Diversity in Organizations BUS 610: Organizational Behavior May 24, 2011 Diversity is the state of being different or having variety. Diversity is more than having individuals who represent different ethical backgrounds. Diversity is also comprised of having a variety of individuals who represent differences in ages, race, physical abilities and even gender. Being diverse is an essential part of operating a business. Employers have the ability to solicit creative ideas and implement them into successful business solutions when they have a diverse pool of people to receive feedback from.
The workforce today has a wide range of diversity qualities. Within the workplace everyone has to communicate with one another. Communicating in a diverse workplace is essential for a business to operate successfully today. Managers are seeking individuals who are team players, exemplifies, good communication skills, and good interpersonal skills. Ribbink suggest, “Learning how the source culture receives information, training international employees early and often, and training the non-foreign born are some ways to ensure that communication is effective when there is a cultural difference” (2003).
There are many other ways to maintain a diverse workforce and communicate effectively. Though, training employees to understand another person’s cultural differences may be costly it seems as if the benefits of understanding one another’s differences will outweigh the costs. The face of the workforce is changing everyday so communicating effectively is a priority in business. Diversity represents the multitude of individual differences and similarities that exist among people (Kinicki, 2010, p. 97).
Diversity climate can be defined as employee’s attitudes and perceptions toward people from cultural groups other than their own. Such attitudes are manifested in the practices and behaviors of individuals in organizations. In order to minimize problems within an organization when it comes to diversity it is important that employee’s know and understand what diversity means in there company. Management should take the initiative to explain to employee’s that the organization will employ individuals who exemplify differences such as in race, gender, and even age. This would help minimize any misunderstandings nd decreases prejudices of what the organizations overall standards are. Diversity is a driving force of organizations today. It is very rare that you will find organizations that have individuals who are all the same gender or even race. So it is important that management embrace the idea of having diversity in their organizations. In order for employees and managers to accept diversity they should not have an attitude of ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the belief that one’s native country, culture, language, and modes of behavior are superior to all others (Kinicki, 2010, p. 5). Ethnocentrism can be very negative for business. All cultures are ethnocentric, some more so than others. Ethnocentrism, in fact, can enhance group solidarity within a society and is often used by corrupt national or ethnic leaders as a means of building or consolidating power and excluding outsiders (O’Rourke, 2010, p. 288). In order for mangers to minimize ways of thinking that does not effectively embrace differences they could increase cultural awareness, more education, international experience, and make a conscious effort to value cultural diversity.
R. Roosevelt Jr. suggests that there are eight characteristics that can be taken into consideration in order to manage diversity. These approaches can be used to address any type of diversity issue. The first diversity technique is include/exclude. This would entail increasing or decreasing the number of diverse people in an organization. Denying that differences exist is the second diversity technique that could be used. Assimilating is implying that all diverse people will to fit in or become more like the dominant group.
The fourth option is suppressing. Differences are squelched or discouraged when using this approach. Isolation is maintaining the current way of doing things by settling the diverse person off to the side. The diverse person in the organization would not have an opportunity to influence change when they are isolated. The sixth technique is toleration. Toleration includes acknowledging difference but not accepting them. Building relationships entails that good relationships can overcome differences. The last technique is fostering mutual adaptation.
This technique is when people are willing to adapt to change their views for the benefit of creating good relationships with others. Although these are all ways to manage diversity mutual adaption is one of the preferred ways to effectively manage diversity. The isolation technique and a few others are not ways to effectively implement change. Isolation, toleration, and suppressions are all techniques that recognize that there are differences that are present. These ways of managing diversity does not effectively manage or implement anyone to accept differences.
If these techniques are used it does not help implement diversity. Overall in order to successfully have a diverse organization, management must be the first to recognize and accept differences in order to get other employees to go along. Management should make sure that everyone understands that diversity is an important factor in the organization and that the company will accept differences. Management and others should be very opened minded to change because you can learn a lot from people who are different. Like the old saying says there is more than one way to skin a cat.
This saying is only mentioning that there is always more than one way to accomplish any task. References Kinicki, A. , & Kreitner, R. (2009). Organizational behavior: Key concepts, skills & best practices. (customized 4th ed. ). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin. ISBN: 9780073381411 O’Rourke, J. (2010). Management communications (4th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ:Pearson/Prentice hall. ISBN: 978-0-13-607979-8 Ribbink, Kim (2003). Seven Way to Better Communicate in Today’s Diverse Workplace. Retrieved from http://hbswk. hbs. edu/archive/3266. html