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Diversity is found in virtually all organizations and it occurs at different levels and degrees. One such organization where diversity is evident is McDonalds particularly due to the engagement of the organization in the franchising business. Franchising has given the organization the opportunity of venturing into diverse markets. The general observation is that the organization probably has experienced diversity at various levels and at different degrees within its outlets across the world. This paper will therefore be organized in into four sections; the first section will be the introductory section which will seek to outline the most important aspects from contemporary approach, diversity through definitions and the levels of diversity. The second section will discuss how diversity affects absenteeism. The third section will look at how diversity affects productivity. The fourth section will look at how diversity affects job satisfaction. The fifth section will look at how diversity affects turn over. Finally, the sixth section will summarize the findings in conclusion. The point of focus will be the McDonalds Company due to the high probability of diversity and the extent to which various aspects with regard to diversity have been researched and documented.
Diversity and the Current Business Environment. In the contemporary business world characterized by globalization, off shoring and the intensification of competition in the market, companies are continuously looking into ways to maximize profits by establishing competitive advantage against rivals. Current approaches have mostly been geared towards the optimization of the human resource productivity, to steer companies towards greater heights in terms of development and to maximize profits. Management of human resources has faced tremendous developments over the past two decades particularly due to the realization of the flexibility of its operations. However, this does not mean that human resource has not been faced with challenges. One of the major challenges facing human resource management especially for global companies and companies operating in metropolitan and cosmopolitan cities is the need to manage diversity harmoniously.
Diversity at McDonalds. The extent to which McDonalds values and acknowledges diversity is high and this is evident just from the fact that the organization has a Global Chief Diversity Officer appointed to exclusively address diversity issues. The current Global Chief Diversity Officer concurs on the importance of diversity to the organization but acknowledges that the greatest challenge is to get all members of the team to recognize the values of diversity (Whitney). Apparently McDonalds had little choice in having a diverse work force because it already had a diversity consumer base that required the diverse work force. At McDonalds the general observation is that diversity occurs at various degrees and at all levels. Culture is a particular case where McDonalds witnesses diversity. One reason is that most outlets are situated in big metropolitan and cosmopolitan urban areas. To suffice the needs of all the customers within t region the company employees from across communities so that all the members within a community are represented. In addition, the company also has outlets distributed in 166 countries in the world and in some locations diversity surpasses just the aspect of race and color, but are also evident is other aspects such as tribe and nationality (Whitney).
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Definition of Diversity. According to (Walker 179), organizational diversity is defined as "a socio-psychological phenomenon based in a sense of 'likeness' and 'othernesses." Essentially this definition from a public management approach leans on a more social and psychological aspect where individuals tend to groups with regard to how much alike and different they are. Alike people will therefore be found together. Likeness can be approached in terms of social cultural aspects such as race, culture, religion, gender, age and even social class. Walker goes on to explain that people will tend to group themselves with regard to the attributes they share regardless of how minute the attributes are. Within the groups there is a general observation that behavioral patterns differ with regard to how people carry themselves in the presence of people they perceive to be like them and people they perceive to be different from them. There are high chances that such social issues may be experienced within an organization which acts as a small community where people interact with each other at different levels. Daft provides a more direct definition from a leadership by outlining that workforce diversity means a workforce made up of people with different human qualities or who belong to various cultural groups (333). Daft's approach although similar to the one provided by Walker because it mentions culture, proceeds to introduce another important aspect which is qualities. Qualities may range from conspicuous aspects like color to subtle aspects such as talent, physique and educational background. Therefore, when looking at organizational diversity some aspects such as talent may be overlooked but they have significant effect on the management of diversity.
Levels of Diversity. Diversity is usually divided into two levels that is, surface level diversity and deep level diversity with regard to how easily perceived or observed the diversity is. Therefore, surface level diversity refers to characteristics that are obvious and can be easily observed without the need of having to conduct a personality analysis. Such aspects include race, color, ethnicity, gender and age. On the hand deep levels diversity refers to the attributes that are embedded in an individual's psyche and one has to stay with that individuals for long to establish the existence of this type of diversity. Such aspects include personality, skills and competencies (Näswall 213). The general observations with regard to the two levels of diversity is that one can be learnt of just by looking and another one might only emerge after the analysis of conflicts resulting from diversity.
IMPACTS OF DIVERSITY
Absenteeism. McDonalds is recognized as the largest fast food outlet in the world and therefore diversity is a common occurrence. Diversity has the capacity to cause adverse absenteesism to any organization. In the definition by Walker (179) the general perception is that diversity affects the social aspect of individuals. In the event that employees feel that they are not part of the group or that a certain cultural or social group is looking down on them or harrassing them they may decide to come up with excuses just to avoid such circumstances. The situation is comparable to a kindergaten going child who can go to the extent of feigning sickness just to aviod being bullied. Mcdonalds has already done commendably well in managing of diversity and was even awarded Black Enterprise Diversity Award (Dubrin 64). The general realization is that McDonalds has been able to tackle diversity issues after the company recognized the importance of reducing absenteeism. Absenteeism significantly reduces the level of human resource productivity and costs a company a great deal of revenue. Initially, McDonalds had diversity problems with the hispanic employees in America that impacted on the level of their job attendance significantly. However, the management moved quickly and employed various stratgies including employee training to help in the assimilation of the employees within the general workforce. Since then McDonalds has continued to address diversity issues once thay arise or once there is the realization that employees are organizing themselves in social groups that favored the majority but demoralized the majority. In fact, one McDonalds manager in the U.S. acknowledged that since the assimilation of the disabled members of staff in his team through diversity encouraging programs, there is the realization that the disabled in some instances out perform able bodied people. McDonalds realized that diversity when tapped can become an asset to any organization (Whitney). However, when the same diversity is ignored and managers turn a blind eye on the discriminations, despisals, bullying and even name calling being directed towards some people by virtue of their diversity, the diversity can consume the human resource like cancer. The degree of diversity evident at McDonalds and the level at which the company has used the diversity to its advantage, has emphasized on the importance of diversity as a way of reaching out to an even wider customer base and improving on the productivity of human resource in general. Although to the knowledge of this paper McDonalds has not had serious diversity issues, the extent to which the organization has managed divresity shows that there is power and potential in diversity (Dubrin).
Productivity. Productivity is an important metric tools in analyzing the effeciency of the operations within an organization. Productivity is usually measured in terms of the number of units produced within a given time period. When the units are below expectations and the market cannot be sufficiently served, then the productivity is said to be low. However, when the productivity is exactly as expected or slightly above expectations then the productivity is said to be high. In McDonalds productivity with this regard can be measured to how fast food is sold at a particular outlet. Productivity trends are also important in establishing whether the productivity is nose diving or improving. Diversity can affect productivity generally in a number of ways. Some of the ways are outlined. The productivity of a company may either be improved or reduced depending on how the company manages the diversity of employees. An organization like McDonalds where customers come face to face with employees, diversity can be an asset. For instance, a Chinese customer visits a McDonalds outlet in New York and the Chinese cutomer does not understand English but want to buy a burger. If the restaurant has within its staff an American Chinese who can speak chinese the restaurant will be able to serve the customer effectively. The customer might go on to reccomend not only the outle but also other McDonalds outlets to other members of his communities or even become a patron at the outlet. This way McDonalds can benefit in expanding its customer base. Productivity of an organization can also be affected when thereis a tendency of male employees harrassing femal employees and the company does not take relevant measures. The male employees will continue wasting time trying to annoy or offend the female employees and the female employees will defend time trying to retaliate or aviod the male employees. The ultimate result is that little time will be focussed on actually taking care or responsibilities. For an organization like McDonalds the effect will be that substandard food or limited food will be cooked or the frustrations may be transferred to the customers. Hence productivity will be adversly affected. McDondalds has been able to increase productivity rates signifiantly in various oulets just by employing a diverse work force. Tapping on diversity to improve productivity is generally a difficult aspect as compared to doing the same to employee attendance. Therefore, most organization attempt to esnure that production can proceed harmoniously even in the face of diversity. McDonalds outlets especially in the U.S. experienced the diversity issues related to racism and female harrassments. The productivity was significantly reduced because some talented individuals were denied positions just because they were of a particular gender or belonged to a particular race. In such a situation the general realization is that an organization cannot attain its full potential in terms of productivity (Mercy Corps). Diversity also created many internal conflicts within many McDonalds outlets across the world and in solving the conflicts the outlets realized that a lot of time was wasted. The general realization is that productivity can be one of the most difficult areas to deal with when it has been affected by diversity. Productivity is as a result of employee motivation and it is very difficult to force one employee to work in harmony with another unless they do it willingly. McDonald however managed to tackle the diversity cases through a series of employee training and by organizing for the employees team building missions.
Job Satisfaction. Job satisftaction is an aspect that is directly related to employee motivation and productivity. Conflicts within the organization tend to affect on job satisfaction significantly and the implication is that productivity and eventually the business success of the organization. Job satisfaction is particularly important in the service and hospitality industry where employees come into direct contact with the customers. Customers look for places where they know that they will be served promtly and treated with utmost respect and regard. Ironically, most organizations expect the unsatisfied employee to continue giving quality services even in the face of frustrations and humility. The general realization among business people is that job satisfaction goes beyond high compensation rates. According to Maslows Hierachy of needs, certain needs such as working environment are also important in ensuring job satisfaction. Working environment in this perspective is observed with regard to diversity. In accomodating diversity one should always look at certain aspects that may arise as a result of the diversity. employee diversity may create certain issues that may promote or affect job satisfaction. McDonalds has placed deliberate measures to ensure that diversity is appropriately balanced so that no particular individual feels lonely at work place. For instance, a manager would not be particularly motivated when all members of his team are from a different gender, race or culture. The realization of this aspect prompted McDonalds to ensure that even when embracing diversity, it should be done in a balanced way to promote harmony. Job satisfaction is also closely related to mechanisms that are used inc ertain undertakings such as job promotions and the issuance of awards. In the face of diversity employees may have the tendency of grouping themselves with reagrd to 'likeness' and 'otherness to ensure security and protection. In such a case it is usually the minority group that suffers. For instance, a manager might be obligated to promote an individual just because that individual is from the same gender, race or ethnic group and leave out a more competent individual in the 'otherness' group. Although McDonalds has not experienced challenges with regard to such an occurrence, the managerial has placed strict measures that require employees to go through thorough vetting processes before they are given a higher post. The major challenge that McDonalds has faced with regard to job satisfaction is the communication between the managerial and the subordinate staff. Before the advocacy of proper comminication channels between the managerial and staff, conflict management within McDonalds was usually difficult. There were situations where tension would brew among the employees due to dissatisfaction and the manager would only realized after the employees decide to opt for more desperate measures. A female employee who had been continously harrassed by her employer in a McDonalds outlet restrained from informing the manager just because she belived that the manager belonged to the managerial and had little time for 'such matter.' Such an event ony occurs because of the lack of the creation of proper communication channels between different levels of operation. The employee ended up suing the outlet out of desperation. The fact that managers and other staff members operate and different levels in terms of seniority should not be a reason to create communication barriers (Eric Goldman).
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Turn Over. Turnover refers to the total sales in a given financial year. Turn over can either be affected negatively or positively by diversity. In essence divresity can either increase the sales or reduce the sales within a given financial year. Sales can be improved when an organization uses diversity to increase customer base through customized customer service. Sales can also be reduced when the internal conflicts interfere with the production of a particular organization, when diversity impacts negatively on job satisfaction or when diversity promotes absenteeism. In a McDonald outlet in Ireland the turn over was greatly affected because the managerial and employees had spent more time solving internal conflicts caused by gender diversities (Irish Hospitality Institute). The female and the men in the organization had been so immersed in competition that they forgot their primary role of serving customers. In some insatnces, employees would jeorpadize the work of another colleague just to prove a point with total disregard of the customer. The environment that ensued was one characterized by hostility that was soon evident even to the customers. As this refelcted on the sales, the manager decided to implement strategies to arrive at the root of the problem and find a solution. Eventually, after the problem was solved the employees forgave each other and business began picking up once more. Diversity should be used to improve turn over instead of letting it take control and reduce the turn over (Irish Hospitality Institute).
In the contemporary world, employee diversity is an obvious occurrence due to globalization and the fact that organizations are constantly looking for cheap and professional work force. Diversity in essence is just the heterogenity that exists within a particular work force and it has two levels; surface level and deep level. Surface level include those aspects that are obvious and includes race, gender, age e.t.c. Deep level diversity include thos aspects that are embedded within an employees' psyche and include such aspects as personality and competence. Although the case with McDonalds has mostly addressed surface level diversity, deep level diversity also equally exist but quantifying them or pin pointing a particular conflict to a given deep level diversity is often difficult. McDonald has managed to use diversity to its advantage to deliberately improve on absenteeism. Minority employees who would skip job just because they were not feeling comfortable in the environment were convinced to do so after managers coductd various training programs. McDonalds has also ensured that the productivity of its outlets are not affected due to internal conflicts resulting from diversity. In terms of job satisfaction the previous cases of harrassments and bullying at work place have also been reduced using policies and regulations that ban employees from taking advantage of another employee just because they belong to the 'otherness.' Finally, McDonalds has been able to imcrease turn over by using diversity strategies geared towards the expansion of cutomer base. The analysis of McDonalds reveals that diversity can both be favorable and unfavorable and it all depends on the measures and the strategies taken by the managerial.