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Epgp (one year) 2009-10_hrm_group assignment_5 group 4_23jan10Document Transcript
Submitted by: Group IV
Human Resource Management Abhishek Pangaria - #1
Altaf Hussain Siddiqui - #4
Group Assignment #5 Rajendra Inani - #27
Shikhar Mohan - #34
EPGP 2009-10 - Term III- Group Submission Tarandeep Singh - #37
Instructor: Prof. Dr. Kamal K. Jain Vaibhav Samant - #38
Making Differences Matter
Abstract and background of the article
In order to investigate that what will it take for organizations to reap the real and full benefits of a diverse
workforce, a research effort taken by the article author’s team. In order to understand three management
challenges for Diversity, it conducted its research over a period of six years. The challenges undertaken
(a) How do organizations successfully achieve and sustain racial and gender diversity in their
executive and middle management ranks?
(b) What is the impact of diversity on an organization’s practices, processes and performance?
(c) How do leaders influence whether diversity becomes an enhancing or detracting element in the
This research done with involvement of three organizations that had attained a high degree of
demographic diversity, a small urban law firm, a community bank and 200 people consulting firm. It also
studied nine other companies in varying stages of diversifying their work forces. The group included two
financial services firms, three Fortune 500 manufacturing companies, two midsize high technology
companies, a private foundation, and a university medical center.
Diversity initiatives to date have been guided by two perspectives. (1) The discrimination and fairness
paradigm and (2) Access and legitimacy paradigm. This research has emerged with the third paradigm
for managing diversity, and recommended abandoning old and limiting assumptions about the meaning
of diversity in order to realize the true potential of diversity in a powerful way to increase organization
effectiveness. The article cites several examples of how connecting the new definition of diversity to the
actual doing of work has led some organizations to markedly better performance. Their leaders realize
that increasing demographic variation does not in itself increase organizational effectiveness. They realize
that it is how a company defines diversity and what it does with the experiences of being a diverse
organization that delivers on the promise. Overall it talks about following three paradigms.
• The Discrimination and Fairness Paradigm – Assimilation – members treat one another the same
• The Access and Legitimacy Paradigm – Differentiation – place different people by demographic
characteristic match with important constituents and markets
• Learning and Effectiveness Paradigm – Integration – internalize differences among employees so
that it learns and grow because of them
Present scenario on Diversity at workplace
Generally, companies concern themselves with diversity as they believe that a more diverse workforce
will increase organizational effectiveness, claiming that diversity will be good for business, but many
attempts to increase diversity in the workplace have backfired resulting in heightening tension among
employees and hindering a company’s performance. This article discusses why diversity efforts are not
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fulfilling their promise and presents a new paradigm for understanding and leveraging diversity. Apart
from increased profitability it goes beyond financial measures to encompass learning, creativity,
flexibility, organizational and individual growth and the ability of a company to adjust rapidly and
successfully to market changes. However, it requires a fundamental change in the attitudes and
behaviors of an organization’s leadership.
The Discrimination and Fairness Paradigm
This has been the dominant paradigm in the way of understanding diversity. This being a traditional
affirmative action efforts and go beyond a simple concern with numbers.
Measuring progress • By how well the company achieves its recruitment and retention goals
in diversity • Not measured the degree to which conditions in the company allow
employees to draw on their personal assets and perspectives to do their
work more effectively
Diversification • Staff gets diversified
• Work does not
Place of success • Companies which are run by leaders who value due process and equal
treatment to all employees with strict hierarchies (Army)
• Open environment flat structure organizations are not successful
Limitations • Color blind & gender blind ideal
• Diversification of the work force to influence the organization’s work or
• Prevents genuine disagreements about the work definition when honest
disagreements are accompanied by tense debate
Organizational • Undermines the organization’s capacity to learn about and improve its own
thinking strategies, process, and practices.
The article cites example of a female employee, who observed that company’s advertising strategy is
not appropriate for all ethnic segments in the marketplace might feel she is violating the code of
assimilation upon which the paradigm is built. If she were to defend her opinion by citing her personal
knowledge of the ethnic group the company wanted to reach, she might risk being perceived as
importing inappropriate attitudes into an organization that prides itself on being blind to cultural
Presenting the case of Iversen Dunham, an international consulting firm that focuses on foreign and
domestic economic development policy, where race relation had become a divisive issue despite this firm
had begun its diversity efforts early in 1970’s. By year 1989, this company had among project leaders and
professionals comprised of 50% women and 30% people of color apart from a strong contingent of foreign
nationals. But, this company had complains of racial discrimination. Also, it’s getting pulled away from
its original culture and its mission.
The Access and Legitimacy Paradigm
This was predicated on the acceptance and celebration of differences. With increasing multicultural
country, the new ethnic groups are quickly gaining consumer power. This is forcing companies to have
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demographically more diverse workforce to help them gain access to these differentiated segments. The
paradigm has therefore led to new professional and managerial opportunities for women and people of
color. In their pursuit of niche markets, access and legitimacy organizations tend to emphasize the role
of cultural differences in a company without really analyzing those differences to see how they actually
affect the work that is done.
The main limitation of this paradigm is that under its influence the motivation for diversity usually
emerges from very immediate and often crisis oriented needs for access and legitimacy. But, after
achieving the goal, the leaders seldom go on to identify and analyze the culturally based skill, beliefs, and
practices that worked so well. It leaves some employees feeling exploited and their experience is
limited or specialized.
Example of Access Capital International shows the success the company achieved by employing
European MBA graduates for sales for its expansion in Europe market. But, it failed to learn from them
the exact difference they were making for their success even after several years.
Learning and Effectiveness Paradigm - The Emerging Paradigm
Under this paradigm, the organizations are tapping true diversity benefits. They recognize that
employees frequently make decisions and choices at work that draw upon their cultural background –
choices made because of their identity group affiliations. The companies have also developed an outlook
on diversity that enables them to incorporate employees’ perspectives into the main work of the
organization and to enhance work by rethinking primary tasks and redefining markets, products,
strategies, missions, business practices, and even cultures.
This article identifies eight preconditions for making the paradigm shift that help to position
organizations to use identify group differences in the service of organizational learning, growth and
In the example of First Interstate Bank, it demonstrates a paradigm shift in progress. This bank operates
on minority community client base. It involved the career path for people without degrees, issue with old
junior staff, who was not having college degree, but over the years become experience enough to handle
higher responsibility. This is case of managing diversity, not based on race or gender but on class. In
other examples, where this shift is completed, company leaders have played a critical role as
facilitator and tone setters. Their actions are in general involved Making the mental connection,
Legitimating open discussion, Work against forms of dominance and subordination that inhibit full
contribution, Making sure that Organizational trust stays intact.
Finally, a shift towards this paradigm requires a high level commitment to learning more about the
environment, structure, and tasks of one’s organization, and giving improvement generating change
greater priority than the security of what is familiar. This is not an easy challenge, but unless
organizations take this step, any diversity initiative will fall short of fulfilling the rich promise.
Diversity Challenges in Indian Industry
India is a country with a number of regional states, cultures, languages, religion, social casts, urban/
rural divide and political unions. These factors brings is a diverse set of values and discipline in
living and work ethics of people. Also, women social behaviour is hugely impacted based on their
background of these factors. Thus, organizational environment in Indian workplace has to take into
account these factors, while designing a role and job description of an employee. For example, working
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hours and dress code for women employee at workplace, religious festivals in a particular region and
holidays, dress codes for a particular community, public social behaviour etc. There is also political
affiliation challenge faced due to regional diversity in people migrating from one state to other states of
India, which has put employee’s security at risk in some industries in some states.
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