Manage Diversity within the Workplace
Very seldom has the management taken proactive action to prevent diversity problems before they occur. By understanding the importance of managing diversity and the impact of cultural diversity on organization are critical to any managers and supervisors today.
The organizations have not always addressed social problems head on. The symptoms are treated but not the causes. Thus, the problems never really disappear. In the past, the management gave diversity attention only when necessary. The result was temporary and usually created a backlash of resentment.
The organizations have made diversity training a standard ...view middle of the document...
The converging of these differences can create conflict. If not properly handled, conflict and other negative behaviors based on actual or perceived differences can be detrimental to teamwork and unit cohesion. The responsibility of managers and supervisors is to recognize and manage these differences so that they do not interfere with the job’s effectiveness and ability to perform and create hostile environment within their workplaces.
As a society, we have made a great deal of progress in trying to peacefully resolve our differences both domestically and internationally. However, progress has not been easy nor has it been timely. As we resolve one conflict, another old or new problem will emerge to take its place. Successful managers and supervisors are meeting these challenges whenever and wherever they might surface constantly. What leaders must understand is that when diverse groups come together, conflict is sure to follow.
As it is passed from one group to another some elements will change while others will not. Our culture surrounds us and gives us identity. It supports our beliefs and values and rewards us when we reinforce them. However, when one’s culture is a subculture within a more larger or dominant culture, like the military, contrasting and conflicting identities, beliefs, values, and rewards may affect people differently. Even the military’s culture, with its long history of customs and courtesies, is constantly being revised.
It is important for managers and supervisors to acknowledge the diversity conflict conditions that exist within the organization. Valuing differences is a new management strategy and is considered by many to be the most creative approach to managing diverse groups. This approach is constantly being revised and is based on the principle of valuing differences in all employees. Valuing diversity requires that we rethink our assumptions about the process of assimilation as viewed from the traditional “melting pot” experience. Today we must acknowledge the fact that people are no longer wanting or willing to give up their cultural heritage just to be accepted.
In his book, Cultural Diversity in Organizations: Theory, Research and Practice (1993), Dr. Taylor Cox’s model provides a conceptual model (Figure 1) shows the impact of diversity on an organization. The model also shows that a person’s group affiliation such as age, gender and race can be analyzed on three levels: individual, group/intergroup and organizational. This climate may influence individual and organizational outcomes either as affective outcomes or achievement outcomes. These individual outcomes may impact organizational factors such as work quality and productivity.
Figure 1. Interactional Model of the Impact of Diversity on Individual Career
Outcomes and Organizational Effectiveness
Source: Loden, Marilyn and Judy B. Rosener, Ph.D. Workforce America!...