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Diversity is unique human qualities different from other individuals' or members of a group but similar to individuals and members of other groups (Managing Diversity in the Workplace). Every organization is prone and vulnerable to diversity despite its popularity or success. However, the degree and severity of diversity vary within organizations (Acker, 2006). Diversity in organizations is indispensable due to the natural differences of human beings for example different thinking and ideas, physical characteristics like color and features. Variations in personality and other factors have to be considered to avoid discrimination or instances where some people from feeling looked down upon. When a member of a group feels intimidated, they are a threat to the organization because they lose morale and motivation and eventually participate less in the team work as well as their duties. They become a liability.
Diversity in an organization can be rooted from differences in culture, gender religion, mental or physical abilities, heritage, age and race (Ramirez, 2010). It is very important for the administration and workers to manage these differences failure to which employee to employer and inter employee conflicts arise. First, every member of an organization must acknowledge, understand and respect the differences among members. Assimilation has proven complicated but organization members have to try and to achieve this, they should try and fit into another person's shoes.
A peaceful organizational structure is vital in ensuring good working conditions like good communication that improve staff productivity hence overall company output. Workplaces characterized with frequent wrangles by staff on negative talk geared towards making fun of people's differences are unproductive due to poor staff relations. It's important to understand how diversity affects performance, inspiration, accomplishment, and communication with others. Institutional configurations and practices that threaten to expand dimensions of diversity should be scrutinized, confronted, and removed. The process of managing diversity in an organization is every member's affair. All stakeholders should take part because this way, the planners can steer the stakeholders towards achievement of an organization's goals. It is therefore irresponsible of any organization member to fail to participate in the process. Nevertheless, managers play an essential role in the managing of diversity (Managing Diversity in the Workplace).
Managers are of great influence in an organization by being role models. Their effectiveness is measured by how well they relate and treat employees. A good manager listens and creates a good rapport with the staff. This way, the organization members feel free to share their ideas and concerns without fear of rejection or embarrassment. Such working relations are an added advantage to the manager because he is on the grass root level with his employees and therefore his chances of identifying diversity and its effect in a bid to find solutions to its disadvantages is heightened. Generally, managing diversity is the planning and implementation of a corporation and practices in a bid to achieve the advantages of diversity and minimize disadvantages the potential barriers to finding and implementing viable solutions (Managing Diversity in the Workplace).
To effectively manage diversity, the responsible party or group must acknowledge people's differences and value them as this will enhances virtuous management practices by averting discrimination and promoting inclusiveness. In addition, one should comprehend and respect the positive role of diversity in an organization. Diversity is important as it triggers innovations and creativity. Research shows that heterogeneous groups make better negotiations in finding solutions to problems. They also have a greater level of critical analysis. For example, a critical problem analysis is important for a college implementing change and contemplation in a bid to find effective and efficient ways to operate. Better work flow boosts an organizations reputation and ability to retrieve skilled competent personnel from the labor pool during selection and recruitment process.
However, some organizations especially those affected by groupthink, are prone to intrusive as opposed to deductive arguments about diversity. Moreover, there are consequences of assuming diversity does not exist when there is evidence it does. Such consequences can be mild and severe depending on the degree of diversity and include wasted time, money and effectiveness, unfit tension, reduced productivity, increased conflict and the inability to attract and retain highly qualified and fit members and consequently losses in training and recruitment investments (Managing Diversity in the Workplace).
A good manager of diversity must accept and be conversant with diversity concepts. It is important for them to understand that diversity is attached to every management aspect like culture. They should understand distinctiveness, prejudices, bigotries, and stereotypes. All in all; they should practice self-criticism. Self -criticism the ability to treat others how you would want them to treat you (Milyavskaya, 2011). A manager should have the capability to identify, challenge and alter practices that prevent diversity advantages despite organizational culture. They should thrive to do what is morally and ethically right in maintaining humanity coexistence as opposed to what the organizations consider right or wrong. Ethics come in handy where organizations have a majority of "similar" people. There is a likely hood that the minority group may be violated by organization policy especially if the organization is keen on maintaining tradition. The skill of managing diversity is distinct in the corporate industry especially at this time when flexibility and creativity are the keys to competitiveness and satisfying consumers (Lowry).
However, how individuals treat other individuals in an organization is a personal, moral and ethnic decision. It is important for persons recognize and respect the values and beliefs of fellow members. Persons should avoid talking about others behind their back, belittling their uniqueness or blaming them for it. Everyone should work to ensure everyone fits in an organization by avoiding picking on them or showing too much attention. Discrimination arising from diversity can be avoided through not assuming the existence of differences and by believing in different ways of accomplishing organizational goals.
Members should understand that everyone is different but bears the same ability to make it in life. In addition, honest relationships among employees and between management and employees should be maintained transparently. Supervisors should supervise without ignoring some members or paying too much attention at the expense of others. A good supervisor thrives to understand the uniqueness, strengths and weaknesses of every member and strives to help them by focusing on them (O'Connor, 1998). Assuming that the problems among members are similar is a step towards downfall.
Managers should also distribute working resources equitably as well as provide of equal opportunities and assignments to employees. There should never raise a situation where the manager favors an employee. All the workers should be treated similarly despite diversities. A manager who does so sets a good example for workers to manipulate. As stated earlier, high professionalism should be maintained in the process of shortlisting applicants to prevent focus on diversities but a person's working experiences and qualifications. For example, disability should not be considered a barrier to one's ability (Office for Disability Issues, 2010)
. A manager assigned with the task to manage diversity should also examine how unit policies, practices and procedures impact differently to different people and groups all in consideration of organizational behavior and beliefs about diversity. First of all, it is essential to briefly understand the different forms of diversities common in organizations.
One is cultural diversity. The culture of an organization embraces the suppositions, arts, principles, customs, standards, practices, procedures, norms, and expertise that define the purpose of an organization. Organizational culture defines the objectives, values, mission and vision of an organization, the rules for membership for example clauses and valid reasons for termination, issuance of dividends, partnership norms and ways to relate to others within and out of the organization. Prejudice is a decree made by members of an organization about other members of the same organization that reinforces a superiority or inferiority belief structure. Prejudice results in voluntary and involuntary separation based on the belief (Ramirez, 2010).
Cultural discrimination arises where there is existence of superior and inferior groups. The superior group is dominant has power and receives privileges and are more likely to be the decision makers while the group considered 'inferior' is assigned with "small" tasks and most commonly are never allowed to participate in the decision making process (Green, Kepner, López & Wysocki, 2002). Though sometimes these inferior groups are present in boardrooms, they are prone to their ideas being considered ineffective or lacking impact.
The other form of diversity is Gender-based differences in an organization. Despite the efforts of sameness, gender diversity always manifests in an organization. Gender based differences will always arise where women and men interact and in most time where superiority complex exist, cause conflict and bad relationships or crude aggressive competition (Hahn and Litwin, 1995). In most scenarios, these misunderstandings arise unknowingly in a normal, environment. There is scientific and physical evidence of differences between the genders which cannot be ignored (Tannens, 1990). Such differences are in communication, expectations and working styles (Gilligan, 1982).
However, common gender based barriers to diversity include believes that masculine behaviors in an organization are more likely to increase success levels as opposed to feminine characters (Loden, 1985). Some companies are so soaked up in the belief that administrators and key decision makers are strictly male. For example in a research by (Giuliano et al, 2006), he concluded that there are higher rates of quitting and dismissals where the manager is same sex with dismissed member. Under such circumstances, he revealed lower rates of promotion.
The other form of diversity is Racial diversity which is diversity based on race. According to Nichols, the census bureau predicts that racial differences are not ending soon a great reason why embracing racial diversity in organizations should be a key strategy (Krymkowski, 2010). A study by (Smith, 2002) revealed that in the distribution of authority in workplaces, men are prioritized upon and have higher wages than women despite same education levels. Finding from other research by (Giuliano et al, 2006) indicates that Hispanics quit rates were 8 percent higher than those of whites while the quit rates for whites was twenty seven percent higher compared to Asians. Dismissal rates were thrice higher for blacks than whites while promotion rates for whites were 60 percent higher than for blacks, 28 percent higher than Hispanics, and 48 percent higher than Asians (Giuliano et al, 2006).
They also discovered that racial disparities between managers and employee negatively impacted on black and Hispanic employees but positively on white employees. The research concluded that overall, the blacks were most affected by different race management. That is, under such diverseness, their dismissal rate rose by one-half and their promotion rates dropped by two-thirds (Giuliano et al, 2006).
To curb racism in a working environment, a manager should be well educated on gender issues for example through participating in workshops. There is a propensity for people to assume all people are similar to them. Learning gender issues lead to exploration of startling discoveries that improve understanding of diversity (Ramirez, 2010). Learning also makes it easier for members of an organization to understand the negative effects of diversity and the best techniques of managing and changing any misconceptions. As members of the workplace, managers may have difficulty identifying biases prevalent in the organization. For this reason, it is advisable to invite and engage an outside expert who will direct and conduct the assessment of gender-biased elements on behalf of the manager (Ramirez, 2010). During the assessment, a manager should ask themselves the following questions to see whether they are succeeding at managing diversity:
â€¢ Do I test assumptions and investigate complaints before acting or making accusations?
â€¢ I'm I specific on one right technique of doing things, or do I allow any valid ways to achieve the same goal?
â€¢ Do I have honest relationships with each staff member?
â€¢ Do I motivate and properly supervise the staff to determine their goals and efforts in managing differences? Are you comfortable with each of them?
â€¢ I'm I capable of relaying negative feedback to a member who is different from me?
â€¢ Do I advocate for a diverse screening committee during interviews and do I take part in ensuring diverse candidates apply for vacancies?
â€¢ Do I explain the organization's policies and expectations on diversity to new employees?
â€¢ Do I regularly examine if organizational policies, practices, and procedures have negative effects on different groups and if so do I make efforts to adjust them?
â€¢ Do I indiscriminately listen to constructive feedback from my staff about ways to develop the work surroundings and if yes do I acknowledge and implement staff proposals?
â€¢ What action do I take on members who show lack of respect for another person's differences?
â€¢ Do I understand institutional isms and how they manifest themselves in the organization?
â€¢ Do I provide equal assignments and opportunities for development?
The manager should further ask questions to each worker questions individually to the employee. For example ask them to describe the strengths they convey to the workplace, characteristics they value in administrators and what features of the work they consider paramount. Focus on the issue of gender differences by asking members what exceptional, supplementary value the employee feels her or his gender brings to the workstation in a bid to understand the individual perspective of employees regarding gender. Managers should know how each employee benefit from the different gender-based traits of co-workers. (Giuliano et al, 2006).
Employees should be honest and include the frustrations encountered at work with members of the opposite sex and what behaviors they would advocate to show respect for the gender dissimilarities among them. It is imperative that all the details obtained through private interviews are reserved confidential. Another step is to create gender mixed groups so that members can discuss gender issues among them and how they can clearly explicit settlements on solutions that respect for and benefit from both gender-based styles (Tannen, 1990).
This process of sharing information about gender issues can be recurrently reinvigorated and armored. Refreshment is more effective upon occasions like termination of important meetings, to deliberate by what means members of each gender feel they collaborated in soliciting suggestions for refining group relations in the future (Tannen, 1990). During these meetings, the manager should listen carefully to discover the unique gifts of each individual as well as tap individual comments. This information is important as it provides crucial management information. Managers should understand workers' perception about them, nature of interaction among staff members and actions that perpetuate destructive diversity. The last step is to initiate change.
After learning getting informed, interrogations, discussions and assessment of the three distinctive levels of influence, a manager should reform his actions and relations as well as how they manage diversity. Based on the severity and form of diversity each manager's strategy may vary. Some managers believe that change begins with them and that the rest of the organization will follow. Others prefer to first introduce disparity issues explicitly to staff in meetings, declaring new policies, or inviting external persons like special consultants to co-work with the organization (Ramirez, 2010).
Advancement in technology has eased the management process because organization members can retrieve any information regarding disparity from books, audio and videos, workshops, seminars, study sessions, training programs, professional organizations, city human-rights commissions, unions and the company's human resources department. Information can be retrieved by sharing with other persons within or outside an organization through websites or social networks.
Most organizations today are heterogeneous meaning they have a measure of diversity (Hoffman & Bertels, 2007). Every heterogeneous organization must have key systems that assist them to achieve its diversity goals. The first scheme is the recruitment and hiring scheme. The HR recruitment team should provide individualized services to help identify resources that will attract a diverse pool of qualified candidates. Next is the performance management scheme which involves setting and stating performance standards and expectations, observing and providing feedback, and conducting appraisals. The performance should particularly be on diversity management. Note that it is important for management to collaborate on the setting of performance standards. Involving all employees in the decision making process regardless of diversities makes it is easy to gear employee efforts towards achieving particular goals. It also enables an organization to advance and allow employees professional growth.
When performing appraisals, managers should challenge without comparison for instant, one should never compare staff ability with another by criticizing their unique aspect. Most essentially, managers should focus on member behavior but not personally. This is important because every human being is different in their ways of performing particular tasks but eventually, the results are similar the same way different mathematical formulas can be used to solve a mathematical problem. However, the procedures used by an employee should be within the organization's code of conduct.
In conclusion, Managing diversity should center on capitalizing on the capacity of all employees to participate in the achievement of organizational goals. It is important to be conversant with the difference of managing diversity with affirmative action (Managing Diversity in the Workplace). Affirmative action centers on specific groups which have faced discrimination since historical times for instance blacks and women. Affirmative action arises from social and legal concerns while managing diversity is a business necessity. In other words, diversity's have negative impacts on an organization but this can be turned to benefits through proper management. In today's world where discrimination is considered a federal crime, differences in organizations cannot be subsided by beliefs or opinion. Therefore, the only applicable solution is managing this diversity the instance it proves a threat to the achievement of organizational goal.