Term Paper: What Effect Does Diversity Have on Organizational Behaviors

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¶ … diversity have on organizational behaviors?

Diversity

This research paper provides information regarding comprehending the issue of diversity and its effects on organizational behavior. The paper starts off with a description of some studies which enable to understand the elements of cultural diversity, the factors of cultural diversity which lead towards a successful organization, the dilemmas confronted by organizations desiring to acquire and maintain organizational diversity and how diversity influences the operations of organizations. The study shall further discuss about some studies and theories such as 'Social Identification and Categorization Theory' and 'similarity/attraction theory' which showed a negative link between diversity and organizational behaviors. The paper states that even though there have been studies and theories showing a negative relationship between diversity and organizational performance, there have been several studies and theories which show a positive link. These studies and theories are discussed at length in the paper which attempt to show that diversity influences organizational behavior and is essential for positive organizational performances. Finally, the paper shall discuss about the elements required to bring about positive organizational performances as a result of the efforts of diversity.

Introduction:

In the present day business atmosphere, organizations are tending to be more and more diverse, expediting the significance of the comprehension of the dynamics of diversity in organizations. Comprehending the dynamics of diversity assists the organization in handling the outcome of diversity by entailing guidance in the alternatives available and/or growth of interventions. (Guzzo; Salas, 1995) More currently, managers as well as researchers similarly have initiated asking as to if there is any empirical relationship among diversity and organizational performance and to understand the impact of diversity on organizational performance. (Jackson; Joshi, 2001)

Discussion:

People from varying cultural groups in the United States have varying perspectives, apparent in their beliefs, attitudes, values, and behavioral activities. There exist several research analyses that particularly narrate these variations. In one remarkable comparative study by Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck pertaining to values within five cultures in the Southwest U.S., discovered value orientations across which they presumed all individuals look for meaning. One of such orientations is the way people consider nature. Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck revealed three different modes by which people linked to the natural circumstances, such as peace with nature, subdued to nature and having mastery over the nature. Individuals or cultural group might associate with nature in all three modes; however they would differ in their order of preference. Normally, the prominent European-American culture, wherein the Extension Service progressed, basically values mastery over the nature, while several Native Americans, Asian-Americans and Latino-Americans basically value residing in accord with nature. This core value influences the decisions that individuals arrive at in their day-to-day lives. (Schauber, 2001)

In another study, Edward T. Hall showed a distinction regarding the manner in which individuals consider time. Some cultures, like the conventional European-American culture, visualize time as being linear as well as sequential, known as mono-chronic. Other cultures like Native American, Asian-American, African-American and Latinos think of time as several matters occurring at once and with persons known as poly-chronic. Poly-chronic persons visualize time as an enormous resource and linkages take significance over that of the schedules. Hence one may see polychromic persons as being mostly late for meetings, while the mono-chronic persons might be more acquainted to punctuality. Mono-chronic persons might go towards believing that 'time tends to be money'. Contrary to this the polychromic persons might visualize time as a scope to continue with others. Such few illustrations of differing beliefs and values give rise to the degree of the prospective differentiations among us, as the population of our nation has tend to be more culturally diverse. (Schauber, 2001) strong organization is characterized by a general endeavor to make people with different talents, backgrounds and capabilities to function collectively towards the objective or mission of the organization. A successful organization which is culturally diverse is one whose culture includes all of the differing groups and constituents it aims to serve. The mission, values, objectives, policies, processes and principles of the organization conform to a culture that is apparent in several perspectives and adaptability to differing values, beliefs and styles of communication. (Schauber, 2001) it is often asked as to whether diversity is good for organization and how does diversity affect organizational behavior/performance? The Diversity Research Network, an organization of scholars from 6 universities who completed the largest field-based study on this issue of diversity in relation to organizational behavior/performance stated that a variety of contextual variables, incorporating the culture of the organization, techniques and practices relating to human resource development, assist to decide as to if diversity empowers performance or reduces it. (Kwak, 2003)

There prevails a linkage among three social dilemmas confronted by organizations desiring to acquire and maintain organizational diversity, the dilemmas with regard to organizational involvement, managerial involvement, and individual involvement. The functional and social group diversity provides advantage for organizations like adaptation, creativity and innovation, and accessibility to external networks; however there are costs that dissuade organizations from carrying forward these advantages. The costs related with organizational involvement in diversity initiatives evolve since managers as well as their employees consider organizational contradictions and organize their relationships on the basis of social identity basis, so that temporary hindrances and collective boundaries encircle diversity. Finding solutions to the subordinate issues of managerial and individual involvement entails the key to solving the dilemmas with regard to organizational involvement. (Schneider; Northcraft, 1999)

To fully comprehend the manner in which diversity influences the operations of organizations, the interpersonal dynamics related with task associated diversity and relationship-based diversity must be taken into account. 'Readily detected attributes' could be decided in a rapid manner and consciousness with only minimum exposure to or less understanding regarding the individual. Attributes that could be easily noticed incorporate organizational as well as tenure of the team, department or group membership, formal credentials and levels of education, ethnicity, race, sex and age. 'Underlying attributes' are less prevalent, more problematic to verify and pertains to increased interpretation and are construal. Moreover, certain attributes might be specifically concerned with work responsibilities, while others are prominent basically since they influence the social link within an organization. Managers sometimes hypothesize that task associated attributes are strong deciding elements of behavior and results in organizations and that relation based attributes play only a small part. But relationship-based attributes design attitude even while they are not related with responsibility associated attributes. Relationship associated attributes activate stereotypes that affect the manner in which individuals think and consider about themselves and that of others, what information is considered, who consults with whom, and who has the most authority in decision-making procedures. While managers might give rise to overestimate the significance of task-associated attributes, organizational researchers might try to overestimate the significance of underlying attributes. (Jackson; Joshi, 2001)

Diversity and its management has been an important aspect in the public administration study literature during the last several decades; in fact, the area of study has witnessed inquiry provided to the issue of diversity and the influence of diversity on organizational behavior results. Probably the initial studies on record that analyzed ethnicity and organizational behaviors were performed in the year 1958. Katz and others analyzed the interpersonal dealings between blacks and whites in a laboratory study comprising of 18 groups of four persons. Each team had 2 white students and 2 black students. The study applied open as well as positive communication as the result of interest. Not amazingly, white students were considered to be more prone compared to blacks to communicate and when they did in fact engage in communication, they were prone to direct their comments towards each other, not towards the black students in their group. Such outcomes tend to indicate the status distinctions between blacks and whites, at a time during the 1950s, something that considers any older study associated with ethnicity to work associated results questionable. Other initial studies have problems from the same extendability concern. While evaluating a diversity stature like ethnicity which is considered to be so political and socially infused, it is pertinent to regard the social context while deciding whether any study continues to be significant. (Pitts; Jarry, 2005)

More recent studies on diversity impacts has seen mixed results -- with certain studies revealing a positive link between ethnic diversity and organizational performance, while others reveal a negative link. Certain studies have revealed a negative link between diversity and organizational performance. Many of these studies apply individual performance assessments as the result of interest, and majority of the studies reveal that, in diverse groups or organizations, employees are less prone to attain positive performance assessments from supervisors. Greenhaus and others also revealed a linkage between organizational diversity and reduced career satisfaction, reduced organizational dedication, and employee views of unlikely promotion. Tsui and others found that in diverse organizations, minority members, or that of the basic out-group, were less dedicated to the organization, more prone to be absent from reporting for work and more prone to be… [END OF PREVIEW]

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