Diversity In The Workplace

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Diversity in the Workplace


The concept of diversity is defined as the uniqueness of every individual, which encompasses different personal attributes, values and organizational roles.

It could also be defined as the mix of differences and similarities at all levels of the organization. And this may be differences in abilities, culture, ethnicity, race, age, physical characteristics, values, sexual orientation, religious inclinations, educational achievements, marital status etc. (Allen 20)

In the workplace, there abounds the presence of a wide variety of culture, opinions, ethnic groups, socio-economic backgrounds etc. This then makes it imperative for Human Resources practitioners to understand how to manage diversity in organizations.

In today's workplace and marketplace, it is the competitive advantage of organizations whose people know how to bridge and use the cultural differences between women and men in their everyday operations. (Banks 22)

Without stereotyping either gender, and admitting a significant overlap of how both men and women feel and behave - we are more similar than different - there are cultural patterns in how we communicate across gender. These can be stumbling blocks to cooperation if we don't pay attention to them. We can also unlock energy and creativity in each other if we do.

What Are The Challenges

Diversity in the workplace is not without its challenges. Some of those challenges are:

Communication: Perceptual, cultural and language barriers need to be overcome for diversity programs to succeed. Ineffective communication of key objectives results in confusion, lack of teamwork, and low morale. (Banks 2)

Resistance to change: There are always employees who will refuse to accept the fact that the social and cultural makeup of their workplace is changing. The “we've always done it this way” mentality silences new ideas and inhibits progress.

Implementation of diversity in the workplace policies: This can be the overriding challenge to all diversity advocates. Armed with the results of employee assessments and research data, they must build and implement a customized strategy to maximize the effects of diversity in the workplace for their particular organization. (Johnston 48)

Successful Management of Diversity in the Workplace: Diversity training alone is not sufficient for your organization's diversity management plan. A strategy must be created and implemented to create a culture of diversity that permeates every department and function of the organization. (Allen 85-95)

The process of managing diversity has been described as the mindset and culture of an organization and the varying perspectives people brought to an organization due to race, workplace styles, disabilities, thus creating an all inclusive work environment, devoid of prejudice and discrimination.

The following are some of the factors that may constitute challenges of managing diversity in the workplace. (Banks 26-28)

• Staff speaking different languages.

• Resistance to working with members of another ethnic, racial or cultural groups.

• Discriminatory remarks due to differences in accents, ethnics or races.

• Prejudice in promotion, rewards and compensation, performance appraisal as a result of differences in background or races.

The above-mentioned factors require development of larger repertoire of managerial skills and strategies to be able to manage. Thus, Human Resources practitioners should take cognizance of the fact that ...
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