Making Differences Matter
Abstract and background of the article
In order to investigate that what will it take for organizations to reap the real and full benefits of a diverse workforce, a research effort taken by the article author’s team. In order to understand three management challenges for Diversity, it conducted its research over a period of six years. The challenges undertaken were: a) How do organizations successfully achieve and sustain racial and gender diversity in their executive and middle management ranks? b) What is the impact of diversity on an organization’s practices, processes and performance? c) How do leaders influence whether diversity becomes an enhancing or detracting element in the organization? This research done with involvement of three organizations that had attained a high degree of demographic diversity, a small urban law firm, a community bank and 200 people consulting firm. It also studied nine other companies in varying stages of diversifying their work forces. The group included two financial services firms, three Fortune 500 manufacturing companies, two midsize high technology companies, a private foundation, and a university medical center.
Diversity initiatives to date have been guided by two perspectives. (1) The discrimination and fairness paradigm and (2) Access and legitimacy paradigm. This research has emerged with the third paradigm for managing diversity, and recommended abandoning old and limiting assumptions about the meaning of diversity in order to realize the true potential of diversity in a powerful way to increase organization effectiveness. The article cites several examples of how connecting the new definition of diversity to the actual doing of work has led some organizations to markedly better performance. Their leaders realize that increasing demographic variation does not in itself increase organizational effectiveness. They realize that it is how a company defines diversity and what it does with the experiences of being a diverse organization that delivers on the promise. Overall it talks about following three paradigms.
• The Discrimination and Fairness paradigm – Assimilation – members treat one another the same • The Access and Legitimacy paradigm – Differentiation – place different people by demographic characteristic match with important constituents and markets • Learning and Effectiveness Paradigm – Integration – internalize differences among employees so that it learns and grow because of them
Present scenario on Diversity at workplace
Generally, companies concern themselves with diversity as they believe that a more diverse workforce will increase organizational effectiveness, claiming that diversity will be good for business, but many attempts to increase diversity in the workplace have backfired resulting in heightening tension among employees and hindering a company’s performance. This article discusses why diversity efforts are not fulfilling their promise and presents a new paradigm for understanding and leveraging diversity. Apart from increased profitability it goes beyond financial measures to encompass learning, creativity, flexibility, organizational and individual growth and the ability of a company to adjust rapidly and successfully to market changes. However, it requires a fundamental change in the attitudes and behaviors of an organization’s leadership.
The Discrimination and Fairness Paradigm
This has been the dominant paradigm in the way of understanding diversity. This being a traditional affirmative action efforts and go beyond a simple concern with numbers.
|Issues |Observations | |Measuring progress in |By how well the company achieves its recruitment and retention goals | |diversity |Not measured the degree...
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