The Impact of Diversity and Demographic Characteristics on Individual Behavior

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Organizational diversity emphasizes achieving equality and opportunity in the work environment through the changing of organizational demographics. Diversity in the workplace emphasizes the appreciation of differences and creates an environment in which everyone feels valued and accepted, however it is individual behavior that determines the workplace environment. There are numerous types of diversity and demographic characteristics that impact on individual behavior. Values and attitude differences are a key driver of individual behavior. Values and attitude is how a person sees, relates to and acts in and out of the workplace. Psychologist Milton Rokeach has divided values into two categories, terminal values (the goals an individual wants to achieve) and instrumental values (how the individual will achieve their goals) each with 18 traits (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn 2005). While studies have shown that values may differ between managers and line workers there are shared values within the organizational culture. Ideally, these shared values will bring the group together when working toward mutual goals. An attitude is defined by Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn (2005) as "a predisposition to respond in a positive or negative way to someone or something in one's environment." Like values, attitudes are learned responses from life's experiences and are reflected in our feelings and behaviors. When an individual is dissatisfied with their job the resulting attitude is likely to manifest itself in absenteeism, low production, physical and mental illness. Even though attitudes and values do not always predict behavior, the link between attitudes/values and potential or intended behavior is important for managers to understand. (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn 2005) Prejudices (preconceived and often erroneous views about others) and stereotyping (generalizations at the base of prejudice) are negative observable behaviors that manifest into discrimination....
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