Managing Diversity in the Workplace Hypothesis Testing Multiple Chapters

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Managing Diversity in the Workplace, Hypothesis Testing

Modern day economic agents intensify their efforts in creating sustainable long-term gains. In this scope, they develop and implement a wide series of strategic actions in their relationship with the various categories of stakeholders -- employees, customers, business partners, governmental agencies, non-governmental institutions, the general public and so on. In respect to the staff members, the efforts are generally organized under the umbrella of human resources management practices, through which the employees are carefully recruited, trained, integrated, motivated and rewarded. However, in order for these actions to succeed, it is necessary for them to be adjusted to the unique needs of the various types of employees. This virtually means that organizational managers have to understand and manage diversity in the workplace.

Traditionally, diversity in the workplace would be linked specifically to demographic characteristics. Throughout the recent years, the rapid evolution of the business community has forced both practitioners as well as academicians to assess diversity through more complex lenses as well. Today then, diversity in the workplace is understood as the individual differences given by religious appurtenance, political beliefs, sexual orientation, personality traits and so on.

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This research endeavor commences with a reiteration of the most important findings in the specialized literature regarding the concept and evolution of diversity. It then strives to assess the differences in perceptions by revealing the diversity attitudes and beliefs of the first year students and the faculty members at three campuses of the Northwood University. The findings indicate that differences in perceptions exist across different groups, supporting as such the theory of groups with low levels of surface diversity accepting lower levels of diversity, including in their own view of diversity.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Multiple Chapters on Managing Diversity in the Workplace Hypothesis Testing Assignment

Diversity is a highly complex term that has been used to refer to a number of different qualities pertaining to both individuals and organizations. Current literature and practices have broadened the operational definition of diversity to include differences not only in gender, race, religion, nationality, and creed, but also in sexual orientation, learning styles, personality types, geography, and any other physiological and/or socio-cultural differences (Capek & Mead, 2006). This all-encompassing definition of diversity, also known as "deep diversity," is viewed as a positive asset in the workplace that can lead to greater innovation within an organization and thus a greater competitive edge for that organization. In today's workplace, new ideas and different opinions are to be revered, as they provide fuel for the creativity needed to keep up with a rapidly changing work environment and new technologies. The importance of diversity in the workplace has made it an important topic in academic research as well. Much of the earlier work in this area focused on demographic groups as the key defining aspect of the diverse workforce. However, researchers are now beginning to recognize that this definition is no longer adequate and that we must go beyond demographics if we are to find a definition of diversity that reflects the true nature of innovative processes. The researcher will explore new definitions of diversity in the workplace, how it affects selection in managerial positions as well as its effects on diversity awareness training for employees.

Diversity first became a topic of interest nearly 20 years ago. It began with big companies such as Digital Equipment and Procter & Gamble (Shackleford, 2005). In the past, diversity was largely linked to Affirmative Action and the Equal Opportunity Act of 1964. For many years, the treatment of diversity took on a legal sense. Only recently has it begun to sway from its strict legal definitions. In its more conservative form, diversity refers to a person's national origin, regardless of whether that person feels a sense of identity with that culture or not (Shackleford, 2005). Recently, this definition has begun to expand to include more individualistic aspects, rather than simple group classifications, and the individual personality attributes and assets of each employee in a given organization are increasingly seen as tools of diversity to be utilized and encouraged by the organization (Brazzel, 2007). Fully utilizing the diversity resources in an organization through attempts at increasing cultural competency in addition to establishing and maintaining high levels of diversity have become increasingly commonplace in recent years (Brazzel, 2007). The evolving definition of diversity can be seen as the result of an ongoing dialogue with the application of diversity practices and attitudes towards diversity in the real-world work environment.

Many of these changes in the definition of diversity are linked to changes in the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, the Hispanic labor force will surpass the African-American labor force. Asians continue to represent one of the fastest growing segments of the labor force, with a projected increase of 45% in the upcoming decade (Shackleford, 2005). Women currently make up nearly half of the workforce. It is expected that this decade will see major changes in the workforce. Those that are now in the majority will soon become the minority, with women, minorities, and foreign nationals making up the new majority (Shackleford, 2005). These changes in demographics force researchers to view diversity in a different manner than was called for in the past.

The changes to the very concept of diversity that have arisen out of continuing changes in demographics and progress in research also demand further inspection, and indeed research aimed at identifying and clarifying the implications of new understandings of diversity is already being carried out. There is a discernable difference between the ways that surface-level diversity and deep diversity play out in the workplace, with surface level diversity (diversity based on easily identifiable social classifications such as nationality) helping to foster deep-level tolerance and cooperation (Phillips & Lloyd, 2003). That is, individuals groups that are the same on the surface (i.e. same nationality, race, etc.) tend to be less tolerant of different personality types, learning styles, and other measures of deep-level diversity than individuals in groups that demonstrate surface-level diversity (Phillips & Lloyd, 2003). This has important implications both for the understanding of diversity itself and for how diversity operates within real world organizations and situations, showing both surface-level and deep-level diversity to be even more of an asset to organizations than was perhaps suggested by previous understandings of diversity and research in the area.

Statement of Problem

The researcher will explore the relationship between demographic changes in the workforce and the new definition of diversity. The likely impact of expanding the definition of diversity beyond the legal definitions that have sufficed in the past will be examined. The current lack of diversity amongst management and its implications for organization-wide diversity issues, including the possible future needs of expanded and altered diversity training plans given the new and evolving definitions and understandings of diversity, will also be addressed. These issues will form the guiding problems in the proposed exploration of diversity and the need to change the legal definition to include those attributes that are not as easy to define from a legal standpoint.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study will be to examine the independent variables involved in the definition and treatment of diversity has changed in the workplace. It will provide employers insight as to how they can contribute to tolerance and understanding in their workplace. Companies will also become more aware of the issues involved in diversity and how it affects managerial decisions. Help will be provided in devising ways to make certain that they're maintaining a diverse workforce that takes advantage of the innovation that diversity has to offer. Ultimately, it will provide a means to increase their competitive advantage and to encourage best practices in their hiring, promotion, and advancement of minorities in the workforce. These outcomes represent tangible effects of this research study that will affect strategic decisions of businesses in the future.

Aside from the tangible affects of the study, other intangible affects will also be derived from the research study, these are called dependent variables. These affects include increased company morale, conflict resolution, and increased camaraderie among the workforce. These affects have an effect on increasing productivity, lowering absenteeism, and decreasing employee turnover (Mount, Ilies, & Johnson, 2006). Therefore, this study will have an impact on producing an improved work environment.

Significance of the Study

This study explores many long-held ideals about diversity in the workplace and what it means to the ability to achieve a competitive advantage. In the past, diversity was considered in relation to its legality and obligations to fulfill the legal requirements set forth by the law. This research explores the relevancy of the older definitions of diversity in light of recent changes in society. It will explore how companies think about diversity and how they apply these concepts to improve opportunities for minorities within the organization. It will allow them to expand their definition of workforce diversity and to reap further benefits that the old definition of diversity wouldn't allow. This study will also allow companies to take full… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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