Although the advantage of managing diversity has been acknowledged by a number of researches and most managers in organizations, the practices of diversity used to be ignored or be inadequate. In Australia, the concepts of managing diversity have been introduced for more than two decades, whereas the overall performance is just about "mediocre". This paper attempted to research the challenges accompanied by the introduction of diversity programs and to recommend solutions of those problems. The findings indicated that resistance both from majority and minority, lack of commitment from senior management, immaturity of diversity management application and lack of evaluation of diversity programs as the main challenges accompanied by managing diversity. In addition, the recommendations were full participation of all parties in organizations, finding indirect benefits of diversity programs which may be critical to certain business and seeing diversity program as the advantages which may benefit organizations in the long term.
Diversity management has become one of the primary challenges for HRM as organizations become diversity worldwide. (Benshchop, 2001: 1166; D'Netto & Sohal, 1999: 530) According to the U.S. Census Bureau project, 40% of U.S. residents will be members of racial or ethic minority groups in 2030, while the percentage of minority groups is 28% in 1999. (Dansky et. al., 2003 : 243) Other research which conducted by Opportunity Now stated that only 20% of U.K. workforce will be white, male, able-bodied and under 45 years old by the year 2010. (Willmott, 2003: 2) Likewise, with the changes of economic condition, social and legal environment, diversity also becomes one of critical issues and resources that are needed to be managed in Australian organizations. (D'Netto & Sohal, 1999: 530; Lewis, 2000: 5; Teicher et al., 2002: 320) A forecast predicted that 20% to 25% of Australian people will be of Asian origin by the year 2030. (D'Netto & Sohal, 1999:530 sited in Nankervis et al., 1999) Diversity workforce is generally believed as one of the critical vehicles which bring corporations competitive advantage. A survey named Impact of Diversity Initiatives on the Bottom Line in 2001 claimed that 79% of HRM experts at Fortune 1,000 companies in U.S. believed that diversity improved corporate culture, 77% for employee recruitment and 52% for client relations. (Campbell, 2003: 152) With the confidence of diversity which can benefit enterprises, a number of companies have engaged in managing diversity in Australia for many years. At Westpac, for example, a diversity program which focused on the advancement of female employees had been successfully implemented in 1990s. Other example was Hewlett-Packard, the company which stated diversity, work/life balance and development are their pillars of HRM policy. Ford Australia, similarly, used Natural Work Groups which represented their ethnically-diverse workforce. (Barrile, 2003: 6) However, two researchers argued that the overall performance of managing diversity is just about "mediocre" in Australia. (D'Netto & Sohal, 1999: 541; D'Netto & Sohal, 1999: 530 sited in Dagher et al., 1998) In other words, numerous challenges, difficulties and failures are still taken place within the diversity programs in Australian organizations currently. This essay will attempt to research on what kinds of challenges will accompany with the introduction of a diversity program in organizations and particularly in the context of Australia. Then, certain solutions will be recommended in order to overcome those challenges which are justified in this paper.
This essay will highline the challenges which followed by diversity practices in organizations and the challenges under the Australian context meanwhile. Firstly, in the session of Concepts of Diversity Management, an integrated explanation of diversity management will be presented by examining the definitions of...