Globalization and diversity The new World is flat! Flexible and mobile labour Multicultural democracies
Defining diversity Diversity refers to characteristics of individuals that shape their identities and the experiences they have in society The purpose of exploring diversity issues in a management course is to suggest how managers might include diverse employees equally, accepting their differences and utilizing their talents. Why should we be concerned with diversity???
ADVANTAGES OF DIVERSITY IN ORGANIZATIONS Ann Morrison carried out a comprehensive study of 16 private and public organizations in the United States. In the resulting book, The New Leaders: Guidelines on Leadership Diversity in America, she outlines the some advantages of diversity: Gaining and Keeping Market Share Cost Savings Increased Productivity and Innovation Better-Quality Management
Gaining and Keeping Market Share Today managers must understand increasingly diverse markets. Some people argue that one of the best ways to ensure that the organization is able to penetrate diverse markets is to include diverse managers among the organization’s decision makers. Employing a manager who is of the same gender or ethnic background as customers may imply to those customers that their day-to-day experiences will be understood.
Cost Savings Businesses that fail to foster inclusive workplaces see higher turnover rates than businesses that value a diverse workforce because they foster a hostile work environment that forces employees to leave. The failure to retain qualified employees results in avoidable turnover-related costs at the expense of a company’s profits. Having a diverse and discrimination-free work environment helps businesses avoid these costs.
Increased Productivity and Innovation Many executives quoted in Morrison’s study believe productivity is higher in organizations that focus on diversity. These managers find that employees who feel valued, competent, and at ease in their work setting enjoy coming to work and perform at a high level. Bringing together workers with different qualifications, backgrounds, and experiences are all key to effective problem-solving on the job.
Increased Productivity and Innovation The managers in Morrison’s study also saw innovation as a strength of a diverse workforce. In essence, diversity becomes the spark that ignites innovation. Of 321 large global enterprises—companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue—surveyed in a Forbes study in 2011, 85 percent agreed or strongly agreed that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace.
Better-Quality Management Morrison also found that including nontraditional employees in fair competition for advancement usually improves the quality of management by providing a wider pool of talent. By broadening its reach, a company looking to hire new talent stands a better chance of finding top-quality employees when it recruits from a more diverse set of candidates. A company staffed with workers from various cultural backgrounds is better able to communicate with companies and clients from different countries and areas.
STRATEGIES FOR PROMOTING DIVERSITY IN ORGANIZATIONS Maintain the dynamism of an aging workforce Reconcile the conflicting needs of women, work, and families Fully integrate minority groups into the economy
Promoting Diversity Through Pluralism Pluralism refers to an environment in which differences are acknowledged, accepted, and seen as significant contributors to the entirety. A diverse workforce is most effective when managers are capable of guiding the organization toward achieving pluralism. Approaches to management and diversity: 1. “Golden Rule” approach 2. Assimilation approach 3. “Righting-the-wrongs” approach 4. Culture-specific approach 5. Multicultural approach
Golden Rule The “Golden Rule” approach to diversity relies on the biblical dictate, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The major strength of this approach is that it emphasizes individual morality. Its major flaw is that individuals apply the Golden Rule from their own particular frame of reference without knowing the cultural expectations, traditions, and preferences of the other person.
Assimilation Approach The assimilation approach advocates shaping organization members to fit the existing culture of the organization. This approach pressures employees who do not belong to the dominant culture to conform—at the expense of renouncing their own cultures and worldviews. The end result is the creation of a homogeneous culture that suppresses the creativity and diversity of views that could benefit the organization.
“Righting-the-Wrongs” Approach “Righting-the-wrongs” is an approach that addresses past injustices experienced by a particular group. When a group’s history places its members at a disadvantage for achieving career success and mobility, policies are developed to create a more equitable set of conditions. For example, the original migration of African Americans to the United States was forced on them as slaves. Righting- the-wrongs approaches are designed to compensate for the damages African Americans have suffered because of historical inequalities.
Culture-Specific Approach The culture-specific approach teaches employees the norms and practices of another culture to prepare them to interact with people from that culture effectively. This approach is often used to help employees prepare for international assignments. The problem is this approach usually fails to give employees a genuine appreciation for the culture they are about to encounter.
Multicultural Approach The multicultural approach gives employees the opportunity to develop an appreciation for both differences of culture and variations in personal characteristics. This approach focuses on how interpersonal skills and attitudinal changes relate to organizational performance. One of its strengths is that it assumes the organization itself—as well as individuals working within it—will be required to change to accommodate the diversity of the organization’s workforce. The multicultural approach is probably the most effective approach to pluralism because it advocates change on the part of management, employees, and organization systems and structures. It has the added advantage of stressing the idea that equity demands making some efforts to “right the wrongs” so that underrepresented groups will be fairly included throughout the organization.