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The Different Definitions Of Team Diversity Management Essay

1885 words (8 pages) Essay in Management

5/12/16 Management Reference this

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Team diversity has very similar or quite different backgrounds, perspectives, and experience. Although diversity can occur on many characteristics, including gender, race, profession, nationality, age, and ethnicity. Diversity permits increased creativity, wider range of perspectives, more and better ideas, less groupthink; also focus enhanced concentration to understand others: ideas, perspectives, meanings, arguments. Increased creativity can lead to generate better problem definitions, more alternatives, better solutions, better decisions. So, team can become more effective, more productive. The productivity of a team does not depend on the present or absence of diversity, but rather on how well diversity is managed. When well managed. When well managed, diversity becomes an asset and a productive resource for the team. Diversity may have a wide variety of outcomes, as suggested by the opening paragraph, has been portrayed in terms of three major sets of characteristics in an organizational context. This review provides an overview that does team diversity improve performance? Diversity stimulates creativity, change, and innovation, and that these factors increase organizational performance, particularly in fast-changing. And why team diversity improves performance.

2.0 The different definitions of team diversity

Some research relating team diversity to a variety of team tasks supports the conclusion that heterogeneity improves performance in terms of creativity and decision quality of teams. This effect has been found for diversity of many types, This effect has been found for diversity of many types, including personality, training background, leadership abilities, attitudes (Jackson, May,¼†Whiteney.,2004),ethnicity, and sex. Although little research has systematically tested whether, or which of these mechanisms lead to better performance, evidence suggests that diversity in teams does have a positive impact on the performance of individuals, teams, and the organization as a whole.

The other, diversity may stimulate change or it may instill stability though a delicate but sacred balance of power (Bantel, K,A.¼†Jackson,S.E.,2002). When team members have more diverse backgrounds, responsibilities, beliefs, or values, there may be more conflict, confusion, reactivity, innovation, political activity, competition, risk reduction, comprehensive decision making. Members in diverse teams, however, are more likely to disagree with each other and find faults with the status quo. Diversity may inhibit the development of a strong culture, standardization of procedures, good communication, and cohesion. Adding diversity to a relatively homogeneous group may increase confusion and excitement as new ideas are introduced to the group. Although diversity often hinders the team’s initial ability to build trust, well-managed diversity can enhance this second, work phase. During this work stage, teams can use their diversity to generate new perspectives and ideas and thus enhance their ability o create innovative problem definitions and solutions.

2.2 Types of diversity in teams

Homogeneous teams are those with all members coming from the same cultural group; multicultural teams are those with members coming from more than one culture .Multicultural teams can be divided into three types; token teams having a single member from another culture, bicultural teams having members from two cultures, and multicultural teams having members from three or more cultures ( Earley, P. Christopher;2000).

2.2.1 Homogeneous teams

In homogeneous teams, all members share a similar background. People on homogeneous teams generally perceive, interpret, and evaluate the world more similar than do members of heterogeneous teams. A world more similarly than do members of heterogeneous teams. An all-male team of finish bankers, for example, is homogeneous, based on gender, culture, and profession.

2.2.2 Token teams

In token teams all but one member comes from the same background .In a team of Australian lawyers and one British attorney, for example, the British attorney would be the token member. In such a token team, the British attorney would probably see and understand situations some what differently from his Australian colleagues. In the last decade, predominantly male management teams have begun to pay considerable attention to their few, often token, female members.

2.2.3 Bicultural teams

In bicultural teams, members represent two distinct cultures; Bicultural teams must continually recognize and integrate the perspectives of both represented cultures. If the team has an unequal number of members from each culture, the culture of the group with more representatives is likely to dominate.

2.2.4 Multicultural teams

In multicultural teams, members represent three or more ethnic backgrounds. Today, an increasing number of corporate task forces are globally distanced teams-that is, teams composed of members from around the world who meet electronically. The economic and political power structure of the represented members moderates a multicultural team’s dynamics and, therefore, its effectiveness. To recognize and integrate all represented cultures. A growing literature describing team behavior in countries around the world, often with American comparisons, also exists. Multicultural teams, for example, can have multiple perspectives on any given situation, thus potentially increasing their insight and, consequently, their productivity. Multicultural teams, however, also frequently experience greater difficulty than their homogeneous counterparts in evaluating and integrating these perspectives, thus causing losses in productivity duo to faulty process.

Cultural diversity can have positive and negative impacts on a team’s productivity Diversity augments potential productivity, but at the same time greatly increases the complexity of processes members must manage for the team to realize its full potential.(Morrison,A,M.,2003)Diversity makes team functioning more challenging because team members find it more difficult to see, understand ,and act on situations in similar ways. Diversity makes reaching agreement more difficult. Team members from similar cultures find it easier to communicate clearly with one another and trust each other more readily. Because members of multicultural teams more frequently disagree on expectations, the appropriateness of relevant information, and the need for particular decisions, they generally experience higher levels of stress than do members of homogeneous teams. Diversity increases the ambiguity, complexity, and inherent confusion in team processes .Process losses resulting from these issues diminish productivity.

2.2.5 Cognitive diversity

Although this is the dominant perspective, there are arguments that predict a negative, rather than a positive effect of cognitive diversity on comprehensiveness. First, cognitive diversity often implies that different people will use their own specialized language, images, and stories to communicate with each other. To the extent that this leads to communication failures, people are likely to want to avoid the frustrating, lengthy discussion processes required for comprehensive decision making. Second, preference diversity often implies disagreement over strongly held preferences that will not be compromised. Thus, comprehensive decision making may lead to head butting rather than to issue resolution. Both of these arguments suggest that cognitive diversity may lead to an emphasis on individualistic rather than consensual decision making (Lattimer, Robert L., 1998).

Whether and how much diversity is desirable depends on the nature of team’s task. When a task requires team members to perform highly specialized roles, it is usually more advantageous to use a diverse team. When everyone must do the same thing ,work generally progresses more smoothly if members think and behave similarly, corporate consulting teams ,for example, generally work most effectively when they include a range a of specialists-finance, marketing, production, and strategy experts. Teams assembling radios, on the other hand, generally perform better when all members have similar levels of manual dexterity and coordination (Morrison, A, M. & Ruderman, M.N., 2003).

3.0 Conclusion

All teams need members who believe in team goals and are motivated to work with others actively to accomplish important tasks. High performance teams have special characteristics that allow them to excel at teamwork and achieve special performance advantages. In order to create and maintain high performance teams, all of the various elements of group effectiveness discussed above all. As an important input to group and team dynamics, membership diversity carries special significance in today’s workplace.

Evidence suggests that diversity in teams does have a positive impact on the performance of individuals, teams, and the organization as a whole. Diversity among team members may create performance difficulties early in the team’s life or stage of development. Research conclusively demonstrates that the behavior of people in work teams varies across cultures. Among other differences, researchers have found that team members from more collectivist cultures frequently work more cooperatively with each other, enjoy working together more, and are less likely to free ride than their counterparts in more individualist cultures (Wiersema, M.F., 2008).

Diversity makes team functioning more challenging because team members find it more difficult to see, understand, and act on situations in similar ways. Diversity makes reaching agreement more difficult. Team members from similar cultures find it easier to communicate clearly with one another and trust each other more readily. Because members of multicultural teams more frequently disagree on expectations, the appropriateness of relevant information, and the need for particular decisions, they generally experience higher levels of stress than do member s of homogeneous teams. Diversity increases the ambiguity, complexity, and inherent confusion in team processes. Diversity becomes most valuable when the need for the team to reach agreement remains low relative to the need to invent creative solutions. Diversity functions as an advantage only if the team recognizes when to leverage and when to minimize the impact of its diversity, and how creativity and agreement can be balanced.

Because group members come from a host of different cultures, they often are able to create a greater number of unique solutions and recommendations. Cultural diversity groups can prevent groupthink, which is social conformity and pressures on individual members of a group to conform and reach consensus. When this happens, group participants believe that their ideas and actions are correct and that those who disagree with them are either uninformed or deliberately problem, because the members do not think similarly or feel pressure to conform.

Culture diversity provides the biggest potential benefit to teams with challenging tasks that require creativity and innovation. Diversity becomes less helpful when team members work on simpler tasks involving repetitive or routine procedures (Kirclumeyer, C., 2002). With the advent of robotics and computer-aided manufacturing processes for more routine tasks, almost all of which can benefit from well-managed diversity. The more senior the team members, the more likely they are to be involved in challenging, innovative projects and, therefore, the more likely they are to benefit from well-managed diversity. Well-managed diversity has therefore become extremely valuable for senior executive teams both within and across organizations. Although diversity often hinders the team’s initial ability to build trust, well-managed diversity can enhance this second, work phase (Sayles I.R, 2003). During this work stage, teams can use their diversity to generate new perspectives and ideas and thus enhance their ability to create innovative problem definitions and solutions. As discussed previously, diverse teams generally are more able to see situations understand each other’s intent-their purpose, goals and strategy-because they are initially unable to communicate with each other. This misunderstanding happens in part because teams set their overall purpose during the initial stage of team development, the stage during which individual differences tend to dominate and often interfere with team cohesion. To maximize effectiveness, leaders need to help teams agree on their vision or super-ordinate goals are often defined broadly, thus giving general direction and focus to the team’s subsequent activities.

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