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Diversity in the Workplace

Essay by   •  November 28, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,703 Words (7 Pages)  •  3,560 Views

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Diversity in the workplace is a topic that many industries and organizations spend an abundant amount of time and training on in order to ensure its presence. Today's workplace is more diverse than it has ever been in history. While the workforce has made strides in the direction of equality, it is still far from attaining total equality in the workplace. A company must value diversity. The main objectives of valuing diversity include awareness, education, and positive recognition of the differences among people in the workforce. Organizations are increasingly emphasizing group work or teamwork as a source of competitive advantage in a diverse workforce. It has been suggested that such organizations must target their recruitment efforts at applicants who are both diverse and amenable to working in teams ( Rau, Hyland 2003).

A cultural environment must allow differences to be celebrated instead of merely tolerated. All employees must understand the competitive and moral advantages of diversity. They must respect and support cultural diversity through the recognition of cultural and religious holidays, observances, practices, and diet restrictions. We are not where we once were, but we are not yet where we should be. In an ideal world, every person is treated equally when it comes to receiving a job, advancing in their career, and being treated fairly in the workplace. In reality, we know this is not the case. Unfortunately our reality is unfair treatment in regards to an individual's gender, race, culture, ethnic origin and lifestyle. These discriminations still exist in salary decisions, hiring, firing, and promotions.

In order to effectively manage diversity, and recognize it as a source of strength and not one of conflict, one would need to be educated and reprogrammed to accept and embrace diversity. Society as a whole is programmed to embrace sameness and frown upon assortment. Managers and the powers that be must be taught to appreciate and draw on differences because unfortunately it does not come naturally for most people. America's past should teach America's today that success lies within diversity. In order to achieve ultimate success, diversity is a necessity. Workforce diversity is a fact of organizational life. It is also a key concern for theory and practice in organizational behavior ( van-Knippenberg, De-Dreu, Homan, 2004).

Diversity is important to companies because with a diverse environment people can benefit and learn from others' ideas. Other reasons for the importance of diversity to many organizations are the recognition of differences as prerequisites for high performance and continuous improvement, enhancing the effectiveness and creativity of the organization, and valuing conflicts as opportunities for more effective decision-making and problem solving. Diversity has a major impact on our behaviors in the work place.

Many organizations are placing primary emphasis on people who fit their cultures when hiring. The reasoning is that if the people have the "right" attitude, they will more than likely understand and adapt to the goals and expectations of the organization. The necessary skills can be taught. That is a lot easier than hiring people with the right skills but wrong attitude probably cannot be changed. Many organizations have determined what it takes to succeed in their companies.

There is an underlying problem that is promoting racism. It is the fact that a lot of people believe, and try to make themselves believe, that racism no longer exists. Many people today live their lives oblivious to what is happening in the world around them, often trying to convince themselves that racism is not a problem in their world.

Diversity calls for the recognition of the contributions that individuals can make as individuals, not just as members of legislatively designated groups. Diversity requires the management of organizations to be very inclusive, not just tolerating those who are different but also celebrating those differences. It calls for the opening of non-traditional occupations to men and women of all creeds, colors, religions, races and social groupings and for making reasonable accommodations the workplace and work life for this to happen. Diversity calls for diversity beyond just gender, race, or physical and intellectual abilities to include diversity in opinions, sexual preferences, social customs and mores, and other aspects of the variations in lives and lifestyles. There is a compelling generic business case for achieving and managing diversity in the workplace. Diversity can help organizations: identify and capitalize on opportunities.

Diversity programs are considered to be good investments whose returns have been very beneficial to organization. Successful professionals are learning to demonstrate the contribution of diversity programs to the business on macro and micro levels. We have to remember that having a diversified workforce is not something a company should have, actually it is some thing that has happened or is soon going to happen due to the fact that we have a more diversified population. Diversity in the workplace is becoming more and more prevalent. Corporations in all industries are encouraging minorities, women, elderly workers, people with disabilities as well as foreign workers to join the dominant workforce in the workplace. Diversity of the workforce is clearly here to stay. Business owners and managers, experts say, will still need to maintain or step up efforts to recruit and advance ethnic minorities each year. Essentially, because having a diverse work force a gives the company a lot more advantages to their competitors.

People of different ethnic backgrounds possess different attitudes and values. Cultural differences determine the observed differences in work attitudes. An organizations culture determines the ability of members from other groups to perform within the organization. Individuals from minority groups face challenges everyday dealing with prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping. Prejudice is defined as an adverse opinion or judgment formed beforehand or without full knowledge or complete examination of the facts; a preconceived idea or bias. Discrimination can include bias towards a person based on their group identity. Minority group size may determine the level of determination. In fact, a recent survey found that nearly half of Black job seekers indicated

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