direction that the organization will take with regard to diversity and discrimination. Leaders must first recognize the potential for discrimination in traditional organizational practices and structures, and believe in the need to value all employees and remove obstacles to their success". (Stoner & Russell-Chapin, 1997). The "CEO and top management team make important decisions regarding organizational strategies and resources, and they communicate the organization's priorities to all members and stakeholder groups" (Yukl & Van Fleet, 1992).
"The extent to which leaders choose to emphasize inclusiveness in the organization's strategy and the extent to which resources (i.e., personnel, money, time) are devoted to eliminating all forms of discrimination are indicators of leaders' priorities, and indicate which "types" of employees are valued" (Loden & Rosener, 1991).
The senior management can avoid and resist discrimination by bringing in systems which make sure there is enough accountability while on the other hand giving rewards for maintaining target of diversity.
While In condition when the executives such board and Top management team (TMT) have made up their mind to bring organizational strategic changes by increasing the already under representated minorities across the organization, in that case the chief executive officers title should serve as symbolic. Cox and Blake (1991) argue that "champions for diversity are needed to enact change - and the CEO is in a very good position to passionately pursue change, role model the behaviors required for change, and help the organization to move forward as such a leader can help to establish an inclusive organizational culture through persistent communication of and visible support for all programs and policies aimed at reducing discrimination (Stoner & Russell-
In addition, "when successes occur, he or she would provide rewards and
retrospective interpretations consistent with the desired values and in this manner, a CEO who demonstrates commitment to eliminating all forms of
discrimination throughout the organization may play a crucial role in transforming an organization from monolithic (or plural) to multicultural (Cox, 1994)
Influence of female versus male CEO:
There are number of factors which affect the influence an individual can put of them gender is one which is very important to some extend and very widely considered as well.
As we all know man and women are very different but mainly in large categories where one is their physical makeup and other is the biological makeup which is mainly due to genetic makeup.
As far my belief is concern I do believe that man are more influential CEO than women in multinational organization and I disagree with the view that female are influential CEO than man based on number of factors and few of them are mention below.
One of the research completed by university of California says that men are more taker than women, in other words women are risk averse while men are risk taker. This study was conducted on varieties of activities including gambling etc while they pay attention their behaviour by changing the expected outcome with its impact.
There was another study conducted based on financial decision making capability of both genders based on risk results of study shows that there were no difference on gender specifically although there were difference due to many other reason.
Therefore I think the position of Chief executive officer should be taken by someone who is more open minded and will be willing to take uncertain decision whose outcome can be negative and sometime very severe while women are risk averse than men I believe it place them less likely to support uncertain decisions and therefore may unlikely receive popular support from its colleagues who might feel opportunities are avoided because of poor appetite of risk of CEO.
The point which I would like put forward in this connection is regarding financial decision making capabilities in women and men. We all know that business run with some degree of risk and if there is no risk than its not business but something else and "the more we are willing we are take risk the more we can get return" is common belief and everyone understand it.
Problem solving skills:
It is very widely believe and to some extend I do agree with it that men are more smart in solving complex problems than women
The Impact of Stereotypes:
The is big impact of stereotype on decision making process and which show that what people belief about themselves and believe that it is truth, that drives their ability to make decisions.
As we all know that as young kid boys games were more riskier than girls one which to my belief groom them and make them more able to take these role like CEO.
In the past since hundred of years men were the dominate figure which led the culture and society and women have very limited role and still its not last hundred or so year that changes are brought in and women's are more empowered.
But still till now in some culture with in some areas around the globe where men is a dominate and make decision and their social structure based on this men dominance and influence have worked for many hundred years or even I would like to say it more thousand years.
And therefore by making this point through bringing historical perspective I would like argue that since men has always been responsible for leading and decision and it had worked therefore men CEO could better lead an organization than a female CEO as female CEO would be less influential therefore not very suited generally for such a leading position with in multinational company especially where scale of operation is quite large and operation quite complicated and risk involve is very high.
Despite of all the media hype and slogans of women empowerment in the past hundred or so years when women are given equal opportunities and treatment, but still statistic suggest they are less likely to grow to managerial positions as one of the study suggest that woman make up almost 50% of work force but only represent 34% at managerial positions while another suggest that although 25% to 35% of all the attorneys are women but just 5-15% end up in being a partner in law firms.
The reason behind this imbalance is not one but generally is due to fact that being a female affect their abilities to take decisions than men and therefore women despite of all these change in society in most of the developed countries still less likely to fit in, at a decision making position no matter if it is running a small law firms or it is running a country by becoming politician.
There couldn't be any perfect answer on that issue of whether make CEO is more influential than female and therefore it is very difficult and I would like to say it impossible to give any final, conclusive answer to this question.
But considering all these fact and statistic in mind I would argue that men are more influential CEO and therefore are better suited for this position then their female counterpart as the role chief executive officer involve leadership and decision making skills which are generally lack in women due to probably their genetic make up and to some extend social and cultural environment in which company operates although it is said that social and cultural environmental affect can be changed but we can see from past that these culture have worked well since hundreds of years and therefore this argument is not enough that by changing social and cultural environment one can change the role and influence of women.
By making all these argument I would like to conclude that though men and women should be given equal opportunities to grow and succeed but for the position chief executive office of an multinational company with considering the need for influence the person need by virtue of its status is more suited men and therefore I don't agree with notion that female CEO can be influential than male CEO.
It is very important for an organization to provide its employee as positive and discrimination free open environment as first of all it is a legal responsibility for an organization to follow the laws or otherwise would have to serve punishment in the form of fine and penalties or imprisonment as mention above.
Not only it is a legal obligation but it is essential for the success for an organization as having a environment which is free from discrimination would improve positive image of the organization in front of stakeholders which is very important for survival but these benefit are not limited to the non financial benefit but there are significant gain for the organization if it make effective non discriminatory policy and implement it and make sure every one at every level or position follows with top management serves role model. By taking these steps organization can improve its performance substantially while retain and attracting best and brightest people which are bring talent to the company and make its future more prosperous.