This paper aims to summarize the article “ The Changing Value of Diversity in Organization“ by Howard & Ulferts (2020), and analyzing it as it casts light on the various theories the article uses to define the value of diversity in an organization.
At the beginning of the writing piece, the writers state the need and importance of diversity in organizations. The authors explain that diversity is a valuable asset in organizations operating in the modern day. Diversity is part and parcel of Human Resource Management. Apart from the benefits such as connecting with the global community, and innovation linkages that can accrue because of diversity, diversity will rise because of the various demographic factors in the next decade. The importance of research on diversity in the places of work cannot be overemphasized. Many factors consistently keep pointing to the critical importance of researching this area.
In summary, diversity focuses on people who operate from both inside and outside an organization. The mater of drawing the interest of a talented workforce through embracing diversity informs the benefits that accrue from people’s management. Organizations’ need for talent is a natural trend because it is such people that make an organization successful. An assertive and positive diversity policy for hiring staff in an organization goes a long way in helping organizations attract and retain a pool of talented people who, in turn, help them stay ahead of the game. Furthermore, a diverse workforce and teams help organizations to have a broad perspective. The diversity helps to enrich discussions with unique perspectives, hence greater creativity. Recent research, however, suggests that such gains may not be forthcoming for teams assigned with independent tasks to be completed over a long time. Such a scenario could be fertile ground for differences and conflicts. The researchers recommend that such teams should be subjected to intensive training to encourage group discussions and conflict resolution mechanisms to take root.
The article concentrates on the idea of diversity at the workplace and why it pays to embrace diversity. The reader is introduced to diversity and the gains that accrue from it. The article points out the various forms of diversity that can be encountered in an organization. The introductory section focuses mainly on gender and cultural diversity. Research continues to enrich the subject of diversity. For instance, a study on managerial diversity of gender and the performance of businesses demonstrated that very low or very high levels of managerial diversity of gender could start group activities that could prevent the gain that accrues from moderate gender managerial diversity (Schwab et al., 2016, p. 2).
The researchers present varying definitions of diversity to help the reader understand diversity in the workplace. They state that diversity can be defined variously depending on the situation. However, many scholars agree that diversity refers to demographic characteristics, including gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, belief system, and ethnicity. Diversity is commonly viewed as the collective differences of an organization’s members relative to common characteristics, X (Risberg & Gottlieb, 2018, p. 3). After reviewing the definition given above, one can easily understand why a person viewed as different, i.e., with no common attribute X, would feel discriminated against.
The authors address diversity under a separate heading: “ A Brief Discussion of Diversity“. They point out that diversity is not restricted to gender, race, ethnicity, or age. Most firms in metropolitan areas accept diversity as the best form of organization. The set up reflects the general picture of the population in the areas surrounding such firms. Inevitably, therefore, geographical locations that host diverse people are likely to have organizations with diverse employees. Research also indicates that regions that enjoyed diversity earlier than others tend to continue to dominate in a spectrum of human engagements, including economic progress.
Market changing is yet another subject of focus. The labor market is evolving; the markets are also changing, the competition and the consumers are also following suit. Firms are presented with both opportunities and challenges as a result of such changes. The human resource pool provides the best opportunity to tap from the benefits that change present while avoiding disadvantages from the fast-changing circumstances. Globalization has expanded the labor pools, the markets, and a wide range of services and products in a broader perspective. The connection between innovation and diversity is also discussed. The case for diversity and business model is one of the key aspects to consider from an innovation viewpoint. When success is witnessed in the workplace, the organization benefits through further innovative initiatives, improved decision-making, a greater pool of talent, and an expanded customer base.
The next item of discussion is gender diversity. The gender diversity subject, as is used in women’s inclusion at the place of work, is a complicated socio-cultural matter. It has to need been fully understood by academia, particularly about how women engage in the workforce. The participation of women in the United States workforce has been waning in the past few years (since 1999). It is not clear whether the diversity programs have exponential knock-on outcomes relating to creativity and innovation or whether it is imperative for women to adapt and embrace an unchanged workplace, which makes workers better used to. Ethnic, cultural, and nationality diversities relate to change-facilitation. The mix between the varying world views and viewpoints, when swapped, can generate more productive methods and new insights, the hypothesis asserts.
Delving in cultural, nationality, and ethnic diversities is only one aspect of a truly diverse labor force. Age is yet another diversity element. These aspects are distinctly separate traits, although they may overlap sometimes. Hence, they are considered simultaneously. There are reports of conflicting evidence by some researchers relating to the effect of a diverse workforce characterized by physically challenged members, younger or older workmates. One of the findings pointed out that about age and disability, positive versus negative effect moderators seem to be preoccupied with leadership, the climate of the organization, and the practices by the human resource. Leaders affect how diversity leads to positive results by how the support and model the interplay between members.
One problem that the author’s highlight regarding diverse employees is the difficulty in forming teams. It is easier to form teams with homogenous groups. Further studies showed no significant difference between diverse and homogenous groups when it comes to complex tasks that call for constant interdependence. Also, a further downside of diversity was pointed out. Factors such as failure to trust each other, lack of prior experience in diverse setups, and attitudes have been blamed for failure by diverse teams in working effectively together. The failure to accommodate the diverse viewpoints is the epicenter of dysfunction in diverse groups. The authors provide some insights on how to promote diversity at the place of work.
Diversity at the place of work has been addressed efficiently. Changing trends on the global scene have been pointed out. The need to encourage diversity has also been addressed. Such diversity should span culture, age, race, gender, ethnicity, and even nationality in some cases. New business models are also emerging. The authors suggest some solutions on how to counter the effects brought about by the disruptive unemployment models. For instance, a lot of people feel comfortable in employment compared to running their own business. Another scenario is the increasing number of workers’ diversity and the equally increasing interest in others joining employment in teams where diversity is highly valued. The 21st C employer has their plate full with workers from diverse backgrounds.
Gender diversity has also received more attention from researchers in the recent past. It presents a wide range of study subareas. 48% of women and 52% of men constitute nearly half of the workforce each, yet gender diversity is a concern in organizations. There is also the gender pay-gap to consider. It has been established that the average woman makes 72 cents for every dollar a man at her level makes. Other matters of concern have to do with starting a career and the progress they make. While it has been established that today’s universities and colleges comprise of 57% women, and women are also the proud owners of 60% the four-year degree courses and that they are more likely to advance in their studies, there are still inequities to deal with (Robbins et al., 2019). The article clarifies that there are disparities in the workforce because women are marginalized based on gender.
One theory that delves into ethnic, cultural, and national diversity postulates that a workforce with these diversities is better placed to market services and products to a global audience. The situation is referred to as relational capital and is touted by researchers to enhance the employees’ capacity better to internalize operations in a diverse setting. It has also been revealed that individuals tend to favor those of their race in evaluating performance, pay raises, and promotion decisions. While such scenarios are not major, they are consistent. Studies show significant racial differences in people’s attitudes towards affirmative action. African Americans have been found to favor the programs to a greater level compared to their white counterparts. Some studies show that African Americans have not fared well in decision making at the workplace (Robbins et al., 2019).
The relationship between diversity and innovation has also been discussed in detail. While scholars have primarily been preoccupied with matters relating to diversity and business entities in the modern day, there is no clear-cut relationship. Making an effort to understand the social, political, and cultural concerns is a way that can help to face the challenges and identify the opportunities therein.
The politics of the organization may appear to relate remotely with diversity at the place of work. It is not yet fully understood how such diversity as cultural diversity influences the generation of such values shared and how it affects outcomes of the place of work. It has been pointed out that the degree to which employees embrace diversity homogeneity at the workplace affects diverse teams’ productivity.
The authors have also suggested that it should be a priority for 21st-century high-level executives in companies to understand the value of diversity. There is a wave of socio-political change in this era. Therefore, the value of diversity in organizations is increasingly critical. Organizational culture may reflect these trends in its various aspects. Organizations must, therefore, seek transformational leaders with qualities that will enable them to push businesses in the desired direction for the sake of success and even survival. Transformational leadership encourages and nurtures positive results.
Generally, therefore, if an organization or a leading professional wish to support the inclusion of the best talent, in the face of the ever-rising competition, and retain the same for greater efficiency and productivity, one must be prepared to face serious challenges on the way. All the notable challenges such an organization is likely to face will have to do with diversity issues. Diversity offers a fresh competitive advantage in the modern-day business organization.
It is the engine that powers innovation and creativity. Available research confirms this position with the diversity of gender, culture, nationality, age, and disability. Diversity thrives because of its ability to provide diverse minds with innovative solutions to emerging business problems. The performance improves when an organization embraces diverse employees, hence diverse views, which are the perfect breeding ground for innovative ideas.
A diverse workforce and the likelihood of innovation go hand in hand. Diversity in itself facilitates the availability of the same. The latter offers the benefits that accrue with a diverse workforce. In supporting education in which various communities cooperate with the schools, there would be an expectation that leadership and diversity, which values the cultural history of the various ethnicities, would be conspicuous in the arrangement. Opportunities are subjected to both weaknesses and strengths by trying to reduce the shortcomings of proactively. Planning for successful diversity involves assessing potential concerns and equipping the leaders, managers, and staff with relevant education relating to diversity’s positive edge.
The term diversity evokes a wide range of feelings and attitudes. The term has its roots in civil rights and social justice. People respond to the term differently, depending on their experiences and where they may be in the socio-economic and political strata. The term has been traditionally associated with human resource departments in organizations. It has long been linked to issues to do with fair hiring of employees, inequality at the place of work, and discrimination matters.
However, diversity has acquired a new meaning in the recent past and poses many more issues than what it traditionally captured (Robbins et al., 2019). The article addresses the matter from various angles and explains that diversity has immense value for the 21st C businesses. Indeed, diversity is explained to hold the key to success in modern business firms when it is attained inclusively.
Tokenism and other superficial approaches have been noted to slow down the benefits that naturally accrue form a well thought out and executed diversity strategy. Organizations, primarily, focus on the issues at interplay with contemporary concerns. When an organization focuses on the positive values that diversity brings, it gains and grows positively in many respects. Companies that have succeeded in this era have learned these unwavering truths. Indeed, such successful companies are widely viewed as role models for new ones starting, and even those that will emerge in the future.
The article confirms that diversity is a primary ingredient in the making of success in organizations today. Lack of it can be a major stumbling block in the wake of globalization and aggressive competition. Diversity is also a suitable organizational strategy that can be used to counter disruptive business models. It is not a panacea for every organizational challenge. As pointed out earlier, it may present challenges in team-building and jellying, but it certainly, provides a good ground for sustainable growth in the 21st century. The challenges it presents can also be converted to rare opportunities for growth.
Howard, T. L., & Ulcers, G. W. (2020). The changing value of diversity in organizations. Journal of Business Diversity, 20(2), 61-73.
Risberg, A., & Gottlieb, S. (2018). Workplace diversity and gender in merger and acquisition research. Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, 1-22.
Robbins, S.P., Coulter, M., Kilfoil, M., & Leach, E. (2019). Management. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Schwab, A., Werbel, J. D., Hofmann, H., & Henriques, P. (2016). Managerial gender diversity and firm performance: An integration of different theoretical perspectives. Group and Organization Management, 41(1), 5-31.
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