"The concept of 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 organizational goals are met". (Kandola and Fullerton, 1994)
Organizational diversity means different kind of differences between the people at workplace. It is not as simple as it sound these differences can be of several kinds like age, gender and ethnic group etc.
According to Roosevelt Thomas "Managing Diversity is a comprehensive managerial process for developing an environment that works for all employees" (1991). Diversity can be a positive approach if it is correctly managed "spurring creativity, dynamism and excellence, renewing and refreshing a corporation, and ultimately improving the bottom line" (Aronson, 2002, 50).
According To Griggs (1995) mainly Diversity is classified into two dimensions, which are;
Primary or Genetic: The differences which came due to heredity or which are congenital falls under this category. These factors have a strong impact on person's social cultural life (Ruderman et al, 1996; Wellner, 2000).These factors shapes life-perspective of a person and provide a view of looking at the world. Moreover, this dimension is impossible to change. Like "Gender, Race, Age and sexual orientation"( Loden,1996). People most commonly differentiated by this dimension (Carrel, Elbert, Hatfield, Grobler, Marx & Van der Schyf, 1998).
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Secondary or Learned: Except primary factors some secondary influences are there which have a impact on seminal life, knowledge and values (Ruderman et al, 1996). These factors are not easily observable and are have more erratic effect on person's life (Loden, 1996). Normally impact of primary factors is more than secondary ones since secondary dimensions can be modified easily (Carrel et al, 1998).The factors falls under this category are : "Work Experience, Income, Marital status, Geographical location and Personal style"(Wentling and Palma-rivas 1997).
While evaluating Diversity it becomes necessary to discuss about the term Discrimination.
Discrimination simply means differentiation among people and then treating them in a different way from others (Iain Henderson, 2008). It can be classified into three types namely;
Direct: This discrimination take place when a company treats its employee less favorably due to their gender or race. Then it is considered as direct discrimination like in olden days military jobs are meant and open only for male applicants.
Indirect: "When a condition that disadvantages one group of people more than another" (Henderson, 2008: p.192), it is indirect discrimination. Example; If a job is only open for those who have clean shave but in this case it is not direct discrimination because here the point is that For example In a food handling job applicants with beard or moustache may cause a hygiene risk so they must be clean shaved (Henderson, 2008: p.192).
Harassment and Victimization: Harassment is related to daunting and scary human behavior like using abusive and foul language to torture other person. Whereas victimization can be defined as doggedly "treating somebody less favorably than others in a spirit of revenge" (Henderson, 2008: p.192).
Discrimination can also be classified as Lawful and Unlawful. Like in case of Age factor, if a person is older than the retirement age for that specific job, then in it that case employer can restrict that person or in other words the person is not eligible for that job; this is termed as direct discrimination. On the other hand in unlawful discrimination employees are terminated before their retirement age, without any solid reasons.
In one of the three reasons "why managers are concerned about diversity and equality at workplace" (Henderson, 2008: p.192) most important is the Legal case. It states that an organization is allowed to appeal against any case of discrimination occur in their organization. However this might affect their reputation in market, reduction in investors and stakeholders also company's own employees will get hurt. As employees will think this may happen with them also.
Although, several laws ("Age discrimination law 1975, Race discrimination law 1975, Sex discrimination and equal pay and unfair dismissal law" http://www.discrimination-law.org.uk/) are there to avoid discrimination and to provide equality in the organizations. Still it is observed that these laws are not sufficient to provide best results against different types of discriminations. For illustration according to a UK govt. official website in 2007, men salaries are still 13% more than the equally deserving women that clearly shows a 'gender gap' (Henderson, 2008: p.194).
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The best example for Unlawful discrimination is about Wal-Mart (World's biggest retailer) case where approx.1.5 million women filed a case for sexual discrimination in terms of difference between salaries and promotions with respect to men (Millman 2007).
There are some key influences to be practiced by an organization to have control on managing diversity. They are:
Impact of Managing Diversity on an Organization
An organization faces both negative and positive impacts due to Diversity. Some of them are discussed below.
Proficient implementation of strategies and Plans: Organization which obeys diversity policy inspires their people to show better results. So, all tactics, strategies and policies are competently implemented to give more revenue, higher productivity and maximizing the profit.
Customer Satisfaction: When a company is capable to understand the diverse nature of their employees then the organization is in much better condition to understand the needs of their customers in different countries.
Boost in adaptability: Company which is having variety of workforce and diverse culture are capable of providing better results and good performance. This is due to the fact that people from different cultures, background and experiences can easily survive in drastic market condition and can sustain in unpredictable market circumstances.
Individual and Organizational growth: People coming from diverse background bring their experiences and diverse ideas. Then these employees exchange their viewpoints and show their talents this makes possible the organization to choose from a variety of options available in organization itself which consistently contribute in individual and organizational growth.
All the facts described above validate that it is thoughtful and relevant to apply diversity management in an organization. Though, some researches shows that the advantages and benefits related with diversity doesn't come alone some challenges and disadvantages are also there which can be reduced by following the proper recommendations. This next section is dedicated to evaluate and realizing the problems and points for enhancements on workforce diversity.
Different Opinions: Different opinions among employees may increase the conflict between them and this make it more difficult for them to agree on same solutions. This leads to reduction in revenue and performance of the organization.
Lack of Communication: Due to the diverse culture and different level of knowledge leads to poor interaction between the employees.
High Costs: Company has to spend a huge amount in dealing with the problems arises due to lack of interaction and conflict in the organization.
Less Effective: It is not as effective as it appears just like equality it promises more than it can provide (Gill kirton & Anne-marie Greene 2005, p.127).
Above mentioned facts show that; long list of advantages of diversity are actually debatable and need more research for the successful implementation of this concept.
Challenges and Recommendations of Managing Diversity in Workplace
Successful management: The most common challenge face by today's organizations is to successfully implementing diversity at their workplace. Moreover, just training for diversity is not enough to successfully implement this exercise but a complete strategy plan is necessary for the growth of every section of the organization.
Communication: For effective and successful completion of diversity an organization has to overcome some hurdles in between employees like language, cultural, ethical barriers. Taking into consideration that language mismatch cause lack of communication between employees which may result in lots of confusion and that degrade the quality of work and its final result will cause low revenues for company.
Conflict to Change: This factor is related to the nature and mentality of employees actually some orthodox people in organization are not ready to accept the diverse nature of firm and they are not ready to accept the new changes & new work culture of the company.
Assessment: Nowadays some big firms make sure to put evaluation and investigation of diversity management as an important and internal part of their organizational structure. To check the efficiency of their employee satisfaction organization can perform modifiable survey and by this survey they are able to know the effectiveness of assessing the diversity management practice. Moreover it also helps the company in resolving and verifying the various hurdles and difficulties are present in their organization in the path of diversity and which new strategies are required to overcome them. After applying new strategies a reevaluation can be done to check the successive effectiveness of diversity in the company.
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Development Plan of Diversity: Raw input information is the basic requirement to develop a new diversity plan for the company. That information could be generated from the survey after completion if survey a report is generated, this report is the first step towards formation of diversity in organization. Company has to finalize which changes are required in specific duration of time which can be done with the help of that initiator report whose results are accountable and measurable.
Open Attitude: By Following this attitude employee will feel free to express their thoughts and ideas which are equally valuable to all employee also it encourages each employee to involve in diversity initiatives at organization.
Utilize Diversity Training: This is stated as the whole process and tool to tune up the diversity strategy.
The concept of diversity differs from country to country and it is very difficult to differentiate between managing diversity and equal opportunities also in theoretical terms, "discrimination and equal opportunities are not synonymous" (Kaler,2001:52) . As there are very less evidences present that show the positive results after implementation of diversity. According to Webb (1997); in one of his case studied firm shows no effects in results, culture and structure of the firm after implementation of this policy. Moreover both the policies show almost 'sameness' agenda in training and recruitment procedures as well as in women concerned issues. In spite of above mentioned facts in some context diversity can be differentiated from equality approach (Gill kirton & Anne-marie Greene 2005, p.127). The facts are shown below;
However, in an interesting study by Kirton and Greene (2006), shows that the concept of 'managing diversity' have an edge on equal opportunities in another words equal opportunity policies distorted in comparison with managing diversity. The underlying principle behind this research is fact that equal opportunities rely upon "right-based initiatives" and on other hand managing diversity is based upon "Business-case oriented initiatives"( Kirton and Greene (2000 & 2009).
Additionally, alone diversity management is not sufficient for the whole success of organization (Van de Ven et al, 2008). It has to combine with other part of company like HRM. According to Miller (1996,206) in an Organization Managing Diversity can debatably be considered as HRM loom to equal opportunity initiatives. Also, in 1997 Dale states that HRM and Managing Diversity runs parallel to each other where "HRM is considered as the discovery of personnel management by Chief Executives and managing diversity is regarded as capturing of the territory of equal opportunities by managers". In fact, it is the most difficult challenge for HRM practitioners (Flynn, 1995:63). So Managing Diversity is one of the important factors responsible for Organizational growth and future.
After having analyzed all the factors of managing diversity related to an organization, it can be concluded that it has played an immensely vital role in strengthening the structure and overall growth of organization.
Discrimination plays a crucial role in defining diversity for the organization and states the different kinds of differences occur in the firm. It is supplemented with various laws that help in reducing discrimination in an organization. Types and influences of discrimination are also shown.
Moreover, it has also been analyzed the challenges face by the firm in implementing and profitably working of diversity. Some recommendations are provided to overcome the darker side and pitfalls of the diversity.
In Whole of this composition particulars associated to diversity were discussed. Finally it is concluded that it is very necessary for the organization to manage diversity positively to have an edge on their competitors and for higher growth rate. That can be visualized by analyzing the case study of successful implementation of diversity (Department of Labour, 1994; McCuiston et al, 2004; Torre,2009). On the other hand to obtain the same result and growth the firms who still have not put into practice diversity management should implement it.