Chapter 15 Evaluating the material In the modern era of competition and globalization, choosing and retaining a diverse workforce has become a necessity for every business organization to deliver the best service to its customers. Diversity in workforce can be often regarded as a positive force paving the way for the efficient team functioning. Diversity gives rise to variety of ideas, innovation and creativity, thus resulting in enhanced team performance. Thus, it is evident that a diverse team includes people with different skills and competencies and together they form a creative unit with lots of new and innovative thoughts.
Diversity in the workplace mainly encircles people from diverse cultural backgrounds, language, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious belief and other values. Diversity is also reflected when people belong to variety of educational fields, work experiences, personality, socio-economic context, marital status etc. At the same time it can’t be denied that a diverse team includes people from different backgrounds and mindsets, which create differences among the members of the team. Therefore for a manager it’s necessary to organize, manage and lead the diverse team and motivate the team members to work towards achieving a common objective.
With the advancement and modernization of technology, diversity is a growing need to all teams in an organization so as to facilitate proper understanding and communication in team work, superior contribution, accomplishment of the underlying objective, and withstand in the competitive market. Diversity in a team may often lead to conflicts, i.e. when people from different culture and experience work together, a conflict is often found to arise between them as their thoughts and perceptions differ.
Conflict in diverse team may arise due to miscommunication and incompatibility in information, diversified social category, and diversified values which affects their performed tasks and their delegated authorities. In this context we can discuss the advantages and disadvantage of group work and individual work. Teamwork is beneficial as information sharing in a group paves the way for a wide range of ideas and thoughts to come up. It is unlikely for innovative ideas to come out as a result of two-sided communication between the decision-maker and the individual worker.
Idea sharing in a group of equal level people can arouse exceptional ways of thinking. An employee may perceive an issue from an entirely unusual perspective than their coworker. This way of thinking can introduce changes in the process of carrying out performance, in policy creation, and in developing a product. Additionally, each employee’s understanding is negligible in a sense that it is not possible for an employee to make right decisions every time which becomes easier when they perform in a group (Werner & De Simone, 2012). Although the term “Diversity” covers a wide range of factors, the first and foremost to be considered while discussing diversity is the culture of the organization.
In general “culture can be defined as a set of shared values, beliefs, norms and artifacts that are used to interpret the environment and as a guide for all kinds of behavior” (Werner & De Simone, 2012). A few cultural attributes are migratory status, geographic origin, language, race, religion, community and neighborhood, food preference etc. Thus organizations form a subset of the sociopolitical culture at large. A multicultural organization consists mainly of 6 key features namely pluralism, structural incorporation, complete amalgamation of unofficial networks, elimination of discrimination and prejudice, equivalent recognition of organizational objectives with all the diverse teams and nominal amount of inter-team conflicts.
In a multicultural organization it is essential on the part of the manager to maintain a balance between his employees since culture could become a sensitive factor which might influence the performance of the staff. For example, “Pointing with one finger is considered to be rude in some cultures and Asians typically use their entire hand to point to something. ” And In Western culture, eye contact means you’re attentive and honest; yet for a Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Native American, eye contact is thought to be disrespectful or rude.
Managers should be aware of these kinds of things and get people in team to understand different cultures in order to make the team run well without conflicts. In the context of multicultural organization, it is relevant to talk about discrimination. Discrimination can be of two types, access discrimination is a practice followed by organizations when it intends to place limit on job availability by the means of restricting job advertisements or by rejecting candidates, while treatment discrimination refers to a form of discrimination that takes place after a person gets appointed in an organization.
Both the types of discrimination come under the territory of equal employment opportunity laws. A vital aspect of diversity is discrimination against women. It has been noted from 4 catalyst studies that a limited number of women occupy top positions in organizations and women are known to make advancements into the formerly male-dominated domains like management, law, engineering and advertising. Thus the manager of a multicultural organization must provide his employees with proper diversity training so that the benefits of a mixed culture can be utilized optimally.
Diversity training must edify and prepare the employees to welcome the diverse traits of people within the organization. Studies reflect that this type of training is an effectual means of generating cultural awareness within the teams and departments operating within the organization. There are a lot of techniques to carry out diversity training program for the workers.
Among the various techniques used, some of the most common techniques are role playing, e-learning, case studies, acting and group discussions. Today it has become a common practice for the multinational companies to assign important tasks to their high level employees and send them to foreign countries for a certain period of time. This process is known as Expatriation. In this process the employees are provided with necessary cross-cultural training which helps them to adapt with the cultural differences in the foreign country so that the chances of getting a cultural shock is reduced.
Companies spend huge amounts for the expatriation process. When the assignments abroad are completed successfully then the repatriation process starts. The training program consists of 4 factors- Increasing awareness about the cultural diversity Focusing on shaping the attitude Presenting facts about every culture Developing skills in the fields of communication, adaptation techniques and stress management. Ethical Focus Thus from the ethical point of view it can be stated that when an organization practices a diverse workforce culture then it’s necessary for it to treat each and every employee equally.
The only benchmark for measurement will be their performance and other factors like race, culture, language, gender, class, community etc. will never influence the manager to take bias decisions. Also if an organization establishes a multicultural framework within its operations then it should maintain a cell for addressing the grievances of the employees so that none of the employees get neglected or hurt. Conclusion It can be concluded from the entire discussion that in the present business situation, organizations need to adapt changes according to the changing circumstances as it will help the firms to handle the competition as well as the firm will gain access to the changed market.
Thus the present trend of globalization encourages the organizations to practice diversity within their work culture. However at the same time, the organization should include effective diversity training and cross cultural training framework within its multicultural departments so that conflicts related to diversity are diminished. Recommendations It is recommended for any multicultural organization that it should have respect and dignity for each employee and must value for their talents.
A supportive environment must be provided to help the individuals recognize their maximum potential and apply their talent within the organization, irrespective of their differences. For becoming successful in the global market, the firm should focus on maintaining a diverse base of customers so that the organization doesn’t get identified as a niche firm, offering products to only a certain set of people. Also the company must follow a recruitment policy that includes people from several regions of the world. This policy helps the organization to address the needs of the customers belonging to the various parts of the international market.
Last but not the least the organization must put much emphasis on the welfare of women and the under-privileged section of the society which assigns a social purpose for their functioning. Reference Werner, J.M. & De Simone, R.L. (2012). Human Resource Development. (6th ed. ) USA: Cengage Learning.