The Value of Diversity and Multiculturalism in Business
Diversity and Multiculturalism are two topics that, themselves, are not new. To start off with a uniform basic understanding, what are diversity and multiculturalism? According to Merrium-Webster, Diversity is ‘the condition of having or being composed of differing elements, especially the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization’. Whereas, Merrium-Webster defined multiculturalism as ‘relating to, reflecting, or adapted to diverse cultures’. Simply put, Diversity is the differences themselves, while multiculturalism is the ability to connect with and respect those differences.
When it comes to business, coming up with new ideas and the ability to work effectively is key to progress and profits. For this to happen, there has to be a link to these new ideas and respect of one’s co-workers and their differences.
As stated before, the idea of diversity is nowhere near new. However, according to the study done by Australian Journal of Management in 2004, the approach to the problems it provides in management is new (Hartel, pg189). Within this same study, they identify the root of the problem.
“Diversity openness refers to the degree of receptivity to perceived dissimilarity. An individual, work group or organization that is diversity-open is unprejudiced and willing to consider new ideas and arguments and it, in essence, receptive to ideas outside their normal way of thinking. Being closed to diversity, therefore means that an individual, work group or organizations has already decided with respect to diverse others prior to interactions. Diversity openness, therefore, is a generic attitude to difference, where the level of openness and the type of perceived difference varies as a function of the person.” (Hartel, Dec 2004, pg189)
Through knowing the root of the problem, the actual value of diversity can be...
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Hartel, C. E. J. (2004). Towards a multicultural world: Identifying work systems, practices and employee attitudes that embrace diversity. Australian Journal of Management, 29(2), 189-200. Retrieved from Business Source Elite database. (Accession No. 15696711)
Kerby, S., & Burns, C. (2012, July 12). The top 10 economic facts of diversity in the workplace: A diverse workforce is integral to a strong economy. Retrieved February 13, 2013, from http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/labor/news/2012/07/12/11900/the-top-10-economic-facts-of-diversity-in-the-workplace/
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