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The following discussion is a reflection of the research covering major differences between diversity and multiculturalism. It discusses the essence and overall importance of both terms in the light of contemporary business. The slightest differences between two terms are significant to the evolution of business and its sustainability. Human resource management is the main regulator of employees’ activity and their interactions.
The diversity becomes one of the regulators of human relations in terms of business decisions and strategic thinking. The section of pros and cons of diversity in the workplace argues whether it is important or not, based on the ideas from various studies dedicated to the topic. By the end of the discussion, it will become clear in what way the diversity influences performance of the companies.
The contemporary world of business consists of many elements which create standards and rules of performance based on social evolution. The question of the diversity and multiculturalism has become actual today. It penetrates into managerial decisions of every employer and influences the performance of every employee in different ways. In fact, the diversity made it a mandatory aspect to meet needs of all employees, regardless of their race, religion, age, gender, and other characteristic features. However, it remains a question whether diversity is a curse or a blessing for contemporary companies. The following research indicates the main differences between diversity and multiculturalism, relationships management are influenced by both terms in the workplace, and the pros and cons of both terms. In fact, the interrelated nature of the diversity and multiculturalism may seem absent in the light of their differences and depth of understanding. Nevertheless, it is essential to understand the role of every concept in terms of human resource management. By the end of the discussion, it would be clear why the diversity has a significant influence on the development of every company based on social stereotypes streaming from the past.
Differences between Diversity and Multiculturalism
First, it is essential to understand the definitions of each human resource management concept – diversity and multiculturalism. However, both terms play their roles not only in human resource management. Diversity is a set of characteristic features, which define one individual from another. Diversity is also a group of people who have different traits, which vary from religious and socioeconomic views to skills and achievement levels. In general, the list of characteristic features is broad enough to characterize every specific group of people in a different way. Such features as sexual orientation, race, and socioeconomic status also contribute to the evaluation of every individual. From the point of human resource management (HRM), diversity focuses on a set of policies and standards, which are aimed to meet compliance.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is an organization, which takes care of the problems faced by employees in an aspect of diversity. If there are any complaints, the organization quickly contacts the company and tries to solve the problem by demanding to follow the standards of equality. In general, every company falls under the influence of this organization, which follows the government-mandated standards regulating equality in the workplace based on the diverse staff. Diversity in the workplace means that every employee receives equal working conditions with other subordinates, regardless of their differences. From this point of view, any act from the side of the company, which does not meet the needs of some employees in equal ways with other employees, is a pure example of discrimination. As long as the contemporary society strives to preserve democratic principles of performance in every sphere of life, it is obvious that non-compliance with standards leads to problems with the law. However, it is essential to understand the essence of multiculturalism, in order to see the differences with diversity.
Multiculturalism is another HRM term, which penetrates into a working environment of every company. It has a deeper insight in the peculiarities of individuals and focuses on respect, inclusiveness, equality in the society, and understanding. Multiculturalism helps people to understand and accept the fact that the contemporary world has a special attitude to people of specific races and socioeconomic statuses. Unfortunately, multiculturalism has much evidence of discrimination, based on gender and ethnicity. From this point of view, multiculturalism focuses primarily on the cultural aspects, which define roles of individuals in the contemporary society. Regardless of the idea that the contemporary society aims to avoid discrimination, everyone still has a set of old-fashioned stereotypes. The contemporary companies are not an exception and the negative influence of social stereotypes may penetrate the internal environment of every business. In addition, from the point of HRM, multiculturalism is a sensitive topic, which aims to support ethnic and cultural diversity in the workplace by maintaining balance in the relations of employees. In fact, it is impossible not to mention that diversity and multiculturalism greatly contribute to the particular course of the relations management. In this way, employees build their relations based on various differences between each other.
In general, it is essential to mention that employees’ relations formulate the essence of internal environment of the company. From the point of diversity and multiculturalism, it is possible to outline some privileges and overall power defined in specific cases of relations. Routine business activity is full of interactions, which make it important to understand the interconnection of people, formulating the diversity in terms of business. In addition, it is important to mention that privilege may have a hidden character, as long as the communication process does not always reveal openly the obvious advantages of individuals. Race privilege may have a hidden character in different situations, which penetrate the relations of individuals. For example, a business lunch involving a Caucasian and an African American has a hidden privilege when the first one pays for both. Today, everyone may consider it as an act of kindness and politeness. However, the history of the socioeconomic welfare of African Americans rooted some basic principles of attitude to this race. From this point of view, it is understandable how racial privilege manifests itself in the working place.
Social class privilege is another part of multicultural and diverse communication, which arouses many misunderstandings. For example, when it comes to natural disasters, many people do not understand why those who suffer cannot move to another place. In fact, the main misunderstanding is that the victims of disaster can hardly afford to put gas in their cars or purchase plane tickets, since they have just lost everything they had. It is a socioeconomic characteristic, which may still be present in the majority of contemporary business relations. From the point of HRM, there are cases when entrepreneurs may refuse to work with their partners in the light of a certain natural disaster, as long as the partners become useless without financial resources.
Gender privilege is another aspect, which penetrates the contemporary business sphere in different ways. For example, it is obvious that men are expected to open a door for women when they come together. It is another hidden privilege of women, which deserve to have enough care from the side of men due to gender peculiarities and gender roles. In fact, another example in the common life is that women are expected to take the last name of their husband when they are getting married. It is another tradition, which is based on diversity and gender roles. In fact, it is not a noticeable phenomenon in the world of complex gender relations.
Finally, it is possible to outline sexual orientation privilege, which still exists in the contemporary society in general, regardless of the various changes. For example, in the workplace, it becomes obvious that heterosexual employees feel more freedom to put a picture of their partners on the desk. It means that homosexual employees feel more fear to face tension and stress if they reveal their sexual orientation. The internal environment of the contemporary business is still full of stereotypes, even if it keeps them hidden in the light of social desire to reach a pure democracy and equality of rights.
Pros and Cons of Diversity in the Workplace
The diversity contributes to the overall refreshment of organizational culture, thanks to the inclusion of people belonging to different races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and worldviews. It is obvious that such an outlining HRM category has its advantages and disadvantages on performance of the company, in general. First, it is important to consider the positive aspects of diversity, which influence the development of the company.
One of the most important advantages is that the diversity brings synergy to the performance of employees. It becomes easy to apply team-building techniques and motivate employees to work together on the same project. The diversity is a natural booster of productivity, which is based on continuous enhancement of creativity. Every employee has his own life experiences, skills, knowledge, and characteristic features related to gender, religion, race, or worldview, in general. From this point of view, every employee is capable of contributing to the success of the project in a different way. An active exchange of information leads to synergy, which results in understanding, mutual support, and respect. The main idea of broadening the diversity of employees within the workplace is an encouragement of continuous improvement and business evolution, based on brainstorming processes within the company.
Another benefit of diversity in the workplace is that it may exist in a normal way, in case of total workplace equality. It is a natural regulator of employees’ activity, which represents significance to the transparency of management. Employees are capable of working with each other in terms of diversity, in case of the company’s active support of equal payments, benefits, and workplace conditions. It means that the company cannot force diversity in the workplace without the appropriate conditions. In this way, employees develop respect not only to each other, but also to their employer.
Further, the greatest benefit is that the company, which supports diversity, is most likely to increase its client base. Customers are more willing to turn to the products and services to those companies, which welcome the diversity, support it, and contribute to the development of all employees equally. In addition, the company simultaneously improves its reputation by impressing not only the customers, but also suppliers. It means that the company’s image and reputation partially depend on the company’s ability to maintain diversity among employees and support the balanced internal environment full of equality of rights and democracy.
Nevertheless, the diversity may also have a negative influence on the company’s performance. It means that it requires a careful consideration in different aspects, in order to meet the needs of the company and achieve success. If the company does not feel the borderline of diversity propaganda in the workplace, it will most likely to face one of the biggest problems. Employees may start looking for another workplace, where the employer does not put diversity in the focus of every activity. It may confuse some managers, but the diversity should have a natural and balanced inclusion in the workplace, which will not remind employees of their differences from others. Recruitment, selection, training, benefits, teamwork, and other aspects of HRM should not create tension among employees. The problem primarily comes from nonminority groups of employees, who feel that the company neglects them. It may seem that diversity groups of employees receive a preferential attitude from their employers, while others stay in the shadow of the diversity groups. Such an imbalanced treatment of employees may result in the increased employee turnover rate, which can hardly be fixed.
Furthermore, it is essential to mention that the development of business made it difficult to adhere to the changeable environment with its requirements. In fact, it is necessary to point to the idea that maintaining diversity in the workplace means spending many investments. Moreover, it is most likely that the company will need to hire a consultant who will create a training program for the employees. From the point of view of employees, it may seem to be a useless idea, which may lead to many arguments and disagreements to participate. Nevertheless, it is impossible to avoid training sessions, which are aimed to bring employees together and teach them how to collaborate in a highly competitive business environment. Otherwise, the company will lose its developmental stage, compared to other companies working in the same field. It means that the diversity training programs have an unexpected effect on the company’s further performance. It may lead to the inability of the company to understand employee’s needs because of their denial to participate in training. As a result, the company will not only burden its reputation, but will also lose its employees because of misunderstanding. In general, it is obvious that the diversity requires many investments and wise managerial decisions. Otherwise, the consequences of inexperienced leader in brining balance to the employee’s interconnected performance may be fatal.
The research managed to outline the most important aspects of diversity and multiculturalism. The main difference of multiculturalism from the diversity is that it has a deeper insight into the cultural side of differences between people. In fact, the diversity remains a primary regulator of HRM programs, which focus on the development of employees and their interconnection for the sake of company’s evolution.
However, an analysis of advantages and disadvantages proved that it is necessary to expect both positive and negative outcomes of the implementation of diversity-training program. Employees may start thinking that the training is useless and unnecessary, while the employer will continue to create tension by forcing to include diversity. In this way, employees may start looking for another workplace, as long as the employer decided to show preference to the diverse group of employees. In general, it became obvious that the topic of diversity remains one of the most sensitive ones regarding business. If the company does not take a balanced and careful approach towards optimization of the company’s performance in terms of diversity, it will burden its reputation and lose talented minds.