Diversity is often explained to mean different kinds of people from different races, ethnicity and beliefs, countries, ages, religion, political views, gender etc.
Irrespective of where everyone is from, diversity is set to understand and accept that everyone is different from each other and uniquely so. Some people believe that their culture should be the ideal or only way to live, which shouldn’t be. A typical example is A Nigerian who works in a firm in the United States; he refers to his boss as “Sir” out of respect. In Nigeria, as a part of the culture, respect for elders or anyone above you such your boss is a big deal. His boss would rather be addressed by his first name; he doesn’t feel disrespected by this. The idea is to be able to adjust in whatever diverse situation a person finds himself or herself.
Diversity in the workplace works in line with treating employee’s equally, “it necessitates a work environment that respects individual differences and treats all members of staff with dignity and mutual respect”. (Mullins, L. 2013).
In today’s world, diversity is ever present in a lot of companies, in the sense that they interact with clients from different cultures to achieve a high level of productivity, global understanding, an improvement on language skills, customer loyalty, promote creativity, innovation and enhances problem solving (two heads are better than one). (Andrade, S. 2010) The organizations that neglect to see how essential diversity is may end up not able to pull in and hold the sorts of clients, representatives, and business accomplices that constitutes today’s changing world.
To further explain how and why diversity produces better results, I’ll break down some of the points stated above, such as:
- High Level of Productivity: Having a group of people from different cultures with different talents working to achieve a common objective utilizing distinctive skills that shows their dedication and increases productivity. An example is of the first task given to us by our module tutor Carole; A group consisting of six persons, 3 Chinese persons, 1 Iranian, 1 Indian and a Nigerian were asked to go to Liverpool Street Station, London to collate a couple of items from within Liverpool Street Station; a scavenger hunt. In as much as this was our very first meet, we formed smaller groups, and then managed to delegate tasks and set out to get the job done. Some items on that list proved difficult to find, but we thought out of the box and got a close alternative, which were commended for.
- Promotes Creativity, Problem Solving and Innovation: When persons with distinctive personalities meet up, each person comes with a preferred method of working and tackling issues, and also of decision making, this brings about solutions to problems, the thought process involved in this promotes creativity.
The managers of businesses also have a role to play in promoting diversity in the workplace; certain management tools should be taken into consideration and implemented to effectively promote and manage diversity. Management tools such as Planning and Implementation, Conflict Resolution Skills and Communication. (Holt, M. 2014) Managers must have the capacity to arrange and execute a diversity plan, which will include creating ways to show appreciation for diversity to the workforce. Due to differences in culture, there will be disagreements; a manager is expected to be objective in resolving issues and should also inform the parties involved that their roles in the workforce are appreciated. Communication is one of the most ideal approaches to oversee diversity in the working environment. Employees’ should be grouped and encouraged to work with each other peacefully and understand themselves, this will help them see that with how different they are, each person comes with valuable contributions.
Below is a diagram of Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Value Dimensions observing different dimensions of human social life and national culture. Managers should explore this theory to gain a better understanding of people and their culture.
Source: (Human Capital Institute 2014)
In conclusion, diversity should be encouraged in organizations because it’s beneficial in the long run. A diverse workforce cuts across to customers’ showing that cohesion between races, sexes, and cultures exists. Managers should derive methods where employees’ can work together peacefully towards achieving the goals of the organization. If we get past our differences, it will help us improve to become better people by tolerating others and being sensitive to them.
List of References
Andrade, S. (2010) 6 advantages of Workplace Diversity. [Online] Saharconsulting’s Blog. Available at: http://saharconsulting.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/6-advantages-of-workplace-diversity/ [Accessed 12 June. 2014]
Holt, M. (2014) Key Tools to Manage Workplace Diversity. [Online] Available at: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/key-tools-manage-workplace-diversity-3027.html [Accessed 11 June. 2014]
Human Capital Institute (2014) Hofstede’s Cultural Value Dimensions. [Online] Available at: http://www.hci.org/lib/hofstedes-cultural-value-dimensions [Accessed 11 June. 2014]
Mullins, L. and Christy, G. (2013) Management & Organisational Behaviour, pp. 157-161. 10th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.