Diversity: Individual Behavior Impact
Individual behavior is the pattern of behavior, thought, and emotion, unique to an individual, and the ways he or she interact to help or hinder the adjustment of a person to other people and situations (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2001). Within organizations, diversity can positively or negatively impact the behavior of individuals. Organizations are responsible and held accountable for making the overall work environment conducive for all within the diversified setting. Diversity is shaped and informed by a variety of characteristics including age, ethnicity, gender, disability, language, religion beliefs, life stages, education, career responsibilities, sexual orientation, personality traits, and marital status. Workplace diversity is about acknowledging differences and adapting work practices to create an inclusive environment in which one's diverse skills, perspectives, and backgrounds, are valued (Workplace Diversity Strategy, 2003). There are many diversity issues within the workplace however, age, gender, personality traits, and religion highly impacts individual behaviors within an organization. Age
"The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)", states the unlawfulness of discriminating against a person because of his or her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment; including, but not limited to, hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training (Age Diversity, 1997). Age diversity at work means employing people of all ages, and not discriminating against someone because of how old he or she is. Age discrimination can take place as a result of the organization or from the different generational differences that make-up the organization. Generational differences can have many diverse impacts on individual behavior with regard to age differences. These differences can become a big distraction, hurt morale, and teamwork, unless managers learn how to accommodate the uniqueness of each group (Gomolski, 2001). Typically older persons tend to take his or her work related responsibilities very serious unlike their younger counterparts. Older employees take pride in doing a job well whereas younger employees want to just get the job done and move on to the next assignment. Although each person is working toward the same organizational goals, due to the age difference, the approach or techniques used to reach these goals may vary. The key is to get all workers focused on the goal, rather than his or her different approaches to meeting that goal. The goal will prove to be the common ground in an age-diverse workforce (Gomolski, 2001). Gender
Gender differences are a major factor within organizations. The fact that opportunity and pay are equal is crucial however; it is not accurate to think that men and women are the same. Each gender has different methods and styles of achieving goals within the organization however, due to the many differences between them tend to leave room for conflict. As human beings, women and men share many of the same experiences and expectations, however; as individuals they are each entirely unique (Hahn, Litwin, 1995). Men see themselves as engaged in a hierarchical social order in which they are either "one up or one down" in relation to others. Their communication styles and reactions to others' communications often stress the need to "preserve independence and avoid failure." Women, on the other hand tend to see the world as a "network of connections", and their communications and interpretations of others' communications seek to preserve intimacy and avoid isolation" (Hahn, Litwin, 1995). Years ago, organizations were known as being "a man's world", or "the good ole' boys club", however; in today's time more women are joining the workforce with the demand of being treated equally. What is called for, and all-too-often lost in the debate is an approach...
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