The Effects of Diversity in the Workplace
MGT 331 – Management of Human Resources
Professor Johnnie Barnes
December 8, 2013
Today’s workforce is becoming more diverse as many people from different ethnic backgrounds, gender, race, religion, and age are acquiring positions in major companies. This is a major change in the workforce from previous decades since diversity then only applied to race and gender; today, the workforce has been impacted by many different classes of people all bringing something significant to the workforce as a whole. Diversity within the workplace is deemed necessary in order for organizations to remain in compliance with laws that protect certain classes from discrimination such as Equal Employment Opportunity Laws. Diversity within an organization can positively and negatively impact the overall functions of an organization. With increased diversity within the U.S. labor force, human resource practices are essential to utilize the talents, potential, and overall contributions that can come from the diverse populations. This paper will provide an overview of diversity within organizations addressing issues associated with a diverse workforce, methods of addressing those issues, and recommendations for human resource personnel in order to properly adapt accordingly to a diverse workforce. Current Situation
There are many contributing factors to a diverse workforce from immigration to people of all backgrounds, ages, and genders entering into the workforce. “Recent studies have attributed workforce diversity to the increased globalization of the twenty-first century, which has increased the mobility of people across nations as well as interdependence of organizations” (Okoro & Washington, 2012, p. 57). Such factors will result in many changes to the workforce both good and bad. In an effort for an organization to successfully thrive with the many changes to the workforce, it is imperative that human resource personnel are properly trained on diversity and adapting to the many differences that will come from the many different backgrounds. The most important thing that must be taken into account with a diverse workforce is that no one person is the same. For managers and employees this may pose a major problem in adjusting to the many differences that will come from the many backgrounds of the workforce. “The challenge for managers in the future will be to recognize that people with characteristics that are common but are different from those in the mainstream, often think, act, learn, and communicate differently. Because every person, culture, and business situation is unique, there are no simple rules for managing diversity, but diversity experts say that employers need to develop patience, open-mindedness, acceptance, and cultural awareness” (Mondy, 2012, p. 47).
Diverse populations can result in negative effects on an organization as a whole. Many studies have been completed on the issues of diversity within the workplace and contributing factors that have majorly impacted the overall production of an organization. It is imperative that such issues are recognized in an effort to effectively overcome them. Researchers have recognized the following issues associated with diversity within the workplace: communication barriers, employee isolation, tension among employees, and all of these factors can result in loss of productivity within the organization and employee turnover. Managers who are aware of the possible negative effects of diversity can work to implement ways to reverse the overall impact that can occur within the organization.
Communication barrier is probably one of the biggest impacts that diversity has on the workplace. With the many different cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds within organizations, it is very likely to be some breakdowns in communication among employees....
References: Lau, V. and Kleiner, B. (2012). “A Diverse Workforce for Diverse Markets.” Industrial Management. 54, No. 4: 28-30.
Leonard, J. and Levine, D. (2006). “The Effect of Diversity on Turnover: A Large Case Study.” Industrial & Labor Relations Review. 59(4), 547-572.
Okoro, E.A. and Washington, M.C. (2012). “Workforce Diversity and Organizational Communication: Analysis of Human Capital Performance and Productivity.” Journal of Diversity Management. 7(1) 57-62.
Mondy, R.W. (2012). “Human Resource Management.” 12th ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Learning Solutions,
Noe, R., Hollenbeck, J., Gerhart, B., and Wright, P. (2014). “Fundamentals of Human Resource Management.” 5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Education.
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