Diversity in the Workplace: a Literature Review

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Diversity in the Workplace

In today's society, cultural diversity is at the highest point it has ever been. As companies are becoming more diverse, it is becoming more important for them to understand and manage that diversity. People of different backgrounds, races, ages, sex, and/or religions create a diverse workforce. There is an importance of having a diverse workforce in order to provide better performance overall. With a diverse workforce, there arises a need for new management strategies, which require organization leaders and managers to know the differences among their employees and to know how to handle situations involving these differences. As Dr. Sondra Thiederman, a leading expert in workplace diversity, stated, ``whether you are a business owner, executive, salesperson or customer- service professional, your success will increasingly depend on your ability to function in a culturally diverse marketplace'' (Thiederman, 2000). During this past summer, I participated in an internship program in which I worked for a major company, Thorngate, that employees over 300 people. In this organization, there is a divide between upper management and the workers in terms of diversity. Upper management is predominately white male, while the worker population is predominately female. This is added to with the diversity in race among the workers. This divide could potentially be problematic for the company. Literature on the subject of diversity in the workplace and how it can be handled, revealed statistics on diversity and suggestions for how to handle it. The growth in diversity is continually on the rise. Today, one in four people in this country belong to a minority or are foreign-born (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001). These minorities are considered include any person who is not a white-male. Women today, who currently make up less than half the work force, are expected to fill 65 percent of the jobs created during this decade (Jackson et al., 1998). Also...
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