Organizational Behavior in a Multicultural Environment:

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Abstract: This paper looks at what part diversity plays in organizations in today’s multicultural environment. We first introduce organizational behavior and organizational culture and explain the importance of diversity in relations to both. We then take into consideration leadership and the importance of diversity initiatives being a focal part of management. Research shows that for diversity to play a vital role in an organization’s culture leaders must make it a priority, training and education must be provided and it must all start at the recruitment stage.

“The real death of America will come when everyone is alike.” -James T. Ellison

In today’s society the above quote by James T. Ellison is one of intrigue. America, in our opinion, is fulfilling its promise of being a multicultural society, providing opportunities for everyone within its boarders. Because of this, we do not expect for everyone to act, think, and perform the same. Our differences are what keep us going. America’s organizations must mirror the changing society in which they serve in order to be successful. To do this, company leaders must have a firm understanding of organizational behavior, organizational culture and diversity. In addition, leadership styles may need to be altered in order to incorporate and appreciate the diverse workforce.

Organizational Behavior, Organizational Culture, and Diversity Defined Organizational behavior is a social discipline that involves studying how employees act and perform in organizations (Miner, 2006, p. 3). Organizational culture is the value and beliefs of an organization that influences employee behavior (Keyton, 2005, p. 22). Diversity is the individual differences in those employees based on external factors such as race, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity (Cross, 200, p. 2). Understanding organizational behavior can help employees and managers create an enriching work environment because it helps both groups to become aware of how differences affect interactions and relationships in the workplace. This is especially important for managers because it may be necessary to alter leadership styles depending on the needs of their subordinates. Leaders of today must be sensitive to the diverse nature of the workforce. Organizational behavior, culture, and diversity go hand-in-hand. A company with a strong culture has respect for people and their differences. In the following sections, leadership will be defined, leadership styles will be introduced, the goal of diversity will be identified, and the importance of making diversity a part of the company culture through diversity training. Recruitment and retention will also be emphasized. We believe that these factors make organizations richer in financially and culturally. Leadership

As a leader one must understand what motivates people and adopt strategies and behaviors which will lead to order not chaos. Leaders must see the vision of the organization and must have the ability to get others to see it also; by using narratives, metaphors, symbolic actions, leading by example, incentives, and penalties (Stephenson, 2004). Effective leadership is a huge asset to any organization because it steers members of the organization toward a common goal. In relation to diversity, leaders play a major role in the success of diversity programs. As stated above, diversity can affect the way members of an organization work together and leaders must manage these working relationships.

According to a study done by the National Urban League, one of the keys to successful diversity practices is the company’s leadership. The report states that the following characteristics are needed in the leadership area for success: •Leaders must have a personal commitment to diversity with leaders setting goals and driving the direction of the efforts over time in the same way that they are committed to other performance areas of their business units. •...
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