Thinking about Diversity and Inclusion
Jennifer Smith Garman
January 31, 2011
This paper addresses the many dimensions of cultural diversity. How these dimensions affect which cultural, ethnic, or other groups people identify with, and how these groups affect our social circles. The difference between diversity and inclusion is identified as well as the importance of diversity training within the workplace and how workplace culture is affected by diversity.
Thinking about Diversity and Inclusion
There are many dimensions of cultural diversity. These dimensions affect which cultural, ethnic, or other groups we identify with as well as our social circles. Inclusion is a way of bringing these culturally diverse people together in a common way. With the use of diversity training, and implementation of workplace diversity policies, workplace culture is positively affected by diversity. Dimensions of Cultural Diversity
Harvey and Allard define diversity “as the ways in which people differ that may affect their organizational experience in terms of performance, motivation, communication, and inclusion” (2009, pg. 1). According to Schaefer, cultural diversity comes from a mix of different groups. Racial groups, religious groups, ethnic groups, gender groups, and cultural patterns. These groups then form subordinate and dominate groups in society (Schaefer, 2011).
People tend to self group based on any of the aforementioned groups. For example, people tend to marry within the same racial, ethnic, or religious group. They self segregate in a neighborhood like Chinatown and Little Italy (Schaefer, 2011) because the cultural patterns in that area are similar to their own. As I see it, cultural diversity is the blending of these groups, not to create one homogeneous group, but to work together with different experiences and points of view, to create a better society. The Affect of Cultural Diversity on Social Circles
When sitting on my front porch, I can observe how people tend to gravitate toward people like themselves. For example, people consider me as Caucasian because of how I look, but I am of Native American and Hispanic decent. I consider myself to be multiracial. I am Catholic, middle income, and I have an education higher than the high school level. I served in the military for 11 years as well. My neighbors are also Caucasian, Christian, middle income families, who have received education higher than the high school level as well. Many of them are active duty or former military, or work as teachers, firefighters, or nurses. On our cul-de-sac, there is one African American family, and one family of Pacific Islanders, but these families are also middle income, active duty military families, who have received higher education as well. People tend to live and socialize with others similar to them in lifestyle and culture.
My friends are very similar to me. Many of my friends are military or former military people. Many are multiracial. Most are Catholic/Christian, but a few are Muslim and Jewish. I think the strongest tie that most of us share is either our military service, or our spouse’s service. The military is a culture in itself. Being in the military is like living in a small town or city. People become a “family” when they have no family around. They understand each other’s circumstances when those who live outside of the military lifestyle do not. The Difference between Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are two different things. According to Harvey and Allard, “being “inclusive” means that diverse employees feel that they are vital contributors to the organizational mission, not marginalized or tolerated” (2009, pg. 3). Everyone’s ideas, viewpoints, and skills are put to use to meet the goals of the organization. For example, a company may have a problem with absenteeism because of employees having sick children. An...
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