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Workplace diversity comes with pros and cons
Today, the world has become a global village, where business organizations and institutes need to hire skilled employees, ignoring racial, cultural and national boundaries. Organizations are becoming more conscious of the policies, so that they could make policies that would manage people belonging to different cultures. Cultural diversity at workplace has become more common than ever before, and it is the existence of the variety of the ethnic groups and cultures working. While travelling down the path of globalization, it is important to notice ever-changing landscape of the society. For promoting the productive social environment at the workplace, positive atmosphere is also important so that people belonging from different cultures could be accepted. It is the responsibility of the human resource management to manage people by making policies that would motivate workers to appreciate the difference they have. Positive and negative aspects of cultural diversity at workplace influence its productivity.
People are divided into two groups when it is about their perceptions regarding cultural diversity at workplace, those who are in favor of workplace diversity and others who are against it. People who support the idea of different cultural backgrounds claims that it benefits both employees and the organization. People who support cultural diversity believes that developing cultural competence at workplace results in enhanced ability of the worker to understand each other (Rizvi & Abbas. 2-4). Cultural diversity improves communication among employees who are from different cultures and provides them a chance to learn how to fill up the communication gap. Cultural diversity increases the creativity among the teams because people from different backgrounds think different regarding the same issues so they come up with different ideas that help organization in choosing best solution out of all. According to Laura Velten and Conrad Lashley, when people of different mindsets come together brilliant ideas are generated. Companies are promoting cultural diversity for inspiring their employee to perform to the best of their abilities (Verkuyten, Maykel, & Kumar Yogeeswaran. 1-5). As a whole, it could be said that there are positive aspects of cultural diversity.
Experts, researchers and supporters who are in favor of cultural diversity at workplace believes that profits and productivity of employees is increased if people of various cultural backgrounds are provided a chance to work together. According to the survey, taken by Center for Talent Innovation, in 2013 in the US there are 48% of companies are having employees with cultural diversity and all these companies claimed that their market share improved their previous profits. Also there were 33% of companies with less diverse management who claimed same growth rate (Diversity Brings Boost To Profitability | Financial Times). When employees of different cultural comes for working they share skills and experiences so that employees could learn techniques from each other. Employees with cultural diversity learns from each other’s experience and use it for delivering their best at the workplace (Verkuyten, Maykel, & Kumar Yogeeswaran. 1-5). So, the research also support positive impacts of workplace diversity.
Brand image and reputation of the company is the main thing that remains at center of higher management and they put all their effort for building positive reputation in the marketplace. Cultural diversity at workplace reflects positive image of the company. It has been observed that companies that recruit and encourage people of wide range of background gains the reputation of good employer (Purnell, Larry D. & Eric A. Fenkl. 1-6). Customers feel more satisfied, values and provide more business to organizations where cultural diversity is promoted and appreciated. Organizations that have employees belonging to diverse cultures appeal more to client than those who does not have cultural diversity at their workplace. When employees are from different cultures, they could understand and relate to their client’s demand in a better way.
This fact cannot be denied that workplace diversity provides both strengths as well as challenges to the organizations. People who oppose the idea of cultural diversity at workplace, claim that if diversity is not managed properly, it would cost money, time and efficiency. Though, there are various negative effects of cultural diversity at workplace but main is unhealthy relation between management and employees (Adeleye. 21-40). People of different cultures face issues related to communication; this ineffective communication and language barriers negatively impact productivity of organization. Language barriers can promote confusion due to which team spirit is compromised. Experts who are against the idea of cultural diversity believes, the lack of proper communication creates misunderstanding among the employees as well who belonged to diverse culture (Purnell, Larry D. & Eric A. Fenkl. 1-6).
Considering negative aspects of cultural difference becomes important when it is about managing its productivity. Though, there are various negative aspects of diversity at workplace but central issue being faced by the companies is an increase in complaints. At place where employees are from different backgrounds, a clash in their psyche and personalities has been seen. This fact cannot be denied that every individual has its own way of viewing things i.e. different people could have different perceptions regarding the same thing and they could not be blamed for having different views. At work, employees complaint against each other because their cultural differences hinders their corporation due to which they fails to understand each other’s perspective. When management fails in managing diversity, employees start having clashes and hatred grows among them. Sometimes, people of same group (sharing same race, culture or nationality) support each other and promote biasness due to which management faces increased complaints. There might be a lot of cases of physical attack as well as employees can also attack each other and they can risk each other’s life. Also, there might be cases in which there might be a high employee’s turnover rate.
Another major thing that has been highlighted by the experts is difference in understanding of etiquette. Workers from different backgrounds (cultures, countries, race and ethnicities) will bring their own attitude and ideas with them. Employees with diversity would have different values, believes, professional etiquettes and standards to follows but when their ideas clashes, it creates problems for the management. Diversity when not managed efficiently, it affects the speed of the work as well. For example, sometimes people with cultural, racial or regional commonalty make team. These teams may constantly argue over the idea presented by them that may affect the speed and quality of work which would eventually damage organization’s reputation. According to Robert Putnam and Peter Block, lack of trust and increase in the rivalry has been witnessed in organizations where employees with different cultures, nations, language and race work.
Ideas come along with pros and cons so it depends on people how they are going to turn them for extracting best out of them. Workplace diversity is also a reality having both positive and negative aspects attached to it, but it could be used in the best favor of organization by adopting some of the ways. Organizations need to review their policies and must consider and promote diversity as something healthy for every employee. Management needs to eradicate all the ideas and policies that depicts diversity as something unhealthy, so that workers could be motivated for supporting the idea of workplace diversity. Organizations must stop following social stereotypes and must encourage their employees to break all the stereotypes. Employees must be educated so that they could see the brighter aspect of things.
Employees must be educated about the importance of the workplace diversity. They must be presented with the real life scenarios where racial, gender, national and ethnic difference have ruined the businesses so that they could avoid all the things that used to push them against diversity. It is the responsibility of the management to arrange session for the employees so that they could be trained about the things that would help them in the long-terms. Investigating of the areas is important where promoting diversity could benefit both the organization and employees. Leadership style must be considered and leadership style that promote workplace diversity should be practically used. There is a need to educate people to respect the different as it makes every individual and his ideology worth counting in the accomplishment of the set target.
In most cases, the idea of workplace diversity has been misunderstood, so management needs to redefine and recognize its different types for the employees so that all the confusion about this idea could be eradicated. Not only redefining would work but also its advantages must be brought in the notice of employees so that workplace diversity could be respected by all. On the other hand, when management need to focus on positive aspects of workplace diversity, employees must be taught how destructive discrimination could prove at workplace, so there is a need to redefine the discrimination and clamp down on all its forms.
Discrimination is one of the central result of diversity. It could prove harmful as well for the diversity because when people of different background backgrounds of discriminated they lose their confidence and fails to deliver their best. One of the most important thing that an organization could do, is to celebrate diversity in all possible ways. Management must celebrate almost all the festivals and events so that employees could be brought closer to each other. For example, if an organization has employees from diverse groups (of different nations and religions), it must arrange parties and gathering for the celebrating the occasion that may represent one community or group, but get to gather would provide others an opportunity to learn more about others. Throwing party for celebrating occasion and events of employees from different cultures and backgrounds would give them a sense of belonging to each other. More people start knowing each other, better they start understanding, so reducing their internal difference they must be provided opportunities to understand each other.
In conclusion, it could be said that work place diversity is one of the most positive approaches that can add to the global employment. It is also important to note that this diversity can also be one of the evils that can disrupt the overall functionality of how a workplace proceed. Workplace diversity is more like an approach as well as a threat that can either add to the stance of employment or it can mitigate the entire ideology of incorporating people into a workplace who belong to some different area of life and structure of the departments. So as a whole, it could be concluded that both groups (one who support workplace diversity and those who are against it) have own logics and evidences to support their view, but suggestions mentioned above must be considered so that workplace diversity could be used in favor of the organizations. Employees must be made realized that workplace diversity would ultimately go in their favor and management must use all its resources for motiving its employees to accept and appreciate workplace diversity.
Adeleye, Ifedapo, et al. "Managing Diversity in Nigeria: Competing Logics of Workplace Diversity." Diversity within Diversity Management: Country-based Perspectives. Emerald Publishing Limited, 2019. 21-40.
Purnell, Larry D., and Eric A. Fenkl. "Transcultural diversity and health care." Handbook for Culturally Competent Care. Springer, Cham, 2019. 1-6.
Rizvi, Asad Abbas, et al. “Cultural Diversity in Higher Education Benefits and Challenges.” International Journal of Innovation in Teaching and Learning (IJITL), vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 2-4, 2019.
Verkuyten, Maykel, and Kumar Yogeeswaran. "Cultural Diversity And Its Implications For Intergroup Relations". Current Opinion In Psychology, vol 32, 2020, pp. 1-5. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.06.010.
"Diversity Brings Boost To Profitability | Financial Times". Ft.Com, 2020, https://www.ft.com/content/1bc22040-1302-11e7-80f4-13e067d5072c. Accessed 4 Jan 2020.
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