Diversity and the Impact on Individual Behavior

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Diversity and the Impact on Individual Behavior
The closest definition to individual behavior is personality which is "the totality of an individual's behavioral and emotional characteristics. Personality embraces a person's moods, attitudes, opinions, motivations, and style of thinking, perceiving, speaking and acting. It is part of what makes each individual distinct" (Answers, 2007). Diversity within organizations can positively or negatively impact individual behavior. Diversity includes all the ways in which individuals differ including race, gender, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation and child/elder care responsibilities (Census bureau, 2007). Organizations can create opportunities to draw upon people with different backgrounds, providing new perspectives for organizational and personal success (Census bureau, 2007). There are many diversity issues within the workplace however, ethnicity, gender, geographical differences, and religion highly impact individual behaviors within an organization. Ethnicity

Ethnic groups are often associated with race and incorporate the view of skin color differences with language, culture, or nationality (Lewis, 2003, para. 9). Racial groups are usually formed from two or more ethnic groups such as Hispanic-Americans, Irish-Americans, Japanese-Americans, African-Americans, etc (Lewis, 2003, para. 9). People of color are projected to be the majority of the U.S. population by the year 2060 and 30% of the population will be Hispanic (Schermerhorn, 2005, p. 30). With the numbers of different ethnic groups on the rise, organizations that employ individuals from many different ethnic groups may benefit from the differences in views and backgrounds that these individuals bring.

Organizations need to take additional time to research what is important to different ethnic groups. McDonald's took 13 months to figure out that Hindus in India do not eat beef and once they began making burgers out of lamb, sales increased (Lopez-Campillo, n.d., para. 10). Another example is how an American firm sent a business proposal to Saudi Arabia in pig skin to dramatize the presentation. Pigs are an insult to Muslims, so the proposal was never opened (Lopez-Campillo, n.d., para. 10). Knowing what is important to an ethnic group causes employees from that group to feel more comfortable in the workplace. Also, educating all employees about different ethnic groups is a way for all employees to gain a better understanding of their co workers. Gender

"In 1950 about one in three women participated in the labor force. By 1998, nearly three of every five women of working age were in the labor force" (Heatherfield, n.d., para. 4). In 2008, the U.S. Department of labor estimates that women will make up 48% of the workforce (Heatherfield, n.d., para. 6). As the number of women in the workforce rises so do the numbers of women who hold higher titles such as Chairman, CEO, Vice Chairman, President, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President, and Executive Vice President. This number has increased from 7.3% in 2000 to 9.9% in 2002 (Diversity statistics, 2006).

Women are advancing in the workplace both in volume and in numbers of higher positions, but are still not paid equally to men. For every dollar earned by men, Caucasian women earn 59 cents, Asian women earn 67 cents, African-American women earn 57 cents, and Hispanic women earn 48 cents (Diversity statistics, 2006). This could cause women to feel that their contributions are not as important as their male peers. They may also feel that employers do not acknowledge that many women are raising families in a single parent household. Attendance may be an issue that employers face because women are raising their children on their own, but these employers should offer solutions such as flexible schedules and the ability to take paid and unpaid leaves to care for children. Susan M. Heatherfield (n.d.) feels that "employers...
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