The Pros and Cons of Stereotyping

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B)“Diversity … will be the engine that drives … the corporation of the 21st century. Successful global managers will be able to manage this diversity for the innovative and competitive edge of their corporations.” (Rhinesmith 1993) This statement clearly highlights the importance of managing diversity where managers may choose stereotyping to tackle cultural diversity. However, stereotyping can be a double-edged sword when managers become over-reliant on it. This essay aims to analyse the merits and demerits of stereotyping as well as the ways to manage or minimize the problems of such behaviour.

Stereotyping is “the tendency to ascribe positive or negative characteristics to a person on the basis of a general catergorisation and perceived characteristics.” (Mullins 2002, pp 406) There are three steps in the stereotyping process. Firstly, we develop and assign characteristics of people to social groups using the media, personal and cultural experience. Secondly, we allocate people to social groups based on their traits. Lastly, we draw conclusions about the individual using the group’s perceived characteristics. (McShane and Travaglione, 2007)

Stereotyping is indeed useful in some ways. Firstly, stereotypes simplify the world by catergorising information because it is impossible to remember distinctive characteristics of every person. (Schneider 2004) Secondly, “The essence of stereotypical thinking is that it is fast and gives a basis for immediate action in incertain circumstances”. (Fox 1992 cited in Hinton 2000) Indeed, such categorisation expedites judgments that can influence businesses. Thirdly, stereotyping satisfies the natural desire of individuals to understand & predict others’ behaviour. (Mackie, et al. 1996, cited in Smedley, et al, 2003) This happens when managers try to find out their new employees’ character. Fourthly, stereotyping increases self-esteem and confidence by remembering the positive but not the negative traits for their own...
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