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Cultural Diversity at work todays workplace is increasingly divers in age, gender, and national origin. Diversity has brought problems to organizations, but it has also brought strengths. Changing demographics have contributed to change in management styles, making effective communication central to success in carrying out the organization's business.
Components of communication
Communication is a procedure of transmitting and receiving verbal and nonverbal message. Communication is measured efficient when it accomplishes the most wanted feedback or answer from the receiver. It is further declared that, communication is a two-way method of replacing thoughts or knowledge. Factors interact in the communication processes, affected by various contextual conditions and decisions. All countries, cultures, and companies or groups have their own principles for demonstration and corresponding information.
, experience, and expectation. You must consider all these aspects of context in order to communicate a message effectively.
The United kingdom is often thought of as "the great melting pot" where anyone from any background can assimilate into a single society. Most Britain's hold the belief that every human being is of equal worth, entitled to the same privileges and opportunities, regardless of race, gender or age. As Britain's continue to value and maintain this cultural expectation, the concept of diversity will permeate the workplace and become a necessity to the success of organizations large and small. As businesses compete in a more global arena, the value of different perspectives and talents will be vital to an organization's survival and growth. This fundamental belief forces managers to embrace and comprehend the concept of workplace diversity, its barriers and benefits. Workplace diversity is a multi-faceted concept that will continue to evolve as more industries move toward a global marketplace. The globalization of business is changing the face of the Britain workforce thereby emphasizing the importance of effective leadership in managing diversity in the workplace. Managers will be expected to have a firm understanding of managing a diverse workforce to be effective in positioning organizations for future business opportunities.
Learning to effectively manage and embrace the concept of diversity must initiate from an understanding of the concept.
In simpler words the term cultural diversity" refers to the member from a number of different ethnicities or different religious and cultural background living together in one geographic land.
within an organization, a specified area or region or population.
When there is a multiplicity of sub cultures and there exist a number of value systems
they give rise to cultural diversity.
According to Church (1995):
We define diversity in an organizational setting in terms of a collective of individuals who differ from each other on one or any number of dimensions including culture, values, education, gender, marital status and age. Diversity deals with visible and invisible characteristics.
According to Parvis (2003), Dimensions of diversity include but are not limited to: age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, work experience, ethnicity, physical abilities/qualities, educational background, geographic locations, income, marital status, military experience, parental status and job classification (p.37). In the context of the workplace, valuing diversity means creating a workplace that respects and includes these differences, recognizing the unique contributions that individuals with many types of differences can make, and creating a work environment that maximizes the potential of all employees. Diversity is about having the long-term goal that the organization's workforce should generally reflect the population of the state it serves in all dimensions. The concept of diversity highlights our differences as individuals; however, the value of workplace diversity is that these differences create an entity that is far more powerful and greater than the sum of its individual parts. Employers must broaden their concept of what diversity is, how it will impact their organization and what they need to do to prepare for the inevitable future.
The concept of diversity and the term affirmative action are often used interchangeably. When defined there is a clear difference.
According to Cole (2003):
"Nothing is so sure as change!" As antiquated as the concept of diversity may strike us, the notion has real and immediate relevance to today's business communities. The case for embracing diversity in the workplace is built on the changing labor force demographics. Consider the following facts: The traditional hierarchical, large, white male-dominated corporate structure is not the norm any longer. By 2010, the Hispanic labor force is projected to be larger than the African-American labor force. Asians will continue to be the fastest growing group in the labor force (projected to increase by nearly 45% this decade). Women currently comprise nearly half of the labor force. The majority of workers entering the workforce this decade will be woman, minorities and foreign nationals. The labor shortage that began in the 1990's will continue to grow and is projected to reach 10 million workers by 2010.
ConAgra Foods, Inc. is a company that employs over forty thousand people. According to the above statistic, twenty thousand of ConAgra's employees are women. Since the majority of workers entering the workforce will be minorities, including women, by the year 2010, over 65% of the employees within the organization will be minorities. It is evident by the changing demographics that diversity consciousness must be an integral part of a corporate culture. Diversity is a business issue rooted in real measurable dynamics occurring in both the workforce and in the marketplace. This new workforce will, of course, mirror the changing demographics of the country. As a result, the new workforce will be comprised of older workers, more women and greater numbers from minority groups.
As in conclusion, understanding the concept of diversity is the prelude to answering why diversity in the work place is significant. Many thought the concept of diversity to be a "fad" that would be significant for a while then fade. Diversity is not based on one person's ideas or on one interesting way of looking at things. Instead, it is a concept that should matter to every single one of us, both personally and professionally. When a group or segment of the population is excluded or oppressed, all are denied. For businesses and communities to survive and flourish, a society must be aware and sensitive to all members within. When all society segments are respected and utilized it is beneficial to the whole. When we as individuals are not considered part of the mainstream, we find ourselves struggling to find our place.
Main Cause of Cultural Diversity
\isthe coming together of people from many different ethnic and religious backgrounds, such as the immigrants who helped establish the United States.
Here by the example has been given to get better idea of cultural diversity from one of the best organizations of the world.
"The Coca-Cola Company is a model employer for diversity and inclusion within its own work force and as a member of the larger business community. Its leadership on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the workplace is not only reflected in its long-standing achievement of 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index, but in its principled support of anti-discrimination legislation that would protect every worker in the United States from being judged on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
President, Human Rights Campaign
They believe that associates who are inspired and valued create superior results. They strive to be a great place to work for all of our 92,400 associates globally by fostering safe, open, inclusive and healthy work. They want to ensure that our Company is as diverse and inclusive as our brands and our business.
Their inclusive culture is defined by their seven core values: leadership, passion, integrity, collaboration, diversity, quality, and accountability. Their 2020 Vision is the roadmap that guides every aspect of our business. An unwavering focus on people is essential to our achieving sustainable, quality growth. Their People goal is to "Be a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be." This is supported by our efforts to create a winning culture that defines the attitudes and behaviours that will be required of us to make their 2020 Vision a reality.
Advantages of Cultural Diversity:
You're able to meet other people of different cultural backgrounds while learning something new that you didn't know about the culture.
Hiring a workforce that is culturally diverse can only be beneficial to your business because it provides a point of view from sources that are totally unique.
How Your Business Benefits from Diversity
Your business will need people with many different skills and experiences. By choosing people of varying backgrounds your business can benefit from the different experiences these people have gone through. The cultures they were raised in can prove to be very important to your company. If you have employees with a variety of backgrounds then you have people with a much different point of view than your own. It's that different point of view that you need to have.
A Different Perspective
A different point of view can be invaluable to your business. The cultures that people come from can provide your company with opportunities that you may have not seen or known about. Ideas for products that cater to a particular culture or community of people can come from your employees. By hiring a diverse set of people you give your company a better chance to tap into markets that you might not have realized even existed.
Business Is about Opportunity
Small business is about finding opportunities and taking advantage of them. You need every edge you can get as a small business owner and the source of the opportunity or bit of insight should not matter to you as much as the results do. People come from a great many backgrounds and there is no reason that your business shouldn't benefit from it. The question is will you hold your business back or embrace the idea of cultural diversity in your workforce?
Diversity Is an Advantage
Your business needs every edge you can give it and besides, nowadays it's just good business sense to hire a diverse workforce. Besides the experience that people of other cultures can provide, you also give yourself a larger pool of potential employees in which you can hire from. That benefit alone can be immensely valuable to your company. Opportunity exists all around you but sometimes it takes someone from another culture to point it out to you.
Reason to Establish Cultural Diversity
There are many good reasons to establish solid cultural diversity initiatives in the workplace. When you have a diverse cultural group of employees, it shows you recognize and celebrate the differences which exist in different backgrounds. It is important to realize the value of all people and what worthy contributions each individual can bring to the workplace.
In addition to these humanistic values, there are also some tangible business reasons for managing diversity. Actively pursuing to achieve diversity in the workplace can directly impact productivity and profitability. When you invest in diversity you can create a larger pool of talent which can provide you with a competitive edge in your industry.
When your organization is comprised of groups of people with different experiences and backgrounds, more innovative and creative ideas are a distinct result. It is only natural people who have varying life experiences and perspectives would be able to come up with unique solutions to problems which may not arise from groups who think similarly; this is of great value to an organization. The dynamic exchanges which occur between people with different perceptions often yield creative results.
Many organizational studies have come to conclude promoting diversity lowers absenteeism rates, can lower employee turnover costs and decrease liability in discrimination lawsuits (Robinson and Dechant, 1997). All of these issues which plague a company are costly, but by taking the time and resources to invest in diversity initiatives, you can alleviate many of these problems. Ultimately it equates to cost savings in your bottom line, which is an obvious solid business argument for promoting diversity.
When your organization invests in cultural diversity it better reflects today's business environment because you have faces representing different populations. Your employees are a valuable resource because there is an increase in marketplace understanding. This is also more appealing to customer base because there will be employees which customers identify with; this can even lead to growth of your customer base.
Global relationships are another aspect to consider. When you are engaging in business on the international level, you will encounter different philosophies and approaches to doing business. When you have a diverse group of employees, you can better reach out on a worldwide level because you'll receive a better understanding of how other cultures do business, and this is a vital component when doing business in today's global marketplace.
When your organization invests in diversity initiatives, this will ultimately equate to the betterment of the financial position of your company. Research has proven that companies which put an emphasis on diversity experience exponential business growth, increased innovation, and higher quality problem solving, all of which add considerable value to your company.
Investing in cultural diversity in your organization today is as valuable as investing in other initiatives such as technology or marketing. It is important to realize that in order to establish successful diversity in your organization, it has to start with management and work down and become a solid part of the organization's foundation.
If this can be achieved, the business can fully appreciate and realize the many benefits of cultural diversity in the workplace.
Robinson, Gail and Dechant, Kathleen "Building a Business Case for Diversity"
Organizations employing a diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences in suggesting ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands.
A diverse collection of skills and experiences (e.g. languages, cultural understanding) allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis.
Variety of viewpoints
A diverse workforce that feels comfortable communicating varying points of view provides a larger pool of ideas and experiences. The organization can draw from that pool to meet business strategy needs and the needs of customers more effectively.
More effective execution
Companies that encourage diversity in the workplace inspire all of their employees to perform to their highest ability. Company-wide strategies can then be executed; resulting in higher productivity, profit, and return on investment.
Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace
Taking full advantage of the benefits of diversity in the workplace is not without its challenges. Some of those challenges are:
Communication - Perceptual, cultural and language barriers need to be overcome for diversity programs to succeed. Ineffective communication of key objectives results in confusion, lack of teamwork, and low morale.
Resistance to change - There are always employees who will refuse to accept the fact that the social and cultural makeup of their workplace is changing. The "we've always done it this way" mentality silences new ideas and inhibits progress.
Implementation of diversity in the workplace policies - This can be the overriding challenge to all diversity advocates. Armed with the results of employee assessments and research data, they must build and implement a customized strategy to maximize the effects of diversity in the workplace for their particular organization.
Successful Management of Diversity in the Workplace - Diversity training alone is not sufficient for your organization's diversity management plan. A strategy must be created and implemented to create a culture of diversity that permeates every department and function of the organization.
Recommended steps that have been proven successful in world-class organizations are:
Assessment of diversity in the workplace - Top companies make assessing and evaluating their diversity process an integral part of their management system. A customizable employee satisfaction survey can accomplish this assessment for your company efficiently and conveniently. It can help your management team determine which challenges and obstacles to diversity are present in your workplace and which policies need to be added or eliminated. Reassessment can then determine the success of you diversity in the workplace plan implementation.
Development of diversity in the workplace plan - Choosing a survey provider that provides comprehensive reporting is a key decision. That report will be the beginning structure of your diversity in the workplace plan. The plan must be comprehensive, attainable and measurable. An organization must decide what changes need to be made and a timeline for that change to be attained.
Implementation of diversity in the workplace plan - The personal commitment of executive and managerial teams is a must. Leaders and managers within organizations must incorporate diversity policies into every aspect of the organization's function and purpose. Attitudes toward diversity originate at the top and filter downward. Management cooperation and participation is required to create a culture conducive to the success of your organization's plan.
Recommended diversity in the workplace solutions include:
Ward off change resistance with inclusion. - Involve every employee possible in formulating and executing diversity initiatives in your workplace.
Foster an attitude of openness in your organization. - Encourage employees to express their ideas and opinions and attribute a sense of equal value to all.
Promote diversity in leadership positions. - This practice provides visibility and realizes the benefits of diversity in the workplace
Utilize diversity training. - Use it as a tool to shape your diversity policy.
Launch a customizable employee satisfaction survey that provides comprehensive reporting. - Use the results to build and implement successful diversity in the workplace policies.
As the economy becomes increasingly global, our workforce becomes increasingly diverse. Organizational success and competitiveness will depend on the ability to manage diversity in the workplace effectively. Evaluate your organization's diversity policies and plan for the future, starting today.