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Does diversity affect ethical decisions

By phuongnguyen812 Feb 19, 2014 1271 Words
Phuong Nguyen
09/23/2013
OBHR 3310-008
Does diversity affect ethical decisions? Maintaining diversity and ethics practices is important to most businesses who want to gain the loyalty of employees and trust of consumers. Diversity is much more than one of several ethical issues.  Ethics and diversity, in fact, have a multi-dimensional relationship that affects not only what issues we consider, but also the very process of engaging in ethical reflection. Ethical thinking involves the intricate process used to consider the impact of our actions on the individuals or institution we serve. While most decisions are routine, we can unexpectedly face an ethical dilemma when unusual situations occur suddenly for which an immediate response is needed. The foundation of ethical decision-making involves choice and balance, it is a guide to discard bad choices in favor of good ones. No matter the size of a company, unethical behavior can cripple the company's ability to attract customers, be approved for credit or maintain business partnerships. Different organizations and jobs may have different ethical issues arise and require a set standard of ethics.  Diversity in the workplace strives to make people of all socio-economic backgrounds feel comfortable working within the organization. It further promotes equal opportunities among all employees or prospective employees to be hired and promoted based on merit not race, gender or creed. Valuing diversity means valuing everyone’s differences, even one’s own.  It means preventing anyone from being shut down by others, by patterns of communication and interaction, or by mindlessness.  It also means that whoever in the group or team knows what needs to be said has the support to say it.  Ethics, too, depends on the speaker who can say what needs to be said. The tremendous amount of social issues surrounding diversity has a major effect on the roots of ethical decisions made by management staffs across the globe. The leaders in all our businesses must focus on following standard practices that represent the ideas of our judicial system. But is staying within the laws governing inclusion enough to meet the needs of making ethical decisions that support diversity? In order to be successful in the marketplace, businesses must develop new perspectives from many different backgrounds and lifestyles. That being said, diversity certainly is one of the driving forces in how a company operates from a production and an ethical perspective. A diverse work environment helps produce a wide range of ideas and experiences within an organization. However, many workplaces have been slow to embrace diversity and maximize its benefits. Basic ethics indicate that a company should offer diversity training and that its leadership should support a diverse environment. Placing people from various backgrounds together and not helping them learn how to work together leads to unnecessary tension and productivity loss. Ethical diversity includes fairness in evaluations and promotions, effective training and fair pay. These decisions are also based on ethics, general morality, and on the individual's understanding of diversity. The tremendous amount of social issues surrounding diversity has a major effect on the roots of ethical decisions made by management staffs across the globe. The leaders in all our businesses must focus on following standard practices that represent the ideas of our judicial system. But is staying within the laws governing inclusion enough to meet the needs of making ethical decisions that support diversity? In order to be successful in the marketplace, businesses must develop new perspectives from many different backgrounds and lifestyles. That being said, diversity certainly is one of the driving forces in how a company operates from a production and an ethical perspective. Many companies see the benefits in having cultural diversity in their workplace.  They see it as an opportunity to explore new markets and revenue streams. International Airlines have long been the epitome of a culturally diverse workplace enabling them to serve new routes to more countries. Some of the biggest corporations in the America are pillars of cultural diversity, such as: General Motors, IBM, Verizon, UPS, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Citi Group, Coca Cola and PepsiCo. Companies aiming to attain a global market presence benefit from cultural diversity not just in numbers but more from the various ways of innovation. Entering overseas markets, for instance, can be made less problematic with managers who know the market inside and out, not just the idioms. They also understand the values, lifestyles and buying decisions that can define the right marketing strategies for foreign customers. As many companies have learned developing a culturally diverse workforce that reflects the rich diversity of its markets; provides a better opportunity to grow the business. However, a diverse workplace does present some challenges. Cultural diversity presents some social problems unique to a diverse workplace. It opens up ethnic tensions, conflicts, misunderstandings and some rivalries have turned violent in the worst cases. Construction workers employed by multinational companies with projects overseas have been known to break into confrontations because of the employees disagreeing with management styles. If left unmanaged, language diversity creates communication barriers between local or contractual overseas workers as well as between ethnic groups.  There is often a feeling of being left out from decision-making processes. It is not uncommon for cultural diversity to turn into segregated groups where workers sharing the same ethnicity congregate among themselves and not blend with the other employees in the workplace. Cultural diversity needs to be supported by leadership and the management team.  Managers who are unprepared to deal with the social problems presented by an ethnically diverse workplace can further aggravate the situation. They can easily be perceived as callous, insensitive, and showing favoritism which only serves to foster low morale and little group participation affecting the overall productivity. A widely disseminated commitment to cultural diversity in terms of policies and organizational support, public pronouncements, internal memos and day-to-day actions can encourage management to embrace cultural diversity as integral to the corporate culture. We also know from social phenomena such as groupthink that more homogeneous groups experience more conformity than diverse groups - people in a homogeneous group are more likely to try "getting along and going along" as a way to remain part of the group and are less likely to counter questionable behavior. It's not hard to imagine then that companies that are too homogeneous can create environments where people are more concerned about conforming rather than solving problems, which then leads them to be more susceptible to unethical behaviors. And it is here that diversity can provide the necessary checks and balances for actions and behavior that would otherwise be left unchecked. Overall, diversity contributes to the perception of ethicality. A diverse workforce brings more skills, abilities and perspectives to a business, allowing companies to come up with more creative solutions to problems and better allocate workers to jobs which are suited for their individual skills and backgrounds. For organizations, having a balanced workforce is central to instill confidence in consumers that this is an ethical organization worthy of their trust. Diversity in the workplace can also increase understanding between employees, boost the company's image and reduce lawsuits, according to University of Florida research on diversity. An effective program optimizing a culturally diverse workplace can improve job performance and work-life satisfaction among both local and foreign employees. Diversity training programs include inviting employees to speak about their different backgrounds or hiring a professional diversity speaker to come and lead a seminar on the topic. Companies can also institute a no tolerance policy for harassment and teasing based on diversity issues. Ensuring a cohesive and unified workforce that works like a sports team should be the goal of the company.

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