A study on Workforce Diversity Management
CHAPTER I: Introduction
Workforce diversity refers to the composition of work units in terms of the cultural or demographic characteristics that are salient and symbolically meaningful in the relationships among group members. Although generally thought of as the purview of management research, the topic of workforce diversity draws from and is relevant to research from sociology and psychology (Turner & Haslam, 2001).
Workforce has become increasingly diverse over the last decade. Employees from different generations, gender, nationalities and cultures often work together in the same organisation.
With such workforce diversity, it becomes important for organisations to put in place policies and practices to build an inclusive and harmonious workplace. An inclusive and harmonious workplace is one that appreciates differences amongst workers and works towards maximising their potential (Webber & Donahue, 2001). The Chancellor's Committee on Diversity defines Diversity as: "The variety of experiences and perspective which arise from differences in race, culture, religion, mental or physical abilities, heritage, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics." So why is it when many people think of diversity, they think first of ethnicity and race, and then gender? Diversity is much broader. Diversity is otherness or those human qualities that are different from our own and outside the groups, to which we belong, yet present in other individuals and groups. It's important to understand how the dimensions affect performance, motivation, success, and interactions with others. Institutional structures and practices that have presented barriers to some dimensions of diversity should be examined, challenged, and removed. The growing sophistication of research on diversity in organizations parallels the evolution of organizations into increasingly complex and dynamic forms. More than a decade ago, Miles and Snow (1986) described a futuristic network organization characterized by constantly evolving inter-team linkages that allow organizations to quickly respond to technological and market changes, and thereby improves their chances of survival. Today, many witness widespread implementation of such team-based organizational forms (Hackman, 1999). As teams interact with other teams, the organizational context in which teams operate can create opportunities as well as pose challenges for team functioning. This considers how the demographic characteristics of the organizational context influences teamwork and so attempt to contribute to the academic discourse on diversity in two ways. First, the attention was drawn to the intrinsic value of diversity in relation to a team's external relationships. To meet organizational goals, each team must be effective in terms of its internal functioning. In addition, each team must effectively manage its relationships with other teams and individuals in the organization. Through their relationships, team members may gain access to needed resources and exert influence that is beneficial to the team and its individual members. Past research, grounded in social psychological theory, has focused on the negative relationship between team diversity and internal team processes such as team cooperation. An additional component of team functioning is relationships between teams. Based on social psychological theories, many argue that diversity in teams will he manifested in cooperative behaviours between teams in organizations. Secondly, to provide a framework for understanding how the demographic composition of organizations influences the relationships between and within teams. By recognizing organizational level demography as a contextual influence on the outcomes of team diversity, draw workplace diversity research into the realm of cross-level theory and methodology. Based on an ongoing...
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