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Diversity management


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Diversity management

  1. 1. iversity (business)From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFor financial strategy, see Diversification (finance). This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.  It needs additional citations for verification. Ta gged since July 2007.  It may require cleanup to meet Wikipedias quality standards. Tagged since July 2007.The "business case for diversity" stems from the progression of the models ofdiversity within the workplace since the 1960s. The original model for diversitywas situated around affirmative action drawing strength from the law and a needto comply with equal employment opportunity objectives. This compliance basedmodel gave rise to the idea that tokenism was the reason an individual was hiredinto a company when they differed from the dominant group. This primarilyincluded race, ethnicity, and gender. Although affirmative action is the law, inmost cases, US employers are prohibited by federal and state laws from givingrace or ethnicity any consideration in hiring or assigning employees,[1] includinghiring to fill diversity quotas. However, the US Supreme Court has upheld the useof limited preferences based on race, ethnicity, and sex, when there is a “manifestimbalance” in a “traditionally segregated job category.”[2][3] The social justicemodel evolved next and extended the idea that individuals outside of the dominantgroup should be given opportunities within the workplace, not only because it wasthe law, but because it was the right thing to do. This model still revolved aroundthe idea of tokenism, but it also brought in the notion of hiring based on a "goodfit". From social justice developed the model of representation and diversityacceptance where the scope of diversity expanded beyond gender, race andethnicity to include age, sexual orientation, and physical ability. Today, thediversity model is one of inclusion which reflects a globalized economy andmulticultural work force where value is placed on diversity of thought, and theperspectives shared from individual standpoints are seen to benefit organizations
  2. 2. that are savvy enough to capitalize on them. [4] The business case for diversitytheorizes that, in a global marketplace, a company that employs a diverseworkforce, is better able to understand the demographics of the marketplace itserves and is thus better equipped to thrive in that marketplace thana company that has a more limited range of employee demographics.Beyond having a workforce that mirrors the changing demographics of the globalconsumer market and the ability to better understand their desires and preferences,productivity and costs can be analyzed to assist in building the business case fordiversity. In the deficit model, organizations that do not have a strong diversityinclusion culture will invite lower productivity, higher absenteeism, and higherturnover which will result in higher costs to the company. [5] On the other hand, acompany choosing to foster an inclusive environment for increased productivity,better problem solving capabilities, and increased market share is applying theinvestment model, or value-added model to diversity inclusion strategies. Eithermodel, however, requires an intentional implementation from top leadershipwithin the organization for the culture to truly be one of inclusion and acceptance. Contents [hide]1 Workplace diversity o 1.1 Leadership o 1.2 Benefits o 1.3 Challenges2 Diversity inclusion as a strategic initiative o 2.1 Liberal change o 2.2 Radical changes o 2.3 Transformational change3 Implementation4 See also5 References[edit]Workplace diversityIn a journal article entitled The multicultural organization by Taylor Cox, Jr., Coxtalks about three organization types which focus on the development of culturaldiversity. The three organization types are: the monolithic organization, the plural
  3. 3. organization, and the multicultural organization. In the monolithic organization,the amount of structural integration (the presence of persons from differentcultural groups in a single organization) is minimal and white male privilege isvery tangible. This type of organization may have women and marginalizedmembers within the workforce, but not in positions of leadership andpower. [6] The plural organization has a more heterogeneous membership than themonolithic organization and takes steps to be more inclusive of persons fromcultural backgrounds that differ from the dominant group. This type oforganization seeks to empower those from a marginalize standpoint to encourageopportunities for promotion and positions of leadership. [6] The multiculturalorganization not only contains many different cultural groups, but it values thisdiversity. It encourages healthy conflict as a source of avoiding groupthink. [7][edit]LeadershipThe culture of an organization is reflective of the leadership. Exploringorganizations that have experienced dramatic culture shifts, such as NASA fromthe height and success of the Apollo era to the demise of the Challenger andColumbia days, it is evident that the culture was in large part affected by the topleaders. [8] A study of successful multicultural organizations as opposed tomonolithic and plural organizations can be understood by applying theories ofleadership which have evolved over time. Trait leadership theory suggests thatleadership is dependent on physical and social attributes of the individual andgreatly based on European cultures. [9] Theories that deal with power andauthority will include the autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire leadership styleswhich reference the management and subordinate relationship to distributing andsharing power. These can overlap and lend themselves to situational leadershipwhich Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard suggested depends the combination ofthe relationship behavior and the tasks at hand. [10] The last types of leadershipwhich underscore those of the multicultural organizations are transformationaland discursive leadership. Transformational leadership focuses on change agentsand those with a competency to see the vision for the future and communicate itto others. Discursive leadership takes a closer examination of a leaders ability toshape the organizational talk, meaning and resulting interpretations from alldiscursive acts, symbols and vocabulary. [9] The combination of these last twoleadership styles creates a culture that allows and encourages mid-level managersto use diversity as an influential resource in order to enhance organizational
  4. 4. effectiveness. In the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, C.L. Walck definesmanaging diversity in the workplace as "Negotiating interaction across culturallydiverse groups, and contriving to get along in an environment characterized bycultural diversity".[11][edit]BenefitsDiversity is beneficial to both the organization and the members as noted above.Diversity brings substantial potential benefits such as better decision making andimproved problem solving, greater creativity and innovation, which leads toenhanced product development, and more successful marketing to different typesof customers.[6] [4] Diversity provides organizations with the ability to compete inglobal markets.[12]Simply recognizing diversity in a corporation helps link thevariety of talents within the organization.[13] The act of recognizing diversity alsoallows for those employees with these talents to feel needed and have a sense ofbelonging, which in turn increases their commitment to the company and allowseach of them to contribute in a unique way.[14] Standpoint theory suggests thatmarginalized groups bring a different perspective to an organization thatchallenges the status quo since their socially constructed world view will differfrom that of the dominant group.[15] Although the standpoint of the dominantgroup will often carry more weight, a transformational leader will encourageconflicting standpoints to coexist within an organization which will create aforum for sanctioned conflict to ensue. Conflict stems from challenging the waythings have always been done, and/or ideas and problems that have not beenexplored from multiple perspectives. Standpoint theory gives a voice to those in aposition to see patterns of behavior that those immersed in the culture havedifficulty acknowledging.[16] These unique and varying standpoints help toeradicate groupthink which can develop within a homogenous group.[4] ScottPage‟s (2007) [17]mathematical modeling research of team work reflects this view.His models demonstrated that heterogeneous teams consistently out-performedhomogeneous teams on a variety of tasks. Page points out, however, that diversityin teamwork is not always simple and that there are many challenges to fosteringan inclusive environment in the workplace for diversity of thought and ideas.[edit]ChallengesOne of the greatest challenges an organization has when trying to adopt a moreinclusive environment is assimilation for any member outside of the dominant
  5. 5. group. A number of scholars have studied the interplay between power, ideologyand discursive acts which serve to reinforce the hegemonic structure oforganizations.[18] Everything from organizational symbols, rituals, and storiesserve to maintain the position of power held by the dominant group.[18] Extendingthis concept to diversity inclusion where organizations seek to hire or promoteindividuals that are not part of this dominant group into management positions, adifficult tension develops between the socially constructed organizational normand acceptance of cultural diversity. Often these individuals are mentored andcoached to adopt the necessary traits for inclusion into the privileged group asopposed to being embraced for their differences. [4][19] According to the journalarticle Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: The State of the Field, Marlene G.Fine explains that "those who assimilate are denied the ability to express theirgenuine selves in the workplace; they are forced to repress significant parts oftheir lives within a social context that frames a large part of their daily encounterswith other people." Fine goes on to mention that "People who spend significantamounts of energy coping with an alien environment have less energy left to dotheir jobs. Assimilation does not just create a situation in which people who aredifferent are likely to fail, it also decreases the productivity of organizations".[12]Another challenge faced by organizations striving to foster a more diverseworkforce is the management of a diverse population. Managing diversity is morethan simply acknowledging differences in people.[20] A number of organizationaltheorists have suggested that work-teams which are highly diverse can be difficultto motivate and manage for a variety of reasons. A major challenge ismiscommunication within an organization. There are competencies, however,which help to develop effective communication in diverse organizationalenvironments. These skills include self-monitoring, empathy, and strategicdecision-making. Self-monitoring refers to a communicators awareness of howhis/her behavior affects another person along with his/her willingness to modifythis behavior based on knowledge of its impact. Empathy enables the receiver togo beyond the literal meaning of a message and consider the communicatorsfeelings, values, assumptions, and needs. Strategic decision-making implies thatthe communication sources and channels used to reach organization members, aswell as the substance of the messages conveyed, are mindfully selected.[21]In herarticle entitled Developing Receiver-Centered Communication in DiverseOrganizations, Judi Brownell explains that a message meaning can never be
  6. 6. completely shared because no two individuals experience events in exactly thesame way. Even when native and non-native speakers are exposed to the samemessages, they may interpret the information differently.[21]Each interpretsmessages and discerns meanings based on their unique standpoint, and without awillingness to accept differing standpoints, an environment is created where themarginalized groups have no voice.[22]This is an additional challenge that diverse organizations face, maintaining aculture which supports the idea of employee voice especially for marginalizedgroup members. When the organizational environment is not supportive ofdissenting viewpoints, employees may choose to remain silent for fear ofrepercussions, [23] or they may seek alternative safe avenues to express theirconcerns and frustrations such as on-line forums and affinity groupmeetings.[24] By finding opportunities such as these to express dissent, individualscan begin to gather collective support and generate collective sense-making whichcreates a voice for the marginalized members so they can have a collective voiceto trigger change.[25][edit]Diversity inclusion as a strategic initiativeManaging diversity goes far beyond the limits of equal employment opportunityand affirmative action. Chief Diversity Officers (CDO) recognize that strategicplanning is necessary for creating a productive, diverse workforce. They seek outcontinuous learning opportunities and ongoing diversity sensitivity training fororganizational managers and staff. Managers must be willing to work towardschanging the organization in order to create a culture of diversity andinclusion that follows the mission, vision, and values set forth by the leadership.Three approaches towards corporate diversity management can be distinguished:Liberal Change, Radical Change, and Transformational Change.[26][edit]Liberal changeThe liberal concept recognizes equality of opportunity in practice when allindividuals are enabled freely and equally to compete for social rewards. The aimof the liberal change model is to have a fair labor market from which the bestperson is chosen for a job position based solely on performance. To support thisconcept, a framework of formal rules has been created and policy makers areresponsible for ensuring that these rules are enforced on all so none shall bediscriminated against. One weakness of the liberal view is that the formal rules
  7. 7. cannot cover every aspect of work life, as there is almost always an informalaspect to work such as affinity groups, hidden transcripts, and alternative informalcommunication channels.[27][28] The liberal change approach centers on law,compliance, and legal penalties for non-compliance. Title VII of the Civil RightsAct of 1964 protects employees and job applicants in the US from discriminationby employers. In Europe, the Treaties of Rome 1957 establish the right to equalpay for women and men. Recently, the European Parliament and the Councilpassed EU directives concerning equal opportunities at work. Directive2000/78/EC establishes a framework for equal treatment in employment andoccupation. Directive 2006/54/EC deals with the implementation of the principleof equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters ofemployment and occupation. These anti-discrimination laws uphold affirmativeaction and ensures equal treatment for job applicants and employers regardless oftheir gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, physical ability,or beliefstructure.[edit]Radical changesIn contrast to the liberal approach, radical change seeks to intervene directly in theworkplace practices in order to achieve balanced workforces (in regard to alldiversity dimensions), as well as a fair distribution of rewards among employees.The radical approach is thus more outcome focused than focused on the formingthe rules to ensure equal treatment.[28] One major tool of radical change is quotaswhich are set by companies or national institutions with the aim to regulatediversity of the workforce and equal opportunities. Quota systems are criticallydiscussed concerning their effectiveness. Arguments for and against quotasystems in companies or public institutions include contrasting ideas such as:quotas compensate for actual barriers that prevent marginalized members fromattaining their fair share of managerial positions to quotas are against equalopportunity for all and imply that a marginalized member only got the position tofill the quota. [29] Sweden‟s quota system for parliamentary positions is a positivecase for radical change through quota setting.[30] A quota system was introducedat the Swedish parliament with the aim of ensuring that women constitute at leasta „critical minority‟ of 30 or 40 percent of all parliament seats. Since theintroduction of the system, women representation in parliament has risendramatically even above the defined quota. Today, 47.3 percent of parliamentary
  8. 8. representatives are women, a number which stands out compared to the globalaverage of 19%.[edit]Transformational changeTransformational change covers an equal opportunity agenda for both theimmediate need as well as long term solutions.[31] For this reason, it has beenconsidered a combination of the liberal and radical approach. For the short-term itimplements new measures to minimize bias in procedures such as recruitment orpromotion. The long-term, however, is seen as a project of transformation fororganizations. This approach acknowledges the existence of power systems andseeks to contest and challenge the existing hegemony through implementation ofequality values throughout all levels of the organization. An illustrative case fortransformational change is ageing management.[32] Younger employees are seenas more innovative and flexible, while older employees are associated with highercosts of salary, benefits, and healthcare needs.[33] Therefore companies may preferyoung workers to older staff. Through application of the transformational conceptan immediate intervention provides needed relief while the long range cultureshift occurs. For the short-term solution an organization can set up legislation toprevent discrimination regarding age (e.g. Age Discrimination in EmploymentAct). However, for the long-term solution, negative stereotypes of olderemployees needs to be replaced with the positive realization that older employeescan add value to the workplace through their experience and knowledgebase. [34] To balance this idea with the benefit of innovation and flexibility thatcomes with youth, a mixture of ages in the workforce is ideal.[35] Throughtransformational change, the short term solution affords the organization the timenecessary to enact deep rooted culture changes leading to a more inclusiveenvironment.[edit]ImplementationDiversity issues change over time, depending on local historical and dynamicconditions. Intentional "diversity programs" can assist schools, governmentagencies, and businesses facing rapid demographic changes in their localconsumer market and labor pool by helping people work and understand eachother better.[4] Resources exist through best practice cases of organizations thathave successfully created inclusive environments supporting and championingdiversity. An example of a company involved with creating diversity in the
  9. 9. workplace is MentorNet,[36] a non-profit online mentoring organization thatfocuses on women and underrepresented minorities in the STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. MentorNet has used analgorithm to match over 30,000 mentor relationships since 1997. The organizationis unique because gives students, especially women and underrepresentedminorities, the chance to seek mentors to discuss how to overcome diversityobstacles in their fields and eventually their workplace.Implementing diversity inclusion initiatives must start with the commitment fromthe top. Hegemony refers to the dominant structure where one group is benefittingover others; however, the dominant group isnt doing this to the othermarginalized groups, all members are a part of actively participating andmaintaining the dominant structure.[37] Max Weber used a web metaphor toexplain that we live in a socially constructed web of meaning which we ourselvescreate and which we cannot live outside of.[18] Individuals therefore have agencyto create the structure and influence it through communication discoursepractices, yet they are simultaneously constrained by what they create. Whenpractical consciousness, which Giddens refers to as taken for granted knowledgeand behavior as a naturalized way it is, is interrupted, then intentional change tothe hegemonic system can occur.[18] For this reason, with a commitment from topleaders in an organization to change the existing culture to one of diversityinclusion, the diversity change management process can succeed. This processincludes analyzing where the organization is currently at through a diversity audit,creating a strategic action plan, gaining support by seeking stakeholder input, andholding individuals accountable through measurable results.[4]