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The world is becoming smaller every day. The Internet, mass media, telecommunications and mass transportation have all contributed to the shrinking of international market. Because of these technologies, there is a continuing necessity for companies to address the needs of a very diverse market so that they can be competitive. Companies must now ask themselves what they can do to increase the number of customers for which they serve while determining the needs of these customers. This business process makes diversity a crucial part of a company's growth and operation.
As companies are becoming more and more diverse it's becoming more and more important for companies to understand and manage it. The people of different background, races, religion creates diverse workforce. There is an importance of having diverse workforce to provide better performance. There are perspectives of managing the diverse workforce, which require organization leaders and managers of being responsible of attaining better diverse workforce.
WHAT IS DIVERSE WORKFORCE?
Diversity means differences, difference of age, sex, race, religion and culture etc. People with different demographic differences working in the organization makes diverse workforce. And it is becoming more important for the organizations to know about these differences and how to manage it. Diversity is also the common issue in the workforce environment, in some companies employees often get discriminated or misunderstood because of the diverse features. Diversity is increasing in every organization; In America 1 in 4 Americans belongs to a minority or is foreign-born.
My objectives for doing this term paper are discussed below:-
1) I want to know how a diverse workforce effects the relations of employees.
2) I want to know how to manage a diverse workforce.
3) Advantages and disadvantages of diverse workforce.
4) Cultural factors which can lead to conflicts among the relationship of diverse workforce.
5) Increasing demand of diverse workforce in the organizations.
6) How a diverse workforce can lead to more productivity and innovative ideas
So, all these objectives I need to fulfill with the help of this paper. My rest of the term paper will revolve around these objectives. I will try my best to accomplish this task.
EFFECT OF DIVERSE WORKFORCE ON LABOUR RELATIONS
People from different cultures may perceive the same situation in different ways. Productivity may increase in a multicultural work environment as each worker brings different abilities and skills that can be applied to solve problems. However those same differences have the potential to cause conflict, if workers are unable to work as a team, or if they refuse to work to their full capacity.
As the economies are shifting from manufacturing to service economies, diversity issues will gain importance because in a service economy effective interactions and communications between people are essential to business success. As globalization is increasing, diversity will help organizations to enter the international arena. Diversity enhances creativity and innovation and produces competitive advantages. Diverse teams make it possible to enhance flexibility and rapid response and adaptation to change.
Diversity has increasingly become a "hot-button" issue in corporate, political, and legal circles. For example, managing workforce diversity is one of the most difficult and pressing challenges of modern organizations. The demographic differences like sex, age, and were conventionally related to team level outcomes. Managers in public and private organizations will have to understand, predict and manage this intriguing nature of the diverse workforce. An understanding about the history of diversity management gives an idea about the evolution of the interest in a diverse workforce in organizations.
The workforce diversity emerged mainly to further the availability equal opportunities in the workplace. This equal opportunity philosophy is aimed at ensuring that organizations make the most out of the difference from a diverse workforce rather than losing talent which might assist the organization to be more efficient and effective. The increased mobility and interaction of people from diverse backgrounds as a result of improved economic and political systems and the recognition of human rights by all nations has put most organizations under pressure to embrace diversity at the work place
COMPONENTS OF A DIVERSIFIED WORKFORCE
MANAGING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE WHICH EFFECTS THE LABOUR RELATIONS
Companies can succeed at diversity if the initiative to create, manage and value the diverse workforce has the full support of the top management .The following are the conditions which would make workforce diversity a success in any organization:
The organization should assign this work to a senior manager. The organization should link concerns for diversity to human resource management decisions around recruitment, selection, placement, succession planning, performance management, and rewards.
The organization should create such a working environment as will increase the motivation, satisfaction, and commitment of diverse people.
Performance standards must be clearly and objectively established, effectively communicated, and used on objective criteria without any bias. Identify desirable and undesirable behaviors that must be based upon performance feedback discussions involving a diverse workforce.
The strategy (diversity or otherwise) must be based on the will of the human resources, strength, and culture of the organization. Managers must understand their firm's culture first and then implement diversity strategies according to that culture.
Training and development programs will improve the skills in dealing with the day to day diversity dilemmas. This will help managers to be aware on how power relations impact on stereotypes of groups and on perceptions of individuals and the expectations.
Communicating intercultural' it will aid in managing a diverse workforce. An individual will be able to understand how cultural and ethnic differences shape the conflict process and coming up with conflict resolution strategies.
There will be able to negotiate outcomes with cultural differences in mind. Mentoring programs, involvement of experienced advisors and helps others for a period of years. This mentor should be able to advise employees on the whole concept of workforce diversity and the reasons why diversity should be managed in the workplace.
Assessment of ones beliefs about work values, being able to identify work values of others from different cultural backgrounds and examination of the leadership assumptions from a multicultural perspective.
Creation of the support system, to reduce isolation and discrimination. This can be done through the encouragement of a formal system and informal networks.
Language competence, lack of language skills in multicultural environments is a significant barrier to building a multicultural organization.
The rationale for diversity training programs are often misunderstood at all levels. So it is important to first communicate what diversity is and what the organization hopes to achieve by managing it more effectively.
Present a clear business case for diversity initiatives and link with changing demographics and social changes.
Capitalize on the existing diversity within your organization by ensuring that you include both senior and line managers on your diversity training courses as well as employees from different functions and departments
Ask participants for examples from their own experience where they have not been treated fairly or with mutual respect. This helps to personalize the program so people see that diversity is a concept with something in it for them.
And finally the diversity training, this would create the awareness of what the concept of workforce diversity is and the provision of certain information needed to create changes that are required to effectively manage and work within a diverse workforce.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF DIVERSE WORKFORCE
Diversity is beneficial to both associates and employer although associates are interdependent in the workplace, respecting individual differences can increase productivity. Diversity in the workplace can reduce lawsuits and increase marketing opportunities, recruitment, creativity, and business image. In an era when flexibility and creativity are keys to competitiveness, diversity is critical for an organization's success. Also, the consequences (loss of time and money) should not be overlooked.
There are many advantages to having a work environment that is diverse. A company that is prepared for changes in demographics is prepared for the market changes as well as the changes in the pool of applicants. Having a diverse workplace creates an increase in attracting and retaining the most qualified candidates. Diversity programs within corporations improve corporate culture, help in recruitment, and help foster better client relations.
Diversity in the workplace is thought to increase shareholder value. Diverse knowledge and experiences can aid in generating profits. Diversity is a concept that is seen as having the potential to understand the international market, represent different customer bases, contribute diverse operational skills and help with decision-making and diverse age and experience provide different perspectives. Race and gender also provide crucially different views in the workplace.
Having inside information on how to communicate and what a community wants in a product is a great asset. A multicultural company can penetrate and widen their markets with the knowledge of political, social, legal, economic, and cultural environments. Further, having someone within the organization who can negotiate and speak the language of the country is a very valuable asset to the corporation.
Many people feel threatened by working with people of a different age, sex, or culture.
First, there is an increase in the cost of training. This increase comes from costs associated with seminars, programs and lectures given to promote diversity in the corporation. These types of training are given to all levels of staff within the organization. They teach employees how to accept the personalities and ideas or thoughts of others. These programs also teach one how to deal with conflicts and prejudice in a professional and civil manner.
A disadvantage of diversity in the workplace is an increase in conflicts. Conflicts arise when two or more individuals or groups do not see eye to eye on a particular situation. In regard to diversity, conflicts arise largely due to ignorance. Prejudice feelings or derogatory comments cause a lack of acceptance. "This can produce negative dynamics such as ethnocentrism, stereotyping and culture clashes". The most common conflict comes from one feeling superior. If management ignores such conflicts, the company's performance may suffer. If conflicts can be managed and controlled creativity and performance can be increased. Employers will work harder to gain acceptance by creating a solution or invention first. This can be the case when managers reconcile competing goals, promote in a representative manner, stand behind the minority group member, and act when resources are plentiful and cultural differences are low or well understood . Conflicts always arise wherever they are human beings' but they should be managed properly for the benefit of the organization.
Homogeneous groups often outperform culturally diverse groups, especially where there is a serious communication problem. Heterogeneous work teams often under-perform homogeneous teams because they do not allow each member to make a special contribution to the work effort. Cross-cultural training is necessary to enable culturally diverse groups to live up to their potential and overcome communication difficulties.
In many organizations, diversity can produce negative dynamics such as ethnocentrism, stereotyping and cultural clashes. These negative dynamics can in turn combine with imbalanced power structures to create work disadvantages for women and minorities. In traditional, assimilationist-oriented organizations, cultural differences between majority and minority group members create barriers to full participation of minority members. For example, Tsui, Egan & O'Reilly (1992) analyze 151 workgroups and find increasing work-unit diversity to be associated with lower levels of psychological attachment among group members. If leaders ignore or mishandle diversity, it may detract from performance. Poorer work outcome includes affective and achievement outcomes and these in turn adversely influence first-level organizational measures such as productivity, absenteeism, and turnover.
Higher turnover and absenteeism are problems faced by diverse organizations. Research reveals that turnover for blacks in the US workforce are 40% greater than for whites. Corning Glass reports that between 1980-1987 turnovers among women in professional jobs is double that of men and the rate for blacks are 2.5 greater than whites. Schwartz (1989) finds a two-to-one turnover rate of women in management, while Scott & McClellan (1990) find similar gender differences. Meisenheimer (1990) shows women have 58% higher absentee rates. Using 20 actual work units, O'Reilly, Caldwell, & Barnett (1989) explore the relationships among multiculturism, social integration, and individual turnover. Results suggest heterogeneity in group tenure is associated with lower levels of group social integration which, in turn, is negatively associated with individual turnover. Consequently, outgroup members are the individuals more likely to leave the organization. (Stanford Report, 2000)
CULTURAL AND LANGUAGE BARRIERS WHICH EFFECTS LABOUR RELATIONS:-
Roles and Status: In some cultures, a social hierarchy often exists that can create "bumps" in communication in the workplace. For example, in many countries, women are subordinate to men. Working in an American business, women from these countries may feel they should defer to their male counterparts or should not speak to or even look directly in the eyes of their male supervisors, managers or co-workers. When men innocently try to interact with them in the workplace, such women can feel uncomfortable or violated in some way. In contrast, males with such cultural backgrounds may not adapt well to working equally with females or having female supervisors. Understanding the interaction between sexes and the roles assigned in various cultures is important.
Personal Space: Americans typically prefer to stand about five feet a part when conversing. However, people from different cultural backgrounds may have different "comfort zones". For example, Germans and Japanese like more distance, and Arab and Latinos generally like to get closer. Knowing these nuances in personal space can help communications tremendously.
Body Language: Body language says a lot, but it can be interpreted differently in the world. For example, most Americans typically signal "no" in shaking their heads, but people from some countries raise their chins. Another example is with eye contact. Americans like to make eye contact, and when it does not happen it can be taken as a sign of evasiveness. In some Latin and Asian countries, however, averted eyes are a sign of respect. Similarly, people from some cultures do not feel comfortable shaking hands. An American worker or manager may view this as lack of respect or ignorance.
Religion: In many cultures, religion dominates life in a way that is often difficult for Americans to understand. For example, workers from some Muslim cultures may want to pray three times a day in accordance with their values and beliefs. ·
Personal Appearance: Hygiene and grooming, eating habits and attire can vary from country to country and culture to culture. For example, some people may wear attire such as a headdress as part of their custom and beliefs. To remain true to their beliefs, some workers may want to continue to wear this dress in the American workplace. Employers may view this as inappropriate or unsafe. It is particularly problematic in businesses in which workers wear uniforms. In another example, immigrants from India, Turkey or other countries may use spices in their diets that are emitted through the body. American workers can interpret this as dirty or unhygienic, which is not the case.
HOW LABOUR RELATIONS CAN BE IMPROVED IN DIVERSE WORKPLACE
Human resource professionals offer the following tips or suggestions for employers who want to strengthen and retain their immigrant workforce.
Learn as much as you can about the culture of the people you are dealing with, particularly if you employ several people from the same cultural background.
Recognize the broad ethnic diversity that exists within groups such as Hispanics or Asians. Don't assume everyone shares common cultural backgrounds or languages just because they came from the same region of the world. Someone labeled "Hispanic" may come from the mountains of Chili, a large Central American city or a rural village in Mexico. The same is true for immigrants from the many different Asian countries where cultures and languages vary widely.
Respect individual differences, abilities and personalities. Even though people may share a common language or culture, it doesn't mean they are alike, any more than all Americans are alike. Stereotyping discounts individuals and can limit options for them in the workplace. Getting to know a person's culture is a first step to getting to know them as individuals.
4) Provide an orientation program for new hires that add resses some of the cultural differences and language barriers. This can help head off confusing or potentially unpleasant experiences for international employees.
5) Consider having co-workers serve as mentors or coaches to help new workers adapt to the culture and vocabulary of the workplace.
6) When working with immigrants, refrain from using jargon or slang that might not translate well. Choose words that convey the most specific meaning and stick to one topic at a time.
7) When training immigrant employees, make sure they understand your training material and why it is useful to them. Use graphics or demonstrations to illustrate points whenever possible. Often the lack of effective training tools and qualified instructors can leave immigrant workers out of the training loop and limit their opportunities to enhance their skills and advance in the workplace.
8) Never assume your communications with someone with limited English-speaking abilities has been understood. Ask for feedback or for demonstration, particularly when you are training them.
9) Be patient. A thoughtful supervisor or co-worker can make all the difference in helping prevent feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment when a person cannot express him or herself clearly or fully.
The extent to which managers recognize diversity and its potential advantages and disadvantages defines an organization's approach to managing the diversity. No organization in this world of globalization would survive without workforce diversity. It is the duty of the management to critically evaluate the benefits of workforce diversity in their organization. On the other hand the management should put in place conditions which would enhance the workforce diversity in their organizations, more especially in their strategies formulation on the diversity of the workforce. Hence, with the diversity of the workforce, the organization would be internally and externally competitive. Although, the process of diversification of organizations has six stages: denial; recognition; acceptance; appreciation; valuing; and utilization. It is believed that organizations should put in place strategies to enhance workforce diversity. In terms of organizational learning, organizations are still stuck on the problem of getting people to value diversity and have not yet determined ways to utilize and exploit it. It is the approach to diversity, not the diversity itself which determines the actual positive and negative outcomes. Managing diversity in organizations is absolutely dependent upon the acceptance of some primary objectives to which employees are willing to commit, such as the survival of the firm .In today's fast-paced work environment a successful organization is one where diversity is the norm and not the exception.