Managing Diversity at Spenser Owens & Co.

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Managing Diversity at Spencer Owens & Co.
Case Study – Human Resources Management Fall Semester 2010/2011


Cátia Santos #
Rita Matos Dias #681
Rita Lourenço Leite #689
Tânia Rodrigues #698

Should organizations aspire to be racially, ethnically and gender diverse? Why? Diversity is aspired by organizations as a strategic initiative that can bring advantage for the company. The aspiration of diversity is not only concerned with moral issues but it is also about competitiveness, maximizing benefits or human effectiveness. Simply recognizing diversity in a corporation helps link the variety of talents within the organization and also allows those talented employees to feel needed and have a sense of belonging, which increases their commitment to the company and allows each of them to contribute in a unique way. Thus, organizations should have a racially, ethnically and gender diverse environment mainly because of the unique advantages that diversity can bring such as: fresh outlooks, higher morale, increased flexibility, multiple perspectives, increased problem-solving skills, increased creativity, reduction in intergroup tensions, and improved market opportunities (ability to compete in global markets). Using diversity, organizations are able to ensure that they have staff with relevant knowledge of the locations in which they are working and mechanisms to use that knowledge in strategic and operational decision-making. They also are able to ensure that the diversity of their clients is represented when they are designing, marketing and delivering services and products. Managing diversity promises also advantages concerning marketing and distribution as a diverse workforce which put organizations in a better position to respond to desires and needs of culturally diverse costumers in a market – on condition that they are members of these culture groups. When employees come from diverse backgrounds, they bring individual talents and experiences with them and this invariably contributes to an organization’s overall growth and leads to a wide variety of viewpoints and business ideas. This helps an organization formulate the best business strategy, with its large pool of different ideas and solutions. Some studies also have discovered that heterogeneous groups produce better quality solutions to assigned problems than homogeneous groups, so diversity can enhance creativity and innovation. Although all these advantages, diversity has also some disadvantages, but if the value and richness brought by diversity maximizes some potential disadvantages that should exists in the organization.

Under what circumstances does a team’s cultural diversity detract or enhance its effectiveness? A diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences in suggesting ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands. A diverse collection of skills and experiences is the bridge between the work place and the market place as it allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis. Creativity also increases when people with different ways of solving difficult problems work together towards a common solution. Language skills are needed in today’s increasingly global economy, and diverse workers often have this proficiency. A diverse workforce that feels comfortable communicating varying points of view provides a larger pool of ideas and experiences.

All these benefits can lead to increase the productivity and effectiveness of a company if the communication and cooperation between the workforces are successfully achieved. Otherwise, if there are communication issues, resistance to change or even an ill defined strategy, diverse teams can lead to worst performances and lower levels of effectiveness. Low Morale, ambiguity, conflict, tension, confusion and...
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