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Management of Commination as a Result of Workforce DiversityResearch Paper

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Workplace Diversity, Communication With Management

Problem Identification and background

One of the most crucial factors for any firm is its human capital, because it is the engine or rather the force that drives any organization. As a firm seeks to realize its goals and objectives, it requires individuals to run or manage other production factors. It is therefore very important for a firm to have in the right place, the right individual with the proper academic, social and professional skills for the functions and responsibilities that have to be handled. To achieve this, it is important that an organization selects from a wide source pool, and not to limit themselves to a certain group of people. Firms can achieve this by scouting for people from a variety of sources-political, social, geographical, and cultural. Thus, a firm is very likely to hire individuals from different political and socio-cultural backgrounds who will definitely have differences in age, physical abilities, personalities, size, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity in addition to demographics. Upon hiring, it is crucial that the firm notes that the individuals might have their own set of varying qualities from the ones mentioned above. The popular misconception that diversity is only relevant in cases of ethnic differences is not correct, even though it is the greatest part of diversity in organizations whose human capital is multicultural (Wambui, Wangombe, Muthura, Kamau, & Jackson, 2013).

Diversity entails respect and acceptance. It implies the comprehension of that notion that every person is unique, and the awareness of individual differences. These differences can be along various lines such as gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, physical capabilities, religious beliefs, socio-economic status or other ideologies. Diversity is the exploration of the aforementioned differences in an environment that is positive, safe and fostering. It is about understanding people and going beyond the simple idea of tolerance to embrace and celebrate the rich aspects of every individual's diverse nature (Patrick & Kumar, 2012).

Other scholars have described diversity as a set of intentional practices that entail the comprehension and appreciation of the interdependence between humanity, natural environment and cultures. It is about the practice of mutual respect for experiences and qualities which are not similar to ours; the understanding that diversity entails both, the ways of knowing and the ways of belief; the recognition that cultural, institutionalized and personalized discrimination establishes and supports privileges for some groups of people while creating disadvantages for other groups of people simultaneously. Diversity is also about the creation of links across differences to enable people to work together for the purpose of eliminating all manners of discrimination. Workplace diversity, to be specific, refers to the variety of differences among the individuals in an organization. That sounds rather simple, however diversity includes ethnic grouping, race, age, personality, gender, tenure, cognitive style, education, organizational function, background and so much more, diversity entails not only the way individuals perceive themselves, it also involves the way they perceive others; how one perceives another impacts the interaction between them. For a diverse set of staff to function, in an effective manner, as an organization there is need for the HR department to deal with issues such as adaptability, communication and change. Diversity management is the process of establishing and sustaining a positive environment for work; a place whereby individuals' differences and similarities are appreciated and valued, so that these individuals can help towards the goals and objectives of an organization and also maximize their potential (Patrick & Kumar, 2012).

As workplaces and workforces increasingly become international and culturally diverse, individuals in organizations have a challenge to communicate effectively both interculturally and interpersonally and in groups. According to certain scholars (Lauring, 2011, & Devoe, 1999), due to the increasingly globalized business environment and the rise of global competitiveness, the task of managing human diversity has become daily routine for the majority of business communities. In their discussion of business communication, Bovee and Thill (2008) noted that effective group and interpersonal communication is necessary for success in today's organizations and corporations due to the rising trend of intercultural business links and workforce diversity. Studies have stressed on the effect of communication in diverse work environments and its impact on overall performance and productivity of the business (Ferraro, 2011; Gupta, 2008; Jandit, 2003). According to Mulkeen (2008), workplace diversity encompasses all the differences in education, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, culture and life experiences. Mulkeen further noted that the modern workforce doesn't exist isolated or in a vacuum away from the marketplace, instead it exists as a part of the emerging global business environment where sustainable growth can only be achieved via effective organizational communication. Indeed, Ober (2006) also supported this notion stating that effective communication both within and outside the organization is crucial, if the organization wishes to excel in the current competitive globalized corporate environment; competitive advantage and global business would be impossible without proper and effective corporate communication (Okoro & Washington, 2012).

Even though workplace diversity offers many benefits, it also brings about a couple of challenges for business managers and employees. To maximize the potential benefits of workplace diversity, both managers and employees must first understand the challenges and devise strategies to cope with the ones they cannot eliminate and to deal effectively with the others. Inclusion and diversity impacts both the internal operations and other organizational entities and the external stakeholders such as suppliers and customers. Challenges associated with workplace diversity include:

Population

There are several challenges involved in managing a diverse workforce. Managing workforce diversity entails much more than the simple acknowledgement of the differences between individuals. It entails the recognition of the value of the differences, efforts to eliminate or tackle discrimination and the promotion of inclusiveness. Business managers may also be faced with situations whereby there are losses in work productivity and personnel because of discrimination and prejudice and legal action or complaints against their organizations (Devoe, 1999).

Communication

Barriers in communication may result in problems in an organization that is trying to create a diverse work environment. When firms hire staffs of other nationalities, where English is not the native language, then both the managers and employees might have difficulties in communicating with each other. This can result in a decrease in productivity due to misunderstandings.

Globalization

The changing faces with regards to culture, religion and language of both clients and employees will signify a challenge in any corporation.

Opposition to change

Even though workplace diversity brings many benefits to corporations, some managers and employees may not be so positive to the transformations. Personnel who are against workforce diversity often are those in the trend of rejecting new ideas and may make the workplace even more difficult and frustrate the efforts of the management. If an organization doesn't handle employee opposition correctly, the potential and intended benefits of workplace diversity in the company may not be achieved.

Negative Attitude

Negative behaviors and attitudes can be obstacles to workplace diversity since they can damage working relationships, harm workforce morale and reduce overall productivity. Negative behaviors and attitudes in the organization encompass discrimination, stereotyping, and prejudice, which must never be utilized by any management for termination, hiring and retention practices. This can eventually result in costly law suits (Wambui et al., 2013)

Literature Review

Definition of Diversity

Diversity, as noted by Dessler (2011) is multiplicity or variety of demographic characteristics that form an organization's workforce, especially with regards to sex, race, culture, age, nationality, religion and disability. Authors Jones and George (2011) noted that diversity is all about the differences among individuals' gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, physical capabilities, religious beliefs and socio-economic status. According Cole and Kelly (2011), two broad approaches seemingly dominate the definitions of workplace diversity: The first, which offers a narrow view, defines it only as a phrase or term that is equivalent to equal employment opportunity. This view basically adopts the categories of nationality, color, race, sex and religion. The second, which provides a broader view, encompasses all the manners and ways in which individuals can be different. This broader definition utilizes additional categories such as education, abilities, differences in values, sexual orientation, personality, tenure, and organizational function. Based on the broader view, diversity management projects are all about trying to maximize each employee's potential for the benefit of the organization; which implies, hiring only the best employees leading to greater productivity, profits and increased job security.

In other words managing diversity is all about the maximization of potential benefits of diversity, such as greater language skills and more cultural awareness while simultaneously minimizing the potential challenges such as bias and prejudices that can jeopardize or undermine the firm's performance (O'Leary and Weathington, 2006) cited in (Dessler, 2011).

Upon the realization that diversity is necessary to improve the performance of any firm, each individual should understand the essence. The word "diversity" itself means the awareness, comprehension, acceptance, appreciation and celebration of differences between individuals regarding their ethnicity, class, age, gender, sexual… [END OF PREVIEW]

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