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There are several definitions of diversity that exists in literature. Some definitions range from narrow to vary broad. Those that are narrow tend to reflect the laws of affirmative action and equal employment opportunities such as race, gender, ethnicity, age, national origin, religion, and disability. Broad definitions tend to include sexual preference and orientation, values, education, language, economic status, marital status, lifestyle, and beliefs.
Another part of the definition is known as the layers of diversity that are personality & organizational dimension. Personality is the innate elements that make you unique as an individual and organizational dimension is the work content/ field, division department / unit / group; seniority; work location; union affiliation; management status; functional level / classification. One example defines diversity as a matter of individual responsibility and morality. Another definition describes diversity as creating high performing organizations through valuing and using all the talents of employees of different groups.
Workplace diversity builds on the traditional principles of equal employment opportunity (EEO). While EEO focuses on ensuring that all people have access to employment opportunities and conditions, diversity means accepting, welcoming and valuing the differences inherent in every individual and recognizing the contribution that a diverse workforce can make to organizational effectiveness and performance. Implicit in this definition is the awareness of our group identities as well as our individual differences. We are unique as individuals, while our group identities determine our historical inclusion or exclusion. We often see ourselves only as individuals, even though historically we have been treated based on our group identities. Diversity goes beyond employment equity to nurturing an environment that values the differences and maximizes the potential of all employees, one that stimulates employee creativity and innovativeness.
Implicit to the definitions is the awareness of our group identities as well as our individual differences. We are unique as individuals, while our group identities determine our historical inclusion or exclusion. We often see ourselves only as individuals, even though historically we have been treated based on our group identities. We often see ourselves only as individuals, even though historically we have been treated based on our group identities. When learning about racial and ethnic differences, we have been taught the common misconception that once we learn about each other's groups; our future relations will be harmonious.
This may be true to some degree between individuals, but societal divisions based on our group identities have been maintained through legal, educational, religious, and other institutions. Therefore, in thinking about diversity we also consider the historical power imbalance among groups, allowing us to move toward a view of diversity that values equality.
What is Cultural diversity?
The idea of cultural differences has been connected primarily to ethnic cultures outside the United States and has focused on examining the values and belief systems of cultural groups from many countries. I really think that experiences in other cultures are important because they can heighten people's awareness of differences and give them the experience of being outsiders in a group of people who look, behave, and think differently than they do.
Some people in the United States have experiences with international cultural diversity when they travel to other countries to study or visit or when they have extensive interactions with newly arrived immigrant groups. But these experiences, if limited, can lead to the "tourist approach" to diversity only examining different cultures from their most evident manifestations: food, celebrations, dance, etc. People can get the impression that everything that is different is also "exotic," apart from the norm.
Many people in the United States were reared with television and film images of people in other countries, particularly Puerto Rico, that were shaped and framed from the "newyoricans" perspective only. Puerto Ricans, in movies like Carlitos way, were shown in inferior roles to the general public. This approach negates genuine relationships and knowing the depth and substance of another culture. It can also lead people to avoid learning about differences within the domestic United States. Some people are more willing to go to another country than to bridge the divisions in their own communities.
Can diversity be managed?
The hard truth, however, is that inequalities exist for employees within organizations due to stereotyping and preconceived ideas about a person based on race, gender, religious or cultural origins, age, physical or mental limitations, and more. Racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. can not be managed away. It is precisely these beliefs and perceptions that necessitate managing diversity at all.
It can be managed by creating an organizational culture that supports workforce diversity and that involves several important elements. These elements include a needs analysis, administrative and management support and commitment, education and training, culture and management systems changes and continuous follow-up and evaluation.
I believe that we should involve our selves by creating an environment that allows all employees to contribute to organizational goals and experience personal growth. The key is to help employees reach their full potential by creating an environment that will allow them to be motivated, productive and ultimately, according to my sources this can be done and be very beneficial for the organization by:
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Sustaining awareness of diversity - Provide information on workplace diversity.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Demonstrating commitment to diversity - Treat others with respect, courtesy and consideration, Demonstrate workplace diversity in leadership, Support flexible working arrangements and Recruitment processes and fair selection decisions based on merit.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Maintaining a safe and secure work environment - support for employee's roles and responsibilities, responsiveness, ethics and integrity, professionalism, enthusiasm, creativity, teamwork and implementation.
Managers must be careful however, to make decisions based on need and not preference, convenience and/or actions of the past. They must try to avoid affirmative action because it gives the organization a more external view, like focusing on recruitment of employees, upper mobility, and retention whereas managing diversity is more internal, narrowing in on the potential of the employee. By doing so, upper mobility and retention are addressed indirectly.
A vital link to managing diversity is through the supervisors of the organization. As more businesses and organizations turn to managing diversity as an alternative to affirmative action, experts in diversity like Audrey Mathews author of "Diversity: A Principle of Human Resource Management," recognize that successful diversity initiatives have the support of top management. The link to top management is through the role of the supervisor.
In an organization, supervisors play three important roles. They play interpersonal, an informational and a decisional role, all of which are critical to the issue of diversity. In their interpersonal role, they have direct contact with employees about performance, motivation, effectiveness, communications, etc. They are aware of the personalities of their subordinates, what motivates them, how they work together which can all be conveyed to top management. In their informational role, they play a medium in the chain of command and share facts and knowledge about the organization, they can have a major influence about how subordinates perceive diversity and also advocate the attitudes of top management.
Finally, in their decision-making role, supervisors impact decisions made in hiring, promoting, evaluating, and disciplining employees. Overall, as medium between top management and employees, supervisors can communicate management's priorities and share the organization's mission, vision, and goals and at the same time inform top management of diversity concerns and issues among employees. All in all this encourages diversity at all levels of the organization.
I found in a couple of my resources that the authors where saying that a need analysis was the second crucial element after senior management support and commitment. I feel a needs analysis should be prepared first to provide information to senior management in sequestering their support as well as to adequately determine workforce and organizational needs for creating a diverse workplace. First, I would tell them to find out what employees are concerned about. The needs and expectations of workers can vary by organizational and functional levels, location, ethnicity, and gender. Second, determine the needs of the organization. The organization can determine its needs based on its culture and resources by asking a couple of questions that can help the organization to reach their goals.
I think that the third questions they should ask "are the areas of the workforce being treated inappropriately?" By using a survey that focuses on questions like this you can ascertain where administration and management feel the organization presently is regarding diversity.
What is management of diversity?
The overall ability to value unique individual and group characteristics, embrace such characteristics as potential sources of organizational strength, and appreciate the uniqueness of each individual; as well as the ability to help people work effectively together even though their interests and backgrounds may be quite diverse.
In the broadest sense, the management of diversity is a business's reaction to rapid cultural and sociological changes. Internally, diversity management means providing a climate where all employees feel that they are valued by and contributing to an organization. Externally, it means that organizations are flexible and astute about changes occurring in world markets.
Why does it matter?
I think it matters because the workforce is changing dramatically. These changes are having profound effects on the way companies are managing their organization's human resources. To cite just a few statistics offered by the Diversity Management Magazine;
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â With 6 million fewer teenagers today than in 1980, and with more people leaving the workforce than entering it, worker shortages will continue to plague employers well into the this century.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Ethnic and racial minority populations are growing seven times faster than the white population.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â In this new century, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics will outnumber Whites in the United States.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â By the year 2004, 75% of new workforce entrants will be minorities and women.
I think that to attract and retain good employees, employers have to hire and motivate minorities, women, and others different from the mainstream in age, appearance, physical ability, experience, and life-style. The old ways of managing a heterogeneous workforce simply won't work anymore. And not only focus on the diversity of their employees but also in their customer because of the growing economical power of the different diverse groups. According to the Journal of Financial Times the following financial table is the diverse buying power of the different groups in the United Sates.
We have seen specific parts of the extended world on what diversity on workforce is and how it has a connection within individuals, group's different cultures and environments. How the diversity can be managed and applied to organizations structure by using certain procedures and theories, and finally why is it sow important for companies to believe in implementing a manage diversity culture for the companies future and growth.
I strongly believe that managing diversity should be consider to be used as part of the organizational culture that incorporates mutual respect, acceptance, team-work, and productivity among people who are diverse in human differences. This vision challenges us to build interpersonal relationships and institutions that are not structured on domination and subordination. This doesn't mean that the corporate organization needs to apply only for itself, people as individual workers in their personal aspects also need to implement this kind of behavior towards diversity in order gain organizational growth.
I suggest that it is time to embrace respect differences, and move toward genuine solidarity-which would lead to constructive conflict and critique of all our cultures. Elimination of destructive conflict among groups will allow the talents, creativity, and power of each individual to be realized, ultimately strengthening all of society.
Managing Diversity in the workplace is more than just an acquired skill; it is "a way of thinking". It is reflective of an attitude that organizations and their staffs must adopt that allows them to change their basic concepts about workers and converts "them" into "us".