Managing Diversity

Topics: Discrimination, Human resources, Culture Pages: 6 (1845 words) Published: October 29, 2007
Managing Diversity

No two humans are alike. People are different not only in gender, culture, race, social and psychological characteristics but also in their perspectives and prejudices. Society had discriminated on these aspects for centuries. Women and minority groups were denied of their due rights. But not any more. Since 1960s, when federal legislation prohibited employment discrimination, minorities and female applicants have become the fastest-growing segment in the work force. Diversity makes the work-force heterogeneous. The work-force diversity used in the corporate world today is the varied characteristics of employees working in same organization. Despite the magnitude of the ethical, legal, economic, social, and political dimensions that define diversity initiatives in the workplace, the fields of human resource development and continuing professional education have yet to develop an integrated vision for creating more inclusive work environments. There are issues being raised. Dominant groups are not fully prepared to accept the reality. There are communication problems as well. But then there are enormous benefits as well. Keeping these aspects in mind, this paper will highlight various issues related to diversity. What is Diversity

Workforce diversity refers to the varied personal characteristics that make the workforce heterogeneous . Diversity is not merely related to sex alone. With passage of time, organizations are becoming more diverse in terms of race, age, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. In addition to these aspects, dimensions of diversity in organizations have now expanded to national, regional or other geographical areas of origin, educational background, family status, income, military experience, ownership of property and assets, physical and mental ability, social class, spiritual practice, health status, language, and work experience . Diversity can be broadly divided in two main types, e.g. superficial diversity (e.g. differences in gender, ethnicity, nationality) and deep-level diversity (e.g. differences in knowledge, skills and differences in values). Importance of superficial diversity can be reduced by increased amounts of interaction between individuals of various sexes, ethnicity and nationality etc thereby increasing the importance of deep-level diversity .

For an enterprise to become diverse, it has to concentrate on its internal workforce. A worst practice in diversity is by initiating a corporate diversity effort focused on customers and external public relations. It leads to false expectations. Focus of diversity initially should be on internal culture. A dedicated and motivated diverse workforce will automatically lead an organization to diverse society. There can be many factors that motivate organizations of all sizes to diversify their workforces. Legal requirement of non discrimination is a major cause but then there are few organizations which make their workforce diverse taking it as a social responsibility. The diversity may be adopted for economic payback, particularly through initiatives like welfare-to-work, thereby effectively turning tax users into tax payers. Companies may be motivated towards diversity for many other reasons like resource imperative, or as a marketing strategy. It can also be used as a capacity building strategy in which wide range of talent, experience, knowledge, insight, and imagination available in workforces is exploited for increasing capacity to effectively solve problems, rapidly adapt to new situations, readily identify new opportunities and quickly capitalize on them. For whatever the reason, the companies which have already diversified or are in the process of diversifying their workforce, will have a distinct and comprehensive competitive advantage over those who are still in the thinking process . Benefits of Diversity

Benefits of diversity are enormous. In a diverse workforce environment there is always a rich...

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